Tag Archives: Wood Caldwell

Everyone Loses In The Controlled Economy Advocated By Affordable Housing Movement

By Wood Caldwell, Managing Principal at Southeast Venture

In order to keep up with the 80+ new people moving to Middle Tennessee every day (that’s over 30,000 a year, with a large portion of this influx coming to Davidson County), construction of apartment, condominium and mixed-use developments has hit record-breaking levels, and this boom must continue to in order catch up with demand. Indeed, the relatively high rental rates for apartments in some parts of Nashville are a function of this imbalance between supply and demand. When supply meets demand, rates will moderate. This kind of adjustment to reality is the beauty of a free market economy.

Unfortunately, there is a movement to control rents by exchanging development incentives for “affordable housing.” Let me say, everybody loses in a controlled economy. As stated before in other articles, it would be a “self-inflicted recession.” This is Nashville’s future if such a plan prevails.

Should everyone who puts in a good day’s work be able to afford to live in our city? Certainly, and there is plenty of moderately priced housing in Nashville already. Is it in the hip neighborhoods like downtown, East Nashville, Sylvan Heights, Germantown or 12 South? No, yet this is what this movement demands.

But why? Is this really a noble cause? Isn’t it rather like demanding that all Nashvillians who drive a late model Chevrolet be upgraded to a Cadillac at public expense? Is this something we should raise property taxes to pay for? It is worth harming our city’s economy?

The latest salvo in the affordable housing “crisis” is a proposed ordinance from the Metro Planning staff, mandated by Metro Council, which seeks to enforce affordable housing quotas by taking away certain key incentives from developers unless a certain number of units in their residential projects are rented or sold at below-market rates. Currently, developers are allowed to build taller buildings by adding floors when their projects include characteristics like public parking, eco-friendly design or mixed-use ground floor elements such as retail and restaurants.

Therefore, height bonus equals needed downtown public parking, “green” designed buildings and mixed use projects: key elements essential for creating a vibrant downtown. It’s a win-win. The irony of this proposal is that it was the Metro Planning Commission and Metro Council that voted to incorporate these bonuses years ago to stimulate development and bring people back downtown.

This ordinance now goes to Metro Council for consideration. Hopefully, they will vote it down, just as the Planning Commission voted unanimously not to recommend it to the Council. This ordinance’s heavy-handed approach to forcing the development of below-market housing will have the unintended consequence of severely slowing development of residential real estate throughout Nashville. Everyone loses.

It’s also worth noting that nowhere in the ordinance is there anything about paying for this plan – even though the planning staff’s report estimated it would cost $10 million a year to compensate property owners for the money lost due to “affordable housing” quotas. Where is this $10 million coming from? This obviously means a tax increase. Either that, or cutting funding to other city services like education and public safety.

Again I ask, is this a sacrifice we want to make so that people can move from affordable housing in Antioch or Madison into a place they can’t afford in downtown or East Nashville? Is it really that important for our city to subsidize a hip lifestyle for everyone? Surely we have more pressing issues.

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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.

Sonic Automotive Group to Add BMW Dealership in Brentwood’s Mallory Park

The growing popularity of Brentwood’s Mallory Park business park hit a new high recently with the news that Sonic Automotive Group is under contract to purchase land in the development.

According to officials for commercial real estate services firm Southeast Venture, Sonic Automotive Group has claimed 13.22 acres—which accounts for all remaining Highway 65 frontage in Phase II of Mallory Park—and plans to build a new BMW dealership on the land. This will be in addition to Sonic Automotive Group’s current BMW dealership located at 4040 Armory Oaks Drive in Nashville.

In August 2012, Sonic Automotive Group broke ground on a new 9,178-square-foot Porsche dealership and 32,010-square-foot Audi dealership at 1576 and 1580 Mallory Lane. The new Porsche of Nashville and Audi Nashville are located where Phase I of Mallory Park connects to Phase II.

The area shaded dark pink represents Phase II

The area shaded dark pink represents Phase II

Sonic Automotive Group’s most recent purchase marks the first purchase within Mallory Park’s Phase II. Infrastructure work for Phase II of began in September 2012, opening up about 35 additional acres for commercial development.

Mallory Park is historically dubbed the ‘Flagpole Property’ for a row of flagpoles that formerly festooned the property along its border with I-65.

“Sonic’s Automotive Group’s continued investment in this project represents the strength of the company’s commitment to this area. By having all of its dealerships in one location, the logistics of helping a potential buyer find his or her perfect car becomes much simpler,” said Wood Caldwell, principal for Southeast Venture, which is representing the landowner, Dickson-based Tennsco.

Southeast Venture in the Nashville Business Journal

The Nashville Business Journal recently ran a great piece on Southeast Venture.

The article includes an interview with Principal Wood Caldwell, during which he credits Southeast Venture’s diversification and management structure for its ability to persevere during the firm’s 30 year history.

To view a PDF of the article, follow the link below.

No debt, new services keep broker afloat

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