Interior Design Case Study: Concept Technology


Concept Technology Office Entrance

When Concept Technology, an IT service provider that serves over 200 area businesses, moved its office from Music Row to the historic, renovated BowTruss building in Germantown, Concept Technology President James Fields called on Southeast Venture to design the interior space.

James Fields' office

James Fields’ office

Mr. Fields wanted to create a non-traditional office that would help the firm recruit and retain top talent in the highly competitive tech sector. Southeast Venture’s Interior Design Director Ginny Caldwell and Designer Shannon Mikula transformed the former industrial/warehouse space, giving it an “old meets new” creative/tech vibe.

Sales department

Sales department

To enhance the existing architecture of the space—from the burnt orange trusses to the bowed, wooden roof— Southeast Venture used different wall heights that mimic a cityscape. Guests entering the office get a little peak all the way through the space, and want to see more. The one-story, open layout greatly increases employees’ communication flow (instead of the tucked-away, multilevel space the company used to inhabit).



The 40-person café serves as a gathering place for on-the-go engineers and Millennial employees who don’t want to sit in their cubicles all day. Booths, designed after local coffee shops and the two glass garage doors that open into the space add to the collaborative appeal of the café.

  • Services Provided: Interior Design
  • Project Scale: 8,700 SF
  • Project Timeframe: 2013

Axson named NAIOP’s 2014 Outstanding Nashville Member

The Nashville chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) has honored Southeast Venture Principal Axson West with its 2014 Outstanding Member Award. The award was announced at NAIOP’s Annual Awards Gala February 25, 2014.

AxsonThe award honors one commercial real estate professional for his or her valued contribution and commitment to the industry. The selection committee, made up of NAIOP’s board of directors and past presidents, takes into consideration the individual’s leadership, NAIOP involvement, years as a NAIOP member and community involvement.

Since 1980, Axson has been involved in all aspects of the commercial real estate brokerage business, including office and industrial leasing, as well as improved property sales. His primary focus is land sales and site selection. Axson joined Southeast Venture in 1988 and, along with the other partners, directed the transformation of Southeast Venture from being an owner-developer in the late 1980’s to the full service brokerage and design services firm that is today.

Most recently, Axson represented the National HealthCare Corporation (NHC) in acquiring sites in Gallatin and Bellevue. He also sold the old Middle Tennessee Medical Center’s (MTMC) hospital campus in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), and sold the Tennessee Baptist Convention property as the corner of Franklin Road and Maryland Way to H.G. Hill Realty Company.

Axson is a board member and president elect of the Economic Club of Nashville and past president of CCIM of Middle Tennessee and NAIOP. Additionally, he is a board member of Liberty Collegiate Academy, a charter school serving the East Nashville community. A Memphis, Tenn. native, Axson graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1977.

Local businesses chip in to beautify Nashville Rescue Mission


Nashville Rescue Mission has started renovations on its entrance and parking lot with the help and support of several area businesses.


In partnership with Southeast Venture, LLC.; H.G. Hill Realty Company; Hodgson & Douglas Landscape Architects; Barge Cauthen & Associates; Division 2 Constructors and Artisan Landscaping; Nashville Rescue Mission is undergoing a beautification project that will take approximately six weeks to complete and will include the addition of eco-friendly bioretention cells (also called a rain garden), raised planters filled with seasonal foliage, more than 50 new trees, an outdoor recreational area, increased parking and a redesigned, improved entrance into the parking lot, as well as into the building.

“Nashville Rescue Mission is a place of restoration and a place to reclaim beauty,” said Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “We want our entrance and parking lot to reflect that. With the addition of the Music City Center and the development of the SoBro area, the landscape of Nashville is changing and we want to change with it. We want to be good neighbors.”

Mayor Karl Dean

Mayor Karl Dean

“Nashville Rescue Mission provides a valuable service to Nashville through helping those who are hungry, homeless and in need,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. “They are able to do this work through the generosity of individuals, businesses, foundations and churches—not government funds. These improvements will not only add beauty to our great city, but they will also enhance how the Mission serves its guests. It’s a wonderful demonstration of the Mission’s commitment to being good corporate citizens in our city.”

Axon West

Axon West

“We are honored to be a part of this project,” said Axson West, principal at Southeast Venture, LLC. “It’s amazing to see what a community can do when everyone works together toward a common goal. Nashville Rescue Mission is doing an incredible job of helping people in need. Soon, everyone who pulls into the parking lot or walks into the building will be greeted with a warm, inviting message of hope and not an asphalt jungle.”

NRM2.jpg“It’s a privilege to serve in partnership with this project team in service to Nashville Rescue Mission,” said Bo Adams, senior project manager at H.G. Hill Realty Company. “The programs and services the Mission offers to our community are critical, and we are thrilled to be able to contribute in this manner.”

“I can’t wait to see what a difference the new entrance and parking lot will make,” said John, a graduate of the Mission’s Life Recovery Program and current resident of the Mission’s Transitional House. “I know what it’s like to walk up to the Mission for the first time. I was scared, nervous and apprehensive. A warm, welcoming entrance will go a long way in making someone who is new to the Mission feel good about coming here for help.”

Nashville Rescue Mission plans to host an open house once the project is complete.

2014 Middle Tennessee CRE Sectors Outlook

Survey: Retail tops the insiders’ list of the most promising sectors

(third of three posts)

This is our last post detailing the results of our CRE survey. Responders were asked to predict how each sector of Middle Tennessee commercial real estate would perform in 2014 compared to 2013.

Retail topped the list of commercial real estate sectors, with 83 percent of responders predicting that the retail sector will perform better or much better in 2013 than last year. Office (75 percent), land (71 percent), industrial (59 percent) and investments sales (52 percent) were also viewed as growth sectors, with a majority of responders expecting better or much better performances in 2014 compared to 2013.

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The multi-family and real estate-owned sectors enter 2014 less optimistically, with 54 and 78 percent, respectively, of responders predicting that these sectors would perform the same, worse or much worse than 2013.

Check out the 2014 Sales Outlook.

Check out the 2014 Leasing Outlook.

2014 Middle Tennessee CRE Leasing Outlook

Survey: A Banner Year in 2013 Stunts Sales Expectations This Year; Leasing Polls Strong

(second of three posts)

This is the second entry that outlines the results of a survey that we conducted of local and regional commercial real estate brokers, developers, building owners and investors. The survey asked responders to assess the mood of the marketplace in three categories: sales, leasing and sectors.

The first post talked about sales, this post will focus on leasing.

Commercial leasing polled much better than sales, with 72 percent of responders indicating that leasing will be better or much better than last year. This represents a 9 percent increase over 2013. In 2012, 74 percent of survey takers said that leasing would improve and 79 percent of responders thought that 2011 would fair better than 2010.

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New development opportunities, outside investment and relocations to Nashville were the primary reasons given for the commercial leasing predictions. One responder wrote, “New construction will force more leasing activity and tenants will take advantage of newer space.” Another added, “Attractiveness of area for relocations remains high.”

“It may have been more than a year ago that The New York Times coined Nashville ‘the nation’s “it” city,’ but that momentum has continued into the New Year,” said Todd Alexander, principal for Southeast Venture. “As long at the positive momentum continues, leasing activity will continue to grow, albeit likely more slow and steady.”

Seven percent expect commercial leasing to be worse in 2014, which remains relatively stable to 2013 and 2012 expectations of 6 and 8 percent, respectively. Across the board, low inventory was the reason given for negative and stagnant expectations.

2014 Middle Tennessee CRE Sales Outlook

Survey: A Banner Year in 2013 Stunts Sales Expectations This Year; Leasing Polls Strong

(first of three posts)

Last month we conducted our 4th Annual 2014 Middle Tennessee Commercial Real Estate Survey. Forty-two commercial real estate brokers, developers, building owners and investors took the survey, conducted by commercial real estate and design services company Southeast Venture, which gauged expectations about local sales, leasing and sector activity in 2014.

I am going to present the survey results here, in a series of three posts, beginning with the first category: Sales.

Sixty-two percent of respondents believe that sales of Middle Tennessee commercial real estate will be better or much better in 2014. Though this is slightly lower than previous years—down 4 percent over last year, and down from 64 percent positive responses in 2012—it still points to an overall sense of optimism within Middle Tennessee’s commercial real estate industry. Twenty-one percent expect sales to be stagnant in 2014 compared to 2013, and only 17 percent believe sales will fare worse.


Nashville’s growth and national attention and the availability of commercial real estate financing were the top two reasons given for the favorable rating of commercial real estate sales.

Survey takers who foresee a stagnant or declining market this year point to the limited supply of available commercial real estate and the strength of the market in 2013. There will be “far fewer office transactions because several large, best in class A buildings sold in 2013,” one responder said. “Two-thousand-thirteen was just a very strong year,” another replied.

Our Co-founder Describes Southeast Venture’s Beginnings

In the video below, Dick Sorenson, Southeast Venture co-founder, talks about our beginnings.

Dick and George Volkert established Southeast Venture in 1981.