Tag Archives: Hillsboro Village

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.

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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.

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.

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of Jan. 22

Nashville CRE Links

  1. Apartment, retail development is bound for Hillsboro Village — Tennessean (link)
  2. Local CRE folks: Federal politics our biggest roadblock — Nashville Post (link)
  3. Nashville Nightlife dinner theater sells for $2.4 million — Nashville Business Journal (link)
  4. TriMont Real Estate Advisors Sells The Clairmont for$2.8M — CoStar Group (link)
  5. Walmart to open Wednesday — Nashville Post (link)