Realtors give homebuyers chance to help nonprofits


Buying a home is the largest investment many of us make. For Jessica Swanger and her husband, it led to the largest contribution they’ve ever made to their favorite charity.

Kayla Eaton, the Swangers’ Realtor, donates 25 percent of her commissions to a not-for-profit organization selected by her clients. For Jessica and Johnathan Swanger, who are first-time homebuyers launching their careers, that created an unexpected opportunity to help others.

“It’s not something that we would have been able to do for some time,” said Jessica Swanger.

After the Swangers purchased a new home in the Dickson County community of White Bluff for $164,000, they arranged for Eaton to give $1,230 in their name to the Nashville chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The organization helped Jessica Swanger’s grandfather through a health crisis.

“We wanted to pay it forward. This was our first opportunity to donate, and it’s something that we really wanted to do,” she said.

Supporting diverse causes

Homeownership is a cornerstone of the economy, fueling sales of everything from lawnmowers and furniture to do-it-yourself supplies. It also has significant benefits for nonprofits in the Nashville region.

At Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty, for example, Realtors make donations from each home sale to the Lipman Group Reserve. Over the past two years, the fund has paid for families to stay at Ronald McDonald House for more than 50 nights.

Village Real Estate Services and Core Development Services have given more than $1.5 million through the Village Fund. The two related companies give 5 percent of their sales and project proceeds to not-for-profit organizations.

Most of Village’s 275 agents pledge a portion of their commission, and vendors often contribute as well, said Realtor Mark Deutschmann, a founder of the company.

“We have given to over 200 charitable organizations and support causes like youth enrichment, the arts, affordable housing, transportation, the urban environment, etc. Many have received support for many years,” he said.

The Village Fund, for example, is a major contributor to Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings program and is helping retrofit homes for low-income seniors in neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill. The Village Fund also supports Greenways for Nashville, which is seeking to complete the I-440 and Brown’s Creek greenways, said Deutschmann.

Giving it away

Eaton said she realized her clients wanted to support local not-for-profits, but many people, especially first-time homebuyers who have been saving for a down payment, were not in a position to make a contribution.

She founded the Love Thy Neighbor Real Estate Group at Keller Williams with the goal of changing that.

“I quickly learned the impact a real estate agent can have on the community,” she said.

Each time a client buys or sells a home, she earns a 3 percent commission and donates one fourth of that to charity. For a $250,000 house — the average price in Nashville — Love Thy Neighbor earns $7,500 and gives away $1,875, an amount that Eaton said equals half of her take-home pay after expenses and taxes.

“I’ve had people say, ‘You work hard for that commission. Why would you give it away?’ If I can give it and make a living for my family, why not do that?” said Eaton.

That commitment appealed to Megan McMurtry, who purchased her first house in Antioch earlier this year. With student debt from graduate school, she had not been in a position to make large contributions to charity. After the closing, Eaton donated 25 percent of her commission to the Cat Shoppe, which rescues homeless cats.

“It’s where I got my rescues,” said McMurtry. “I appreciated her desire to find a way that she could help make society better through the work she does.”

Bill Lewis, For The Tennessean

Twelve $500,000-plus condos headed to West End Avenue area

Infill developer HV Urban also pursuing 38 townhomes on East Trinity Lane.


Groundbreaking is expected in the next three months on a 12-unit high-end condo project planned for 0.3 acres at 119 Acklen Park Drive off West End Avenue.

The $5 million project called Brio will be the latest from HV Urban, the infill division of Brentwood-based custom homebuilder Hidden Valley Homes.

Within 60 days, HV Urban also plans to start work on the Vibe City Homes project, which will bring 38 attached modern townhomes to 1046 East Trinity Lane in East Nashville.

The 12 condos at Brio will range between 1,550 and 1,625 square feet and are expected to be priced in the $500,000-plus range, said John MacCauley, a partner in HV Urban with homebuilder Jim Spangler.

“We were immediately attracted to this project due to demand in the West End area,” MacCauley said in a statement. “Brio brings urban boutique living to an area that has high walkability to restaurants, parks, work and school. It’s a unique opportunity for home buyers as properties like this will become more rare as housing continues to rise here in Nashville.”

Architecture and interior design firm D|AAD (Dryden Architecture and Design) is designing the Brio project, which is expected to include an outdoor communal area with a fire pit. Each condo unit will have a large covered porch and access to two gated parking spaces.

MacCauley expects the first condo units at Brio to be delivered around year’s end 2017 or early 2018. The project site is near the Acklen apartments at 111 Acklen Park Drive.

MacCauley and Spangler have 30-plus years of combined homebuilding experience. Last year, they developed and sold the Gramercy Germantown row homes site to Atlanta-based Thrive Homes LLC after obtaining master site approval and entitlements.

South Nashville warehouse sold for $4.45 million


A general partnership made up of two Nashville families has paid $4.45 million for a vacant airport-area warehouse building around Harding Business Park in South Nashville.

The 100,000-square-foot building at 428 Harding Industrial Drive is the 12th owned in that area by the Hawkins and Lackey family partnerships. Commercial printer BindTech was the most recent tenant for the warehouse, whose seller was Dale H. Nichols Sr.

“We bought it as an investment to add to the holdings there on Harding Industrial Drive,” said Bill Hawkins, managing partner of the buying general partnership that’s also called Harding Business Park. “We’re working to lease the building at this time.”

An Amazon Prime Now fulfillment center and specialty chemical maker Kyzen Corp. are among tenants at Harding Business Park, which Hawkins’ late father Charlie Hawkins and real estate attorney Vaden Lackey developed in the late ’60s.

There are four buildings in the Harding Industrial Park area that the Hawkins and Lackey family partnerships don’t own.

Ingram-linked entity pays $20.35 million for Franklin land

Agricultural use to continue on 535-acre farmland viewed long-term investment.


An entity linked to one of Nashville’s wealthiest families has paid $20.35 million for a roughly 535-acre farm on the outskirts of Franklin with plans to continue agricultural use.

The price paid by Harding Ventures LLC, whose address matches that of Nashville-based conglomerate Ingram Industries, equates to roughly $38,000 an acre.

Plans call for continuing to grow corn and soybeans on the property at 3021 Del Rio Pike, said Mike Jones, broker/owner of Franklin-based real estate company Jones Properties, who represented Harding Ventures in the transaction.

“They’re long-term, passive investors,” he said about the buyers. “They’re not interested in developing the property. They’re just interested in investing in large tracts of properties that they can hold for 10 years or more.”

Several of the Ingrams live in and own property around that area of Franklin where the 535 acres, which includes a farmhouse and barn, is located.

Boyce Magli and Cooper Magli of Magli Realty Co. represented seller Rogers Farm LLC in the transaction.

Plan for 500 homes on Windtree Golf Course go forward

The owners of Windtree Golf Course in Mt. Juliet will move forward with plans to convert the site into a subdivision despite a negative recommendation from the city’s planning commission last week.

The plan presented by owners Danny Hale and Monty Mires is for 504 total homes, which included 360 single-family houses along with 144 townhomes on approximately 184 acres on Nonaville Road.


Mt. Juliet’s planning staff recommended plans with certain conditions, but the planning commission did not.

The project can still move forward to the Mt. Juliet City Commission, which ultimately will decide on its approval since rezoning is required.

The proposal won’t have major changes from the proposal that went before the planning commission, Hale said.

“We believe that we have everything worked out with the city regarding all outstanding issues,” Hale said. “We are in agreement with planning staff and hope to have a positive outcome at the (commission) level.”

Density is a question for Mayor Ed Hagerty in his initial look at the plan, he said. The traffic impact was also discussed at the planning commission meeting.

The owners have been cooperative about potential road improvements, according to Commissioner Ray Justice.

“They have a right to develop property, but we need to make sure people who live in the area now aren’t adversely impacted,” Justice said. “And we have to make sure people who move there down the road will be represented.”

Former CEO of Sonic, Shoney’s auctioning his $16M Belle Meade mansion

The former CEO of three fast-food companies is auctioning his $16.3 million Belle Meade mansion.

C. Stephen Lynn and his wife, Milah Lynn, are selling their 22,000-square-foot mansion on June 29 via Concierge Auctions, a company that sells luxury homes. The sale, occurring in one of the region’s wealthiest ZIP codes, will likely rank among the largest so far this year in a frenzied housing market where homes in many parts of the region are fetching leaping premium prices.


Lynn is a past chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. (Nasdaq: SONC), a past chairman and CEO of Nashville-based Shoney’s and also a past CEO of Nashville-based Back Yard Burgers. Lynn also at one time was director of distribution for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

(If you ask me, by far Lynn’s gig with the best perks is his current seat on the board of directors at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. [NYSE: KKD])

In a press release, Concierge Auctions declares that the mansion, at 530 Jackson Blvd., is “located on the most prestigious street in Belle Meade.”

Concierge Auctions says the Lynns’ gated five-acre estate, which they nicknamed “The Last Dance,” features a three-story elliptical staircase, a gourmet kitchen, a tennis court, a heated pool and a spa. The three-story mansion also “is detailed with chevron-patterned hardwood floors, maple columns, French doors and multiple fireplaces.”

Adam Sichko
Senior Reporter
Nashville Business Journal


Brook Hollow proposal pulled after pushback in West Meade


After much pushback from the West Meade community, property owner Michael Shmerling has pulled his proposal to build 26 homes at Brook Hollow Road and Harding Pike.

Shmerling sent a letter to Councilwoman Mina Johnson on Friday, explaining his decision.

He referred to offering the property to be used as a school and the opposition received last year, as well as suggestions from nearby neighbors to “consider a more modest development,” which led to the most recent proposal.

“I have no interest in fighting with my neighbors — and absolutely respect their concerns,” he wrote.

He also thanked Johnson for listening to both sides of the issue. Shmerling is also a West Meade resident.

The Metro Planning Commission held a community meeting May 18 with architect Kim Hawkins to discuss the requested zoning amendment and show the plan for the site.

While some neighbors supported the overall project, most fervently opposed it, citing traffic concerns and a breach in the neighborhood’s character. The property is zoned for single family homes on 80,000 square feet, about two acres of land.

“I realize that our neighbors care deeply about their property and the perceived problems associated with unchecked growth,” Shmerling wrote. “I hold no resentment for those that opposed, but only wish a more civil conversation could have been held.”

Jen Todd,

Brentwood apartments fetch $110M


California REIT grows local portfolio to 1,300+ units

A California REIT has more than doubled its local holdings by paying a whopping $110 million for a large Brentwood apartment complex built in the late 1980s.

The big price being paid by Steadfast Apartment REIT translates to almost $152,000 for each of the 724 units at Landings of Brentwood, which sits off Moores Lane near Mallory Lane. By comparison, Steadfast leaders paid $142,113 per unit for Stoneridge Farms in Smyrna late last year, $91,904 per unit for Heritage Place in Franklin about a year ago and $80,681 per unit for Villages at Spring Hill in the spring of 2014. Their investment in the Nashville market now totals $182 million in 1,341 units.

“We believe Nashville’s broad economic base and its appeal to relocating businesses should keep job growth healthy,” said Ella Shaw Neyland, president of Steadfast. “Finally, Landings of Brentwood is a highly desirable community with tremendous value enhancement potential, which aligns with Steadfast’s strategy.”

Neyland and her team plan to modernize many interior and exterior elements of the 117-acre complex, which is home to 41 garden-style buildings with units that fetch an average monthly rent of $1,136. The property was build in phases between 1986 and 1989.

With the purchase, Steadfast Apartment REIT’s portfolio has grown to 32 properties in 11 states, for which the company has paid $1.38 billion.

AUTHORS Geert De Lombaerde

Downtown Nashville skyscraper sold

Almost three years after it was last sold, downtown Nashville’s Bank of America Plaza has again traded hands.

According to a news release, Richmond, Virginia-based Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC has sold the building for $74 million. Lingerfelt paid $41.75 million for the building in July 2013.


The building is downtown’s sixth-largest office tower. About 20 percent of the building’s space is currently vacant.

The news release does not disclose the buyer of the property. A deed recording the transaction was not immediately available Friday morning.

According to the release, Lingerfelt will continue to operate the 435,000-square-foot tower on behalf of the new owner. CBRE will continue to handle leasing and marketing for the 21-story tower. Commonwealth Commercial Partners will continue to serve as property manager.

Eric Snyder
Managing Editor
Nashville Business Journal