Neighborhood Spotlight: Wedgewood-Houston

Once an industrial area filled with warehouses, factories and garages in a rundown part of town rarely visited, Wedgewood-Houston has experienced a redevelopment renaissance over the last few years as artists and creatives have flocked to the area. Two miles south of downtown, Wedgewood-Houston (AKA WeHo) boasts lower rent and housing prices relative to the nearby neighborhoods of the Gulch, 12South and Belmont.

The area’s history dates back to the American Civil War. It’s home to Fort Negley, the largest fortification built by the Union after the fall of Nashville in 1862. The abandoned Greer Stadium, the former home of the Nashville Sounds with its guitar-shaped scoreboard, sits just south of the site.

The most historic building still standing in the neighborhood is the Merritt Mansion on Humphreys Street, purchased a few years ago and converted into a recording studio by Nashville-based rock band Kings of Leon. The home was built in 1840 for Sally Merritt, the youngest daughter of Captain John Rains, and her husband, Gibson. Rains reached Nashville with James Robertson on Christmas Day, 1779, and purchased a 640-acre farm in the neighborhood.

Many of the neighborhood’s most notable restaurants and businesses embrace the area’s industrial history: Award-winning restaurant and bar Bastion is in a former jam factory; Dozen Bakery resides in a former truck repair shop; and David Lusk Gallery is in the building of a former truck mechanic. Other can’t-miss WeHo restaurants include Santa’s Pub, with its year-round Christmas decorations and top-notch karaoke, as well as Gabby’s, Clawson’s Pub & Deli and Smokin’ Thighs.

WeHo is also all about the arts. Popular among residents and visitors is the robust variety of art galleries and creative spaces located within a few blocks of each other. Some credit the David Lusk Gallery on Hagan Street, which opened in 2014, as the spark for the recent influx of redevelopment. In addition to David Lusk are Zeitgeist, Hunter + Gatherer, Sherrick & Paul and Julia Martin Gallery, all of which participate in the free monthly art walk. Named Arts & Music at Wedgewood-Houston, the event is held the first Saturday of each month, coinciding with the Downtown First Saturday Art Crawl. There are also multiple spaces for independent artists and creatives to set up shop, including in Fort Houston and the May Hosiery Co-Op complex, which is currently undergoing a major overhaul. The redeveloped complex, which contains multiple masonry buildings, will eventually include 80,000 square feet of office space, three restaurants, seven retail storefronts, rooftop space and a possible hotel.

Unique to the area is the prevalence of live-work housing, with a retail component on the first floor and a loft or living area on the second floor. New homes are also popping up as developers take advantage of the lower cost of land, and home prices are rapidly on the rise as the neighborhood continues to gain popularity.

We look forward to seeing what is next in store for the up-and-coming Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.

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Partner Profile: Tarek El Gammal, Principal at Southeast Venture

This is the first in a new blog series, in which we’re highlighting our influential partners at Southeast Venture, including information about their backgrounds, work and perspectives on real estate trends and all things Nashville. These are a few of the leaders that inspire innovation and drive our company forward, so take a few moments to get to know them.

tarek el gammalTarek El Gammal is a principal with Southeast Venture focused on brokerage and development services. Since joining Southeast Venture seven years ago, Mr. El Gammal has represented clients in a brokerage capacity of over $150 million in transaction value and has overseen the activities on approximately $70 million of development.

What changes have you seen within the company in the time you’ve been here?

In my time with the company, I’ve seen that the timing of Southeast Venture’s  growth was well-positioned with Nashville’s growth. We have become a more diverse real estate company touching more product types than before. When you look at the company’s history you can see this has been a persistent theme but one that stands out to me during my tenure.

What trends are you seeing in commercial real estate?

There is definitely a big trend toward urban growth. In the past five years, the multifamily sector went from a shortage to more supply than demand with owners who are offering healthy incentives for prospective renters. Submarkets like Germantown, that didn’t exist only a few years ago, are thriving. We are also seeing a trend in the most desirable suburbs where multifamily developments are being developed as part of larger mixed use projects, rather than standalone buildings.

And deal sizes continue to grow – not just because of inflationary effects, but also because of the scale of projects being undertaken. We’re seeing a city change before our eyes with density difficult for anyone to have imagined 10 years ago.

What was your favorite project/development from 2017?

Eastside Heights, in East Nashville, has been a special experience for me. Theunique architectural design coupled with wonderful public art (see: the “EAST” mural) has made it a landmark asset in some respects. I’ve enjoyed watching the first residents occupy the building and take advantage of the amenities we all worked so hard to program correctly. More broadly, I’ve enjoyed watching Germantown build out its residential housing. 2017 was a pivotal year for the neighborhood where a tremendous amount of supply was delivered and has helped to create a truly unique part of Nashville.

Eastside Heights

What project/development are you most looking forward to in 2018?

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the work our firm is doing on the Silo Bend project. It will have such a huge impact on that area of town [The Nations] and help in its ongoing transition from a heavy industrial corridor into a walkable neighborhood with office, retail and residential areas. The Nashville Yards project will be one that I am excited to see start in earnest, as it will have one of the greatest impacts on our city’s downtown once fully built out. It’s going to be amazing to see.

What’s your favorite thing about Nashville?

Everything (it’s hard to pick), but I would point to the music industry, which is something that creates a unique angle for the city.

Where do you think commercial real estate is headed in the next 5+ years?

Hopefully up. From my perspective, I think that the current conditions of oversupply in multifamily housing will be short-lived and our market will return to a healthier supply/demand balance in the next 12 months or so. From there, it is likely that the development activity will return to a more sustainable level.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Charlotte Avenue Corridor

Through the heart of Nashville runs a familiar street that crosses through several up-and-coming neighborhoods, including Sylvan Park, Sylvan Heights and The Nations. Where Charlotte passes through these neighborhoods you’ll find a bustling area lined with some of Nashville’s best new restaurants, apartments and businesses.

In the early 1800s, Charlotte Avenue – formerly known as Cedar Street – linked the southern steps of the Capitol all the way to the western edge of town. The construction of James Robertson Parkway later broke up this direct route. The street name was changed from Cedar to Charlotte because it ultimately leads to the town of Charlotte in Dickson County – which was named for the wife of James Robertson.

The 1980s and 90s saw a Charlotte Avenue that was much like the rest of Nashville, run-down and in need of some serious overhauling. In fact, a key landmark in the neighborhood was the historic Tennessee state prison. Since then, the area has been part of massive urban redevelopment projects that have made Nashville into the city it is now.

Many of the remaining warehouses and industrial buildings from the “olden days” are now being repurposed for other projects. In 2016, we started development on a former industrial site at 5400 Centennial Boulevard in The Nations. The development, which broke ground last year as Silo Bend, centers on a 200-ft tall silo and will include single-family homes and apartments, as well as mixed-use space for offices, retail, restaurants and more.

Groundbreaking ceremony at Silo Bend

Today, the section between 40th and 52nd Avenues has sprung up with many trendy new dining options, including Salt & Vine, Double Dogs and M.L. Rose, as well as classics such as Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

And the neighborhood has completely turned around from its run-down days to a neighborhood with a higher concentration of “urban sophisticates” than 96 percent of U.S. neighborhoods.

From a once industrial part of the city to a blossoming town center, Charlotte Avenue has become a hot spot for families young and old to shop, eat and live. As property values continue to rise, it is quickly becoming one of the places to be. There is no doubt it will continue to expand outward, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and try some of those delicious restaurants.

A Look at Cool Springs After its 30th Anniversary

Cool Springs was the brainchild of Southeast Venture founders George Volkert and Dick Sorenson. It’s almost unbelievable to think that it’s been 30 years since ground was broken for the Cool Springs interchange in 1987. The official anniversary was on November 12, 2017, which was serendipitously Dick Sorenson’s birthday.

The Cool Springs area has come a long way in 30 years, from thousands of undeveloped acres of open fields to 7.5 million square feet of office space – a close second to downtown Nashville.

Once the interchange was approved by the Department of Transportation, the partnership sold property to CBL & Associates from Chattanooga to develop the Cool Springs Galleria. That put us on the map as the company responsible for the original master plan and beginning execution of Cool Springs.

A Nashville Post article, published in conjunction with the November anniversary, revealed that the development once was known as Park65, but the name Cool Springs was chosen instead for a nearby landmark, the Cool Springs Farm, which included a historic home, now relocated to Crockett Park.

Former Southeast Venture President George Volkert promised at the groundbreaking that the 1,150-acre Cool Springs project would create 16,000 jobs and more than $200 million in city and county tax revenues over 20 years, and that promise has surely been met.

Breaking ground on the interchange set the stage for a major regional hub outside of Davidson County. Developments have now expanded to both sides of Interstate 65 in Cool Springs, including several luxury hotels, shopping centers (in addition to the mall), business parks, office buildings, big box retailers, low-rise apartments, condominiums, restaurants and car dealerships.

It has become a regional center, drawing people from across Middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama.

One of our first large-scale projects, we never could have imagined the explosive growth that has taken place in Cool Springs. We look back at this development fondly and are excited to see how the area continues to expand for years to come.

Silo Bend Development Helps The Nations Neighborhood to Thrive

Last year we broke ground on Silo Bend, a mixed-use development on a 37.7-acre site in the rapidly growing neighborhood of The Nations. Located at the intersection of Centennial Boulevard and New York Avenue, Silo Bend is named for the 200-foot-tall abandoned concrete grain silo that sits on the property, which is located at a bend of the Cumberland River. 

Groundbreaking ceremony at Silo Bend

In October 2016, we officially announced plans for the Silo Bend Project and unveiled the name of the new development at the Light the Night 615 festival in The Nations. The excitement for the development was huge, and it was featured in publications across town, including the Nashville Post, the Tennessean, the Nashville Business Journal and more.

In March 2017, we broke ground on the flagship structure at the site, The Flats @ Silo Bend, a 193-unit apartment building with 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space and plenty of surface-level parking. Along with the apartments, Silo Bend will have single-family homes, office space, retail buildings and other apartments.

One feature of Silo Bend you can’t miss is the 200-ft-tall silo, on which we commissioned a mural to be painted. Created by acclaimed Australian artist Guido van Helten and finished in September, the mural features 91-year-old Nations resident Lee Estes. It has garnered significant attention and was even named best mural of the year by the Nashville Scene – and we think it is safe to say that it is the most recognizable landmark in The Nations.

Silo Bend in The Nations

Photo credit: Brian Siskind, Those Drones

The Flats @ Silo Bend the apartments will be available for rent mid-summer 2018 in the booming neighborhood where restaurants, retailers and boutique businesses are setting up shop. We have many other developments underway at Silo Bend as well.

South Carolina-based The Flyway Cos. is converting a lumber mill and a boiler room building into office and restaurant space. The project, Silo Studios, spans 65,000 square feet along Centennial Boulevard. Also part of that project, they are renovating a 40,000-square-foot bow truss building and a 5,700-square-foot structure made up of three coal furnace buildings.

We are also excited about new developments that are to come, including a 103-unit condominium building by Evergreen Real Estate. It’ll be the first Silo Bend building positioned north of the CSX railroad tracks that dissect the 37-acre site. They are planning to break ground in summer 2018.

Silo Bend started as an empty space in early 2016 but has quickly become a thriving neighborhood of its own thanks to our wonderful team of developers and designers. Stay tuned to see what else is in store!

2017 Year in Review

In 2017, we celebrated a momentous and busy 35th anniversary while working on many exciting projects. From Silo Bend to Hillsboro Village, we continued our trailblazing efforts across Nashville, to develop the latest and greatest spaces for people to live and work. Here are a few highlights from the year:

Silo Bend

One of our most noteworthy projects in 2017 was a mixed-use development in the booming neighborhood of The Nations. The development, Silo Bend, was named after the 200-foot abandoned silo that towers over the area and the property’s location across from a bend of the Cumberland River. We broke ground on the 37.7-acre site in March and began constructing The Flats @ Silo Bend, a 193-unit apartment building – which will later be joined by single-family homes, office space, retail buildings and additional apartments.

Silo Bend in The Nations

Photo credit: Brian Siskind, Those Drones

We also partnered with the Nashville Walls Project to commission internationally known Australian artist Guido van Helten to paint a large-scale mural on the silo itself. The mural features monochromatic portraits of local residents – capturing the essence of the community – and can be seen from almost a mile away.

Eastside Heights

East Nashville is a growing community just minutes away from downtown. This year, we developed Eastside Heights, a beautiful new mixed-use apartment building located at 5th and Woodland. The building includes 249 state-of-the-art apartments and 8,000 feet of ground-floor retail space.

It also boasts a resort-style swimming pool with an in-pool sun deck, two landscaped courtyards, a pet spa and dog walk, fitness and yoga facilities, a cyber café, a multi-level parking garage and a two-level sky lounge with an outdoor patio and a stunning view of downtown Nashville.

EAST

Photo credit: Aerial Innovations

The Nashville Walls Project helped us to commission a mural here as well. Four local artists contributed to the large “EAST” mural, which covers over 4,500 square feet of the property’s western-facing exterior wall. Since it faces I-24, it is estimated that over 100,000 vehicles see the piece every day.

We worked closely with Hardaway Construction to complete this project, and residents began moving in this fall.

Belcourt Village

We also provided architectural design services for Elmington Capital Group’s Belcourt Village, a 23,900-square-foot, mixed-use development situated across from the historic Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village. It will offer 25-28 apartments and ground-floor retail space that is adjacent to Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Altar’d State.

Belcourt Village Rendering

Located between Belmont and Vanderbilt universities, this modern living and retail space is sure to attract college students and young families, who make up a large portion of the neighborhood’s population. We’re excited to be adding another great stop in one of Nashville’s most walkable neighborhoods.

35 Years in the Making

For the last 35 years, we’ve been dedicated to building strong relationships with people companies across Middle Tennessee. Through those partnerships, we’ve helped develop the city of Nashville into what it is today: a growing and thriving metropolitan area that is home to 1.75 million people and counting.

2017 was a busy year filled with growth, and none of it would have been possible without our clients and hard-working team members. We’re excited for 2018 and look forward to another year of success!

 

Neighborhood Spotlight: Hillsboro Village

Located between Belmont and Vanderbilt universities, Hillsboro Village is an urban neighborhood that features a variety of bars, restaurants and boutique stores.

The neighborhood began to develop in the early 1900s when streetcar lines were extended out to Belmont, which attracted city residents to move to newly  developed homes away from the overcrowded city. By the 1920s, it had become a booming suburban area that was a short and inexpensive ride away from downtown.

Hillsboro Village is considered one of Nashville’s most walkable neighborhoods, making it a great place for residents and tourists to visit the many Nashville dining staples located there, including Pancake Pantry, Provence Breads & Cafe and Fido. It’s also home to the historic Belcourt Theater, where visitors can see independent films, live music and theater productions.

Belcourt Village Rendering

Because of its proximity to Belmont and Vanderbilt, college students and young adults make up a larger portion of the local population. It’s also a family-friendly area with a larger selection of single-family homes than many surrounding neighborhoods, as well as being home to Fannie Mae Dees Park, which features a playground, walking paths, picnic areas and, of course, the famous Dragon sculpture.

Real estate is on the rise as young adults, families and businesses look to move to the bustling neighborhood. Southeast Venture is currently working with Elmington Capital Group to develop a mixed-use space – to be called Belcourt Village – on Belcourt Avenue across from the historic theater. It’s slated to have ground-floor retail, nearly 24,000 square feet of office space and two residential floors with approximately 25-30 apartments.

The development will be next door to Elmington Capital’s other recently acquired real estate in Hillsboro Village – the former location of Sam’s Sports Grill and Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Company at 1803 21st Ave. S. A boutique clothing store, Altar’d State, and the Austin-based Hopdoddy Burger Bar opened in these spaces earlier this year.

Southeast Venture is also helping food truck staple Bare Naked Bagels set up a permanent location in Hillsboro Village by the end of this year.

As with many of Nashville’s neighborhoods, Hillsboro Village is a hub for new developments, businesses and residents – and we’re excited to be a part of its continued growth.