Tag Archives: HG Hill Realty Company

Past informs future development of Hillsboro Village

By Wood Caldwell

(This article originally appeared in the Tennessean on Feb. 22, 2016)

Once upon a time, Hillsboro Village was all there was.  Before 12 South, the Gulch, Germantown, East Nashville and other urban neighborhoods became hip (or, in the case of The Gulch, even existed as a neighborhood), the only place to experience a truly successful mixed use, urban environment was along 21st Avenue South between Capers and Acklen avenues. As time went on and more trendy areas emerged, however, the Village began to lose its appeal; popular businesses came and went.

hborovillageBut with changes like the sale of the former sites of Bosco’s and Sam’s Sports Grill and development of 2100 Acklen Flats, Hillsboro Village is poised to once again be one of Nashville’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods.

To see where the area is headed, take a look at where it came from. The property where Hillsboro Village sits today was originally owned by Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham as part of the large Belmont estate. In 1890 it began to be subdivided into neighborhoods and kick-started the boom of streetcar suburban living in Nashville. By the early 1920s, along with the wave of residents moving to the area came a business district with five grocery stores — from mom and pop places like White’s Market to Southern chain stores like Piggly Wiggly and H.G. Hills stores — and bakeries and gas stations. The opening of the historic Belmont Theater in 1925 contributed to the bustling activity of the area.

More retail shops emerged along the strip in the 1950s and 1960s, however, most of these businesses have since gone to retail heaven —  except for Pancake Pantry, which has been a Hillsboro Village staple since it opened in 1961. In the 1980s and 1990s, with restaurateurs Randy Rayburn and Jody Faison at the helm, Sunset Grill, Faison’s and the Iguana and JoeD’s Chicken Club not only made the strip Nashville’s premiere dining spot (and the place to see and be seen), they also created what became known as “The Vodka Triangle.”

Development changes of the late 1990s were led by H.G. Hill Realty, developer of 2100 Acklen Flats. In 1997, H.G. Hill converted the northeast corner of the strip, centered on the famous Pancake Pantry, into mixed-use space for retail, residential and restaurant tenants. To boost the area’s already thriving development, Vanderbilt University met with land and business owners and developers to protect the character of the neighborhood and set boundaries on its own campus expansion.

The buildings along Hillsboro Village today keep the character of 60 years ago — even though some are newer buildings ­— because an Urban Design Overlay (UDO) was put in place in 1999. Stakeholders and the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Commissionestablished the UDO to outline regulations and best practices that must be followed by businesses coming into the area, requiring that an advisory committee review all proposed architectural changes. It encourages storefronts of varying heights and designs, parking lots behind the businesses and the continued presence of street parking and pedestrian access.

The preservation of this urban, pedestrian-friendly center in Nashville is just as important today as it was 17 years ago. Local developers are putting more money and energy into bringing the charm of Hillsboro Village back to relevance. With this growth, the neighborhood is primed to continue to be enjoyed for decades to come.

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

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A Little History To Cap Our 30 Years

In addition to sharing pictures from our 30th Anniversary Party, we wanted to share some history of our company from over the past 30 years.

Dick Sorenson, a seasoned real estate developer from Atlanta, and George Volkert, a local real estate professional and Georgia Tech football star, established Southeast Venture in 1981.

The company is led today by seven principals: Todd Alexander, Wood Caldwell, Michael Finucane, Randy Parham, Paul Plummer, Cam Sorenson and Axson West. Wood, Paul, Cam and Axson have been with Southeast Venture for over 20 years.

Southeast Venture has grown with Nashville. And like Nashville, we’ve been fortunate to enjoy times of economic expansion and learned how to be resourceful during down times. Though no one wants to experience a recession—and in our history we’ve been through three—the lessons we’ve learned during the down times have made us a better, stronger company. It taught us how to turn obstacles into opportunities.

The firm’s story was born in 1981 when a banker called George and asked him and Dick to solve a problem. Perimeter Park, then under construction, had run into some difficulties and the bank needed someone to fix it. So Perimeter Park became the company’s first project. We handled the leasing, property management and landscaping, and turned a struggling property into a success.

The founding principals were also among the first to see the potential in Williamson County. As development partners with Gary Baker and the late Gerry Ezell, Southeast Venture led the project to create what is now Cool Springs. Southeast Venture handled master planning, rezoning, assembly of the land and approval of the Cool Springs interchange.

Southeast Venture Principals

Dick Sorenson, Paul Plummer, Wood Caldwell, Cam Sorenson, Todd Alexander, Randy Parham, Axson West, Michael Finucane

Construction on the Cool Springs interchange was well underway when the bank financing the project went under, forcing Southeast Venture to relinquish control. But George and Dick’s dream stayed alive, and today Cool Springs is one of the most successful mixed use developments in the south.

In 1991, Southeast Venture added third-party brokerage to its repertoire, and completed its first major third-party project with Sam Moore a year later, brokering the development of Royal Park Business Center.

Other Southeast Venture third-party projects include: Lakeview Regional Medical Center in St. Tammanny Parish Louisiana, Indian Lake, Stewarts Ferry, a major U.S. Postal facility in Royal Park, Central Woodwork Office and Distribution Center in Memphis and Mallory Park, an office park on the former “flagpole property” in Brentwood.

Southeast Venture’s brokerage arm has grown from two to 15 brokers. In April 2011, the company added brokers Finucane and Alexander to its ownership team. This was only the third time in 30 years that Southeast Venture has added partners.

Axson West, Jon Petty, Jimmy Pickel, Tarek El Gammal, J.T. Martin, Todd Alexander, John Cavin, Gilbert Smith, Alan Treadway, Michael Finucane

Our Brokerage Dept.: Axson West, Jon Petty, Jimmy Pickel, Tarek El Gammal, J.T. Martin, Todd Alexander, John Cavin, Gilbert Smith, Alan Treadway, Michael Finucane

The second time was in 1998 when a merger with Metro Center Inc. brought in Randy as a principal and added his broad background and talent in lease management. Over the last five years, Southeast Venture has developed 390,000-square feet in MetroCenter.

Southeast Venture also works closely with HG Hill Realty Company, the largest private property owner in Middle Tennessee. Providing brokerage and design services, Southeast Venture’s projects with HG Hill include BMW/Mini Cooper of Nashville, Gateway at Armory Oaks, Armory Hill Corporate Office Center, Hill Center in Green Hills and the Hill Center in Belle Meade.

If you were to ask what’s Southeast Venture’s stamp, what sets us apart, I’d have to say our track record and leadership that is well known and respected in Nashville. We know the local market, care about the local landscape and have been a part of greater Nashville business community for the last three decades.

The Southeast Venture Team

The Southeast Venture Team