Tag Archives: Middle Tennessee

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.

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Designing a Sleek, Fun Office Space for Two Tech Companies

Happy employees make happy customers…but how do you make employees happy?

Our Design Group recently had the privilege of designing the workspace for two tech companies in Middle Tennessee, Rustici Software and Watershed, which are housed in a former warehouse. The founder of both companies, Mike Rustici, believes in creating workspaces that make employees want to come to work, so we made this our focus from the beginning.

During our planning phase, Mike and his team emphasized how important it is to have multiple common areas that would encourage people to come together and share ideas. They wanted the space to be vibrant and attractive, so we used bright colors, wood elements and open-air design to achieve that.

To balance interaction with privacy, we designed small offices with glass doors and windows that give employees the quiet space they need to work while keeping the open areas visible. Because employees often work in teams, these offices are grouped together based on their area of expertise, giving them ample opportunity to come together and collaborate.

To get a glimpse of this newly designed office space, take a look at these photos:

One of the brightly colored collaboration rooms.

This area is perfect for work or play with large wooden tables, a TV screen and ping-pong table.

The kitchen is large with ample seating, and glass garage doors open up to the patio.

Pictured to the right is just one of the eight conference rooms throughout, and the area to the left is available for one-on-one collaboration.

This covered deck is just the right spot to get a breath of fresh air while overlooking the Bocce Ball court.

With a variety of different workspaces to choose from, the teams at Rustici Software and Watershed are sure to experience no shortage of creativity and flexibility. Mike Rustici said it best, “If cool, well-designed space allows our great people to work more productively and be happier at work, it is definitely worth it.”

ULI Nashville honors Astoria

Last week, the Nashville Urban Land Institute honored six Middle Tennessee developments with its Excellence in Development Awards.

We were thrilled to learn that the Astoria, our Green Hills’ Bedford Avenue mixed-use development project with Ewing Properties was one of the developments recognized.

Astoria has a timeless, classic feel to it, with top-quality materials and amenities. Our partners in the project also included T.W. Frierson, Barge Cauthen Associates, Enfinity Engineering and EMC Structural Engineers PC.

The ULI judges said, “This project fits seamlessly into the environmentally sensitive, new urbanist, mixed-use district that the property owners, developers, public officials and neighbors worked so hard to establish.”

Other developments recognized were the Franklin Theatre, McCabe Park Community Center, Nance Place, Room in the Inn and Ruby.

2012 Sectors Outlook

Survey: Majority Believe Middle Tennessee Commercial Real Estate Climate is Improving

(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 will preform in 2012 compared to 2011.

Middle Tennessee CRE SectorsMulti-family topped the list of commercial real estate sectors, with 79 percent of responders predicting that the multi-family sector will perform better or much better in 2012 than last year. The office and retail sectors were also viewed favorably, with 66 and 58 percent expecting better or much better performances in 2012, respectively.

Commercial real estate insiders are least optimistic about the land and industrial sectors, with eight and seven percent, respectively, of responders banking on a worse performance in 2012 compared to 2011.

When compared to other sectors, the outlook for land sales looks a bit less promising, but when put into the context of last year’s survey, optimism appears to be rising slightly in this sector. Last year, only 24 percent of survey takers felt that the land sector would perform better or much better than 2010. This year, that statistic has jumped 13 percent to 37.

A majority (56 percent) of responders believe that the real estate-owned (REO) sector will remain constant in 2012.

Check out the 2012 Sales Outlook.

Check out the 2012 Leasing Outlook.

2012 Leasing Outlook

Survey: Majority Believe Middle Tennessee Commercial Real Estate Climate is Improving

(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 better than sales, with 74 percent of responders indicating that leasing will be better or much better than last year. Twenty-three percent claimed no change, and four percent expect leasing to be worse or much worse this year.

Middle Tennessee Leasing

Confidence in the improving economy and increased activity in the pipeline topped the reasons for an improved leasing environment, as well as an improving jobs market.

On the other side of the argument, current low vacancy rates have 13 percent of responders believing that leasing cannot get any better. “There is less space, so activity will be better, but leasing may fall short due to a lack of supply,” one responder explained.

The elections, whether good or bad, factored into nine percent of respondents’ leasing considerations.

For a bit of perspective, check out our 2011 Leasing Outlook here.

Nashville CRE Week in Review: Week of Feb. 5

Nashville CRE Links

  1. Empty big boxes answer the call — Nashville Ledger (link)
  2. High-end rentals top residential trends — Nashville Ledger (link)
  3. Middle Tennessee poised for new construction in rejuvenated office, residential, retail markets — Nashville Ledger (link)
  4. Midstate retail trends toward mixed-use development — Nashville Ledger (link)
  5. N.Y. law firm close to moving into Nashville’s Ragland Building — Nashville Business Journal (link)

2012 Sales Outlook

Survey: Majority Believe Middle Tennessee Commercial Real Estate Climate is Improving

(first of three posts)

Last month we conducted our 2nd Annual 2012 Middle Tennessee Commercial Real Estate Survey. Seventy-nine commercial real estate brokers, developers, building owners and investors took the survey, which gauged expectations about local sales, leasing and sector activity in 2012.

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

Middle Tennessee SalesSixty-four percent of respondents believe that sales of Middle Tennessee commercial real estate will be better or much better in 2012. That’s down from 87 percent of survey takers last year. Thirty-two percent expect sales to be stagnant in 2012 compared to 2011.

The election was the primary reason behind the sales outlook, with 17 percent of responders citing concerns about the elections. “The elections are bringing some hope that there will indeed be positive change for businesses and in turn an increase in jobs,” one responder wrote. “I know a lot of owners that are sitting on capital until they know the outcome of the election,” another added.

Other factors in the sales outlook included an easing in restrictions on lending and financing, the slowly improving economy and increased activity in the pipeline.

When we surveyed our local CRE community last year, a loosening of lending and financing policies was the top reason cited for the optimistic sales outlook. The same is essentially true this year, but the elections are clouding the outlook. We won’t know until the elections are over whether the local market will be worse or better off.