Heading east on Interstate 40 toward Nashville International Airport, a gleaming, glass-fronted building signals to motorists that they could be driving a Ferrari instead.

Prancing Horse of Nashville is Music City’s first stand-alone Ferrari dealership and one of only 41 in the U.S. The 43,400-square-foot facility features a two-story showroom with a gentle arching roof resembling the iconic flying buttress of the Ferrari 599 GTB and a glass façade displaying luxury sports cars visible from the freeway.

Dream Motor Group tapped Crain Construction to build the Ferrari project based on designs by PRAXIS3 architects, but Prancing Horse of Nashville was unlike any dealership the construction firm had built before, including shops for Toyota and Lexus. Project manager Jeff Kurzhal likens it to more of a museum where the cars are the art.

Buyers can choose details such as wheels, paint, seats, upholstery and stitching inside the Atelier Studio.

A structural glass floor system on the second level gives clients below views of the undercarriages of Ferraris parked above them. (A vehicle lift on the back side of the showroom moves cars to the second floor.) There’s also the Atelier Studio where clients can customize their Ferraris by choosing wheels, paint, seats, upholstery, and even stitching, among other details for bespoke personalization.

Construction materials sourced from around the world — tile and furnishings from Italy, specialty glass from Spain, and lighting fixtures from France — were selected to reflect the luxury brand.

“Ferrari is a little different in that they’re entertaining clientele nearly as often as they are selling vehicles,” Kurzhal says. “You don’t walk into a Ferrari dealership and buy a car that day. With Ferrari, it’s a relationship-building thing.”

High-performance fuel

The 14-acre site situated along a busy interstate offered ample visibility, but it presented a challenge: The property had minimal infrastructure. Extending a natural gas line would have been cost-prohibitive. That’s why the developers opted for clean-burning propane.

Ferrellgas supplied two 1,000-gallon tanks to fuel the facility’s 12 HVAC rooftop units. Various-sized Trane RTUs provide a combined 1.62 million Btu per hour. The nine-bay service department has a designated HVAC system with an industrial exhaust for air-quality control. Otherwise, the units are zoned to supply varying temperatures to the showroom, sales offices, and inventory garage, delivering maximum comfort and optimal efficiency. Digital controls make it easy to adjust temperatures remotely.

While Prancing Horse of Nashville was under construction, Ferrellgas buried two 1,000-gallon propane tanks that fuel the facility’s heating system.

“The general manager can log in to the building’s automation system and set the points on all the different zones,” Kurzhal says. “He’s really happy with the systems we have in place.”

During a winter that included a storm that plunged temperatures into the single digits, the propane heating system proved out. Ferrellgas tracks propane levels remotely via tank-monitoring software and schedules refills automatically when capacity drops to 40 percent. Rick Warren, Ferrellgas account manager, reported no complications over the course of the heating season.

“We’ve kept a pretty good eye on this high-profile project to ensure the propane system performed flawlessly. The monitoring system worked great,” Warren says. “There was no reason to think that natural gas would be any better than our service is here.”

The propane tanks were installed underground to support the showroom’s sleek aesthetics. Likewise, the RTUs are on the roof’s lower level, out of view from below.

Warren says the city of Nashville was easy to work with through the permitting and inspection process.  Prancing Horse of Nashville, he adds, stands as a testament to propane as an alternative fuel that helps developers build where they want to.

“Any project off the beaten path like this, propane is certainly your top option,” he adds.

Photo credits: Josh Vaughn Photography (top), Jim McCarthy (middle), courtesy of Ferrellgas (bottom).