John Deere: Michelin X Tweel Turf


The new Michelin X Tweel is an airless radial tire sold exclusively for John Deere ZTrak 900 Series models with 54-, 60- and 72-inch deck sizes. Unlike traditional pneumatic tires, the MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF virtually eliminates tire downtime and is nearly maintenance free.

The X TWEEL TURF has the same dimensions and bolt pattern as a standard 24x12x12 tire, and features automotive rubber technology, allowing the tread to last up to three times longer than standard turf tires.

Case Study: Finding a way to keep good employees year-round

Finding a way to keep good employees on staff year-round has been a positive investment for one landscape firm.


The Problem: Chris Demato, owner of Rock Bottom Landscaping & Fencing in Somerset County, N.J., was sick of worrying about losing valuable employees to other lines of work during the offseason.

The Inspiration: Navigating the January to March lull can be tricky for landscape company owners. Brainstorming ways to approach the winter layoff differently, Demato decided to abolish the layoff period altogether.

The Solution: Employing quality people is the key to running a successful service business, Demato says. With a staff of 10 employees, losing one to another line of work can be devastating. To reduce the chances of that happening, four years ago Demato revamped his pay plan to keep employees on the payroll throughout the winter. A growing snow business also justified keeping a full-time staff.

In 15 years of business, Demato typically retained most of his workforce. Still, he always felt nervous he could lose someone over the winter.

Originally, Rock Bottom employees were on payroll during the regular season, March to December. From January to March, the company’s snow operation paid per snow event. The company would round up workers when it snowed or when a job came up. With this setup, employees didn’t have a steady income throughout the winter and had to hope Mother Nature came through with some work. This scenario left employees uncertain when another check would come in, and uncertainty can lead employees astray.

Demato decided restructuring his pay plan was the best way to keep valuable employees around. Under the new plan, employees are paid for 40-hour workweeks through the winter—instead of one-time payments whenever a snow event or a job came in. If one winter brings above average snowfall, employees get bonus pay for extra time worked. But now, they aren’t penalized for a below average winter. Often, they don’t even work 40 hours a week.

To devise the plan, Demato considered the average amount Rock Bottom paid out over the past few winters and budgeted for that amount. The new plan cost about 20 percent more than he was expecting. Still, Demato says it’s worth the investment.

“That extra money is well worth the advantage of having employees available at our convenience during the winter,” Demato says. “We also get emergency calls through the winter for fallen trees or cleanups, and now we have workers ready to go at any time, whereas before we would have to coordinate a specific day and time.”

Most Rock Bottom employees are on the new pay plan. The company averages one new employee per year, and Demato vets new team members before giving them year-round pay status. Some employees have opted out due to other offseason work or a lack of affinity for snow work.

A side benefit is the positive effect on quality and customer service, as employees become more familiar with clients and their properties. And employee longevity has become a selling point for the company.

“It allows us to talk about the cumulative years of experience of the entire crew,” Demato says. “Customers love to see familiar faces and have formed relationships with our employees over the years.”

Though the new payment structure costs more, the peace of mind that’s come with it is worth the investment, Demato says.

“I fixed the problem of having to worry about losing our experienced and qualified help,” Demato says. “And my employees are also very happy about the stability of the year-round employment. It’s a win-win.”

Hillsboro Village project


GBT Realty Corp. has released an updated image of its 76-unit apartment planned for Hillsboro Village.

The Brentwood-based company told Nashville Business Journal it has yet to finalize financing or a general contractor for the $20 million project, which will be undertaken at 1710 Belcourt Ave. A summer groundbreaking is targeted with the building to be called Belcourt Park.

Of note, the Belcourt Park apartments will be priced well under $3 a foot, making them less pricey than their counterparts either recently opened or under construction.

The Metro Planning Commission has approved the required zoning change and now the Metro Council must OK. GBT hopes to break ground in August and have the building ready by the end of summer 2017, NBJ reports.

Two blocks to the east, GBT is developing Village 21 at Regions Park, a mixed-use project to combine apartments, retail and a Regions Bank. The buildings will sit on the northeast corner of the intersection of 21st and Wedgewood avenues.

AUTHORS Staff Reports

Work to start on east side residential project


Core Development and Paragon Group are targeting May for their Chester project to go vertical in East Nashville.

Located at 1021-1035 Chester Ave. in South Inglewood specifically (see the site here courtesy of Google Maps), Chester will feature 17 mid-century modern town homes designed by architect Van Pond.

Village Real Estate Services, a sister company of Core, is handling marking and sales. Newell Anderson, a member of Village’s CityLiving Group team, told the Post the plan is to start closing on the sale of units in the fall. And early 2017 completion is being eyed.

“We plan to start taking contracts in early May,” Anderson said.

Paragon Group is also serving as the general contractor.

Anderson said Chester’s foundation and slabs are in place.

Chester’s 17 homes will offer two- and three-bedroom floor plans. Most of the units will feature top-floor master bedrooms that will allow residents to walk onto partially covered rooftop patios. All units will have attached garages.

AUTHORS Staff Reports

The latest on Google Fiber in Nashville

Finally, we have answers to some of your most commonly asked questions about Google Fiber. Others remain a bit of a mystery. Here’s what we know now. (Some of this you may already know, but I promise, you’ll learn new stuff if you check it out).

What is Google Fiber? Google Fiber is gigabit (or 1,000 megabits per second) internet, supplied by fiber-optic cables rather than the century-old copper ones and traveling about 75 times faster than the average American network. Check out this explainer from the initial announcement back in 2014 for more of the basics.


Who else has it? Google’s first selection for its ultra high-speed service was Kansas City, followed by Austin and Provo, Utah. The Atlanta network, announced at the same time as Nashville’s, began hooking customers up earlier this year, and a handful of cities also have service on the way.

What does it cost? This is the biggest question that has finally been answered. In Nashville, the company will offer three plans. Customers can pay $50 a month for the Fiber 100 plan, which gives them internet at 100 megabits per second. The Fiber 1000 plan, for $70 a month, includes the standard gigabit speed. Or customers can add TV to the gig speed and pay $130 a month. For houses, there’s no installation fee with a one-year commitment. (Apartment and condo residents don’t have an installation fee at all.)

Can my business use it? If you have an office in one of the condo and apartment buildings coming online in the coming months, you’ll get access to the small-business network that’s been piloted in other fiber cities. If you don’t, and you’ve got a hefty presentation to download quickly, for now your best bet will be to pay a visit to the Fiber Space in the Gulch, where anyone can take advantage of a community table and a gig of speed.

But I don’t live in a fancy apartment building. When can I connect? There’s no firm timeline on next steps in the rollout plan. When the company is building out in your neighborhood you will start to see crews out and about, who should leave little notices on your door spelling out the reason and providing you with contact info should you find yourself inconvenienced.

Eleanor Kennedy
Staff Reporter
Nashville Business Journal

New Tennessee Titan DeMarco Murray bought a $3M house in Franklin – check it out here

Of all the moves the Tennessee Titans made in the offseason, the highest-profile addition was running back DeMarco Murray. Now, the newcomer from Philadelphia has found a place to live.

Murray paid $2.95 million for the home at 1606 Whispering Hills Drive in Franklin, according to a newly filed property deed. The home contains six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

Murray bought the home from F. David Bender, according to property records. Bender paid $1.9 million for the home in 2010.

Williamson County ranks among the 20 most-affluent counties in the nation, based on its median annual household income north of $90,000. The county is also the fastest-growing in the entire state.

For a look inside the home, check out the video embedded with this story.

Adam Sichko
Senior Reporter
Nashville Business Journal

Developer lands loan to build huge Marriott hotel

A developer now has every dollar necessary to build a Marriott-branded hotel that will be the fourth-largest hotel in downtown Nashville.

New public records show that SunTrust (NYSE: STI) is loaning $89 million to fund construction of a 19-story hotel in SoBro, produced by Atlanta-based developer North Point Hospitality Group Inc.


The project should please city officials who have been waiting and hoping developers would produce more hotel rooms within walking distance of the city’s massive Music City Center convention hall. This hotel would be located across the street, at 400 Fifth Ave. S. — and potentially bordered by two other proposed hotels, a cluster that underscores how popular this part of SoBro has become for hotel developers and investors. North Point’s hotel, with a total price tag of about $120 million, ranks among the 33 big-ticket items on our Crane Watch development map.

North Point debuted its plans one year ago, saying that the hotel would have 455 rooms. That would make it the fourth-largest downtown (just one room larger than the Westin a few blocks away, which opens this fall).
JE Dunn Construction Co. is overseeing the work, said Sean Buck, a vice president and group manager at JE Dunn.

North Point has billed the project as the first in the nation to feature three Marriott brands contained in the same building (with a rooftop amenity deck that is open to guests of any of the three). Here’s the mix: a 204-room AC Hotel, a 126-room Residence Inn by Marriott and a 125-room SpringHill Suites.

Gina Peper, North Point’s vice president of sales and marketing, said more details about the project could be announced in the coming days.

Adam Sichko
Senior Reporter
Nashville Business Journal

Ackman, Georgetown’s plans for “Auto Row” office redevelopment revealed

Investors asking rents in mid-$70s psf at former Ford building at 787 11th Ave


Rendering of 787 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen (credit: Neoscape) (inset: Adam Flatto)

Hedge funder Bill Ackman and Adam Flatto’s Georgetown Co. unveiled plans for the office redevelopment of an eight-story building on Hell’s Kitchen’s “Auto Row.”

Ackman partnered with Georgetown and investment firm Main Street Advisors at 787 11th Avenue, which is located between West 54th and West 55th streets and currently houses auto dealerships Jaguar Land Rover Manhattan, Infiniti of Manhattan and Nissan of Manhattan.

The partners shelled out $255.5 million to acquire the building from Ford Motor Co. last year and are investing another $100 million in an extensive renovation, led by noted architect Rafael Vinoly. The project will transform the floors above the dealerships into upscale offices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, is set to occupy a two-story glass penthouse addition atop the property – complete with a wraparound terrace — once work is completed near the end of 2017. There will also be a 12,000-square-foot rooftop deck available to tenants atop the penthouse addition.

The developers are asking rents in the mid-$70s per square foot at the property.
While the “Auto Row” section of the Far West Side is known mostly for car dealerships and warehouses, the developers are looking to capitalize on the Manhattan office market’s shift westward – via projects like Related Cos.’ Hudson Yards – as well as zoning that doesn’t allow for hotel or residential development.

“Folks are looking at this as one of the last untapped neighborhoods in Midtown, a neighborhood with significant development potential,” Cushman & Wakefield director Christoffer Brodhead said. [WSJ] – Rey Mashayekhi

Red Bull signs lease for Gulch building space

Global energy drink maker eyes regional headquarters for Nashville


Global energy drink maker Red Bull has signed a lease to house some executives in what will be its regional headquarters in a Gulch building.

Nashville-based 600 Ninth Partners, which paid $3 million for the building in late February (read more here), confirmed the lease but declined further comment. The building will be called 600 Ninth and is located at the southeast corner of Ninth Avenue South and Gleaves Street (see here courtesy of Google Maps).

Austria-based Red Bull GmbH was founded in the 1980s and has grown to be the biggest seller of energy drinks in the world. It sold about 5.9 billion cans and generated about $6.4 in revenue in 2015, according to the company website.

Led by David W. Creed and Stan Snipes, the aforementioned real estate investor group hopes to begin a mid-May renovation effort of the building (pictured). The group already has signed leases with Rudy’s Jazz Room and Scout’s Barbershop.

Creed and Snipes serve as managing partners at the Nashville office of SVN.

AUTHORS Staff Reports