Tag Archives: Gulch

Nashville’s ‘it’ status is 35 years in the making

By Wood Caldwell

(This article originally appeared in the Tennessean on March 21, 2016)

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was president, Music City (and the world) was introduced to MTV and our commercial real estate firm opened its doors. The view through our doors has certainly changed in the past 35 years.

The Nashville skyline has transformed dramatically. The American General Tower (now Tennessee Tower) was the city’s tallest building in 1981, because the AT&T headquarters — aka “The Bat Building” — had not arrived. Other skyline-defining buildings missing in 1981 included 5/3 Center, One Nashville Place, Nashville City Center, Pinnacle at Symphony Place, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Bridgestone Arena, Viridian Tower, Encore, the Renaissance Hotel, Downtown Hilton Hotel, Omni Nashville Hotel, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Music City Center, to name but a few. Today, our skyline is ranked as the 12th most beautiful in the nation by Thrilllist.

Nashville Skyline Crop

The ground-level view of downtown has changed just as significantly for the better. Pockmarked with shuttered storefronts, strip clubs and porn shops, Lower Broad was far from a tourist Mecca. In fact, the Nashville Convention Center was built in the mid-1980s with no windows or doors on the Broadway side of the building because the street was such an eyesore.

The only real foot traffic downtown was on Second Avenue (then known as Market Street), where some enterprising entrepreneurs had purchased the old warehouses there and begun to transform them into retail stores, restaurants and office space. But even this part of town was largely deserted after dark. People just didn’t go downtown, no matter how much you enticed them, which was proven when a beautiful shopping mall was built where the downtown public library sits today. It lasted about two years.

The idea that the industrial area south of Broadway, now known as SoBro, or the grimy and depressed area near the railroad switching yard, aka The Gulch, would someday be home to some of the most valuable real estate in town would have been outlandish, had anyone been crazy enough to suggest this.

Union Station Hotel was still an abandoned train station. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts was still a post office. Cummins Station was an abandoned warehouse. The city’s largest strip club, the Classic Cat, was next door to Hume Fogg High School. The Hall of Fame was in a rather small, barnlike building on Music Row. Where the Roundabout Building is today sat a portion of Hank Williams home, which someone had moved there as a tourist attraction (though I never saw it attract anyone). There was no Music Row Roundabout, no “Musica” statue — just a confusing intersection of five streets.

Looking outside of Downtown Nashville, there was no Cool Springs and The Mall at Green Hills was a modest, one-story affair. In contrast, Hickory Hollow Mall was the highest grossing mall in the state and its cousin north of town, Rivergate, was also minting money.

For a night on the town, Hillsboro Village was the only urban, mixed-use part of town, and it was becoming the trendy restaurant hub of Nashville, thanks to pioneering restaurateur Jody Faison, who launched Faison’s in the early 1980s and essentially founded Nashville’s independent restaurant landscape. Within a few years, Randy Rayburn opened Sunset Grill, and Hillsboro Village’s restaurant run began in earnest.

The striking difference between then and now is the result of enlightened city leaders and local real estate visionaries working together to build a better city. It has been a privilege to have a front-row seat to this incredible transformation.

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Wood S. Caldwell is managing principal of Southeast Venture, a diversified commercial real estate company. He writes about Middle Tennessee real estate deals once a month for The Tennessean. Reach him at wcaldwell@southeastventure.com.

Southeast Venture Purchases Property at Eighth and Division

We’re planning for a long-term investment in the growing East Gulch community

8th and DivisionWe closed yesterday on a 20,000-square-foot building at 714 8th Ave. S., which sits at the northeast corner of the Eighth Ave. and Division St. intersection. Located in a growing area recently coined “Gulch East,” the one-story building sits on 1.26 acres and has 63 parking spaces. The property was purchased for $4.25 million.

We see a lot of potential in this area of Nashville. The Music City Center has already kick-started hotel, restaurant and retail development. This will only intensify next year, when the city plans to extend Division Street over the CSX railroad tracks, which will connect two rapidly developing parts of town: the Gulch East area and lower SoBro.

As the city’s proposal for this project notes, this new connection will provide opportunities for infill development and connections between Music Row, Vanderbilt, Belmont, Midtown and the Gulch with the Lafayette neighborhood, Fulton Campus, Howard Office Building and Rolling Mill Hill. We’re excited to be a part of this growing neighborhood and expect to have a long-term partnership with the area.

The property’s current tenants will remain in the space. They include:

Tarek El Gammal represented Southeast Venture in the contracted sale. The seller, AWC Partners, worked directly with Southeast Venture without a broker.

There are a lot of opportunities for commercial and residential growth in this area as businesses and people continue to seek opportunities close to Nashville’s city center. This section of town is still developing its identity and neighborhood feel—we look forward to being a part of that transformation.

Southeast Venture Taps into Nashville’s Restaurant Movement

Brings Prima restaurant to Terrazzo

Terrazzo1In May 2013, Southeast Venture Broker Jon Petty and Principal Axson West helped bring Nashville’s newest fine-dining option to the Gulch by securing a lease agreement for Community Hospitality, LLC in the Terrazzo.

Local restaurateur Miranda Whitcomb Pontes and Jim Lewis, managing partner and CEO of Cumberland Consulting Group, who make up Community Hospitality, LLC, secured Chef Sal Avila for their innovative new restaurant, Prima. Sal previously worked at City House, 360 Bistro and Jay Jay’s Good Food Truck.

Terrazzo2Over the last couple years, Nashville’s burgeoning foodie scene has garnered national accolades from publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Conde Nast, Bon Appétit, The Guardian and Food & Wine, and this development of new restaurants has helped spur other development around Nashville.

Prima’s 7,000-square-foot first floor space at 700 12th Avenue South fronts Division Street and sits across from Music City Flats. The restaurant will provide a unique international spin on farm-to-table dining and include an expansive wine cellar and private dining space via a mezzanine that overlooks the main dining lobby. The restaurant will use a wood-burning oven along with a mozzarella and olive bar to pair with fresh, chef driven cuisine. The restaurant is expected to open in early 2014.

Terrazzo3Location Nashville, Tenn.

Date Completed May 2013

Client Community Hospitality, LLC

Project Scale 7,000 Total SF Class A Retail Space

Services Provided Brokerage

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of Dec. 16

Nashville CRE Links

  1. Buckingham hopes to break ground on Midtown project in Q2 — Nashville Post (link)
  2. BZA Oks setback variance for proposed East Nashville project — Nashville Post (link)
  3. Cumberland River Compact plans new river center, office space for Bridge Building — The City Paper (link)
  4. Luxury apartments planned near Nashville Farmers’ Market — The Tennessean (link)
  5. New shops coming to Gulch — The Tennessean (link)

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of Sept. 16

Nashville CRE Links

  1. BNY Mellon breaking ground on expansion — Nashville Post (link)
  2. Brentwood business park expands after Porsche, Audi, Mini dealers break ground — Tennessean (link)
  3. Lexus of Nashville dealership moving to MetroCenter — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  4. P & M To Break Ground on The Shoppes at Maple Center — The CoStar Group (link)
  5. Ray Hensler’s $80M Gulch building is a go; design revealed — Nashville Business Journal (link)

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of April 8

Nashville CRE Links

  1. Brentwood’s Maryland Farms expansion on the board — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  2. College Halls at Kissam is building a better campus learning environment — Vanderbilt View (link)
  3. Nashville’s Gulch poised to be next big office market — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  4. Red Roof Inn near fairgrounds sold for $1.47 million — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  5. Waterford Landings Sold for $34M — The CoStar Group (link)

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of Dec. 4

Nashville CRE Links

  1. Boyle exploring redevelopment in Nashville’s North Gulch — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  2. Centennial Park apartments on tap — Tennessean (link)
  3. Expect slow grind to real estate recovery — Tennessean (link)
  4. Lenox Village getting more retailers — Nashville Post (link)
  5. New contender mulls Cool Springs office race — Nashville Business Journal (link)