Tag Archives: Middle Tennessee

Neighborhood Spotlight: Midtown

Nashville encompasses such an eclectic group of people — young and old, newcomers and natives — but one thing you’re certain to find in any part of our city is a sense of community, and near the center of it all is the bustling Midtown district.

With its close proximity to Belmont University, Vanderbilt University, office buildings and local hospitals, Midtown is home to many young professionals, college students and musicians. Containing nearly 30 bars and restaurants, Midtown provides a more casual atmosphere for locals and students trying to escape the crowds of tourists that flood Lower Broadway nightly.

Nashville has become nationally known recently for the quality and variety of its restaurants, and you’ll find a outstanding sampling of dining options in Midtown, from authentic sports bars like Winners Bar & Grill and Losers Bar & Grill, to iconic spots like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Midtown Cafe and the Catbird Seat. There’s something for everyone, with new hot spots opening frequently.

Midtown isn’t just about bars and nightlife, it’s also home to Centennial Park and The Parthenon — two of Nashville’s most famous attractions. The Parthenon was inspired by Nashville’s moniker as “Athens of the South.” In the 1850s, long before the town was referred to as Music City, Nashville was regarded as a center of intellectual exchange — placing a large emphasis on, and subsidizing, many institutions of higher education. So, for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, an exact replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece, was constructed in 1897. Today, Nashville’s Parthenon is a wonderful perch for people-watching in Centennial Park. On any given day, you’ll see people enjoying Nashville’s beautiful weather, taking a stroll through the park’s green space, feeding the pigeons near the pond or going for a run on one of the many paths.

With numerous apartment and condominium complexes, Midtown is also a haven for young people just getting their footing in Nashville. The streets of Midtown are studded with hotels and lodging options, as well, perfect for visitors and parent’s weekends at neighboring universities.  

In addition to all the activities these attractions offer, Midtown is home to Nashville’s world-famous Music Row. The popularity of  WSM’s Grand Ole Opry radio program positioned the city as a mecca for country music. In 1954, the first business on Music Row was created when Owen and Harold Bradley opened a small, makeshift studio on Sixteenth Avenue South. Not long after, an influx of music industry executives flocked to Music Row. RCA then decided that Music Row would be the best site for it’s new Nashville recording facility, Studio B. The studio was built in 1957 and counts Elvis Presley among the stars to record there.

A great neighborhood to consider whether you’re a college sports fan, musician, medical professional or someone who’s simply looking to have a good time, Midtown embodies Nashville’s reputation of a fun, upbeat community fused with history and character.

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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.

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)