Downtown’s Hilton Garden Inn sold for sizzling, near-record price

A buyer from Ohio paid a premium, near-record price for one of the few hotels open in SoBro, the part of downtown that’s been ground zero for Nashville’s real estate boom.

Rockbridge Capital LLC, of Columbus, paid $80.3 million for the Hilton Garden Inn on Korean Veterans Boulevard, according to newly filed public records.


The deal underscores two of the dominant themes of Nashville’s epic surge in property values and rush of construction. First is the fact that newcomer, out-of-state money continues to juice the boom — as evidenced by Rockbridge, which also is turning the building at 200 Fourth Ave. N. into a 226-room boutique hotel. Second is the fact that Nashville remains a fantasyland for hotel investors, with demand from record tourist visits, increasing business travel and convention bookings far outstripping the city’s exiting supply of hotel rooms. That imbalance means Nashville’s average occupancy rates remain among the highest in the nation, enabling hotel owners to push their rates to stunning highs.

The Hilton Garden Inn, which formally opened one year ago, contains 214 rooms. That means Rockbridge paid an average of $375,051 per room — the third-largest hotel deal in Nashville’s history, according to our data.

The purchase price is just $79 per room less than what The LCP Group, of New York, paid four months ago for the Hampton Inn & Suites located across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn. (That hotel has 154 rooms and has received Metro approval to add another 50 rooms).

The record-holder is the luxury boutique Union Station hotel, which sold at the end of 2014 for a price of $418,400 per room (a total of $52.3 million). Just in this calendar year, Nashville has now witnessed the second-, third- and fifth-biggest hotel deals ever.

Rockbridge bought the Hilton Garden Inn from its owner and developer, Franklin-based Chartwell Hospitality. The hotel may one day face a lot of competition. Our Crane Watch map shows at least 4,085 hotel rooms proposed or under construction in SoBro alone, a record pipeline.

But until 2018, the Hilton Garden Inn will likely remain the only hotel open south of Korean Veterans Boulevard. One block over, Atlanta developer North Point Hospitality Group recently broke ground on a 470-room hotel that will combine three Marriott brands in the same 21-story building.

BBVA Compass bank, of Alabama, provided Rockbridge a loan to cement the purchase, according to public records.

Adam Sichko
Senior Reporter
Nashville Business Journal

Phoenix developer plans 4th Nashville apartment project

Alliance Residential Co. has property under contract for what could be its fourth Nashville-area apartment complex.

The Phoenix-based multifamily developer’s plans call for two apartment buildings on 4.91 acres on Old Hickory Boulevard next to Eagle Ridge community, according to The Tennessean.


The Metro Planning Commission will consider zoning approval to allow a limited range of retail, office and consumer service usages.

Alliance has also announced plans for apartment projects in the Gulch, Berry Hill and Charlotte Avenue.

Alison Nash
Associate Editor
Nashville Business Journal

It’s almost that time of year again

                            Williamson County Fair


The Williamson County fair is 9 days of fun, beginning the first week of August. Featuring a music festival, fair rides, farm animal exhibits, and more, the Williamson County Fair has something for everyone! The “Barnyard Mardi Gras” edition of the much-anticipated annual event will not only feature flourishes of the Big Easy, but also a host of favorite attractions and some exciting new twists.

Don’t miss shows featuring Lady Houdini, a modern-day magic aficionado, BMX Pros Trick Team, and more.

                   WILLIAMSON COUNTY FAIR
Fri, 08/05/2016 – 6:00pm to Sat, 08/13/2016 – 10:00pm
Monday – Thursday: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.

6 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Seller’s Market


Preparation is key to successfully buying a house in a hot market.

When you’re looking for a home, but the market favors sellers, you need a plan in place to avoid making mistakes.

The real estate market fluctuates often, making it tough to predict whether the market will favor buyers or sellers when it’s your turn to buy. Especially if you’re shopping for real estate in San Francisco, CA, or another market that currently favors sellers, you need to know some tricks of the trade to help ensure you don’t make any mistakes. Buyers in a seller’s market can get what they want, but they need to bring their “A” game — buying a house in a hot market isn’t for the indecisive. Here are six common mistakes many buyers make — mistakes that you can learn to avoid — when shopping in a seller’s market.

1. Not making your best offer

The drive to buy what we want for as little money as possible is practically in our DNA. So when most people see the listing price of a home, they naturally wonder what they can really get the house for. Offering lower than asking price is a perfectly reasonable strategy in some instances, such as if the house is overpriced compared with other similar homes in the area, or if it’s a buyer’s market with lots of available inventory. But trying to get a deal when you’re in a seller’s market might not be the best idea. “In a seller’s market, many buyers do not step up with a strong enough offer,” says David Dubin, a New York broker. “There is usually a shortage of inventory, and the competition is usually fierce. I always encourage a buyer to come in with a strong opening offer.”

2. Waiting too long to put in an offer

Just as impulse-buying a home is risky, analyzing a home purchase to death in a seller’s market is inadvisable too. When you wait too long, “You are at high risk of losing [the home] you have fallen in love with,” says Dubin. Once you’ve determined the type of home you want, the location you desire, and your price range, and finally find a home that meets your qualifications, make an offer. To give yourself more leverage, be prepared to make a quick offer by having your finances in order — get a preapproval if you can. “Know how much you can truly afford, repair any credit issues, have your down payment in hand, and delay [other] major purchases,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Florida.

3. Not working with a seasoned agent

In a seller’s market, it benefits buyers to get all the help they can. If you have a seasoned agent on your side, you’ll probably have a better chance of getting the home you want. Plus, in most cases, buyers don’t pay real estate agents; sellers do. “When you are competing against other buyers in a fast-paced market, it is vital to be ‘offer-ready,’” says Michael Holt, a New York agent. “Working with a real estate professional saves tons of time and stress, as they know the ins and outs of the process and can provide tremendous insight regarding upcoming inventory.”

4. Not being prequalified (or better yet, preapproved) for a loan

You might know that you’ll be approved for a mortgage loan based on your steady income, your low debt-to-income ratio, and your high credit score — but the seller probably doesn’t know that. The only way to prove to the seller that you’re a qualified buyer is to be prequalified from a lender. “Prequalification is absolutely paramount,” says Teka Klopfenstein, a New York agent. “A buyer has zero advantage if they do not have the cash to purchase without a mortgage and haven’t taken the time to speak with a lender.” Not getting prequalified, she says, “sends a message to the seller that the buyer will lag on getting their ducks in order and aren’t taking their house hunting seriously.”

Preapproval is a step above prequalification (where you simply tell your lender your financial story). The preapproval process involves submitting a mortgage application, complete with supplying verifying documents. “Preapproval from a reputable lender is key,” says New York agent Ryan Stenta. “Presenting this shows the seller that the buyer has already set the wheels in motion and is serious about making [the deal] a reality.”

5. Not being prepared for a bidding war

If there is ever a time when a bidding war could be imminent, it’s during a seller’s market. No buyer wants to be involved in such a battle for fear of possibly going over budget. But broker Michael Holt presents this solution for buyers: “Set your search below your max budget to leave room in case of an over-asking bidding war.”

6. Not learning from your mistakes

There’s no shame in learning that your offer has been declined, but it’s easy to get frustrated if your offers are declined over and over again. Learn from your last transaction(s) so you can get what you want. Stenta says that buying a house, particularly for first-time buyers, is a lot like dating. “You probably have to let a few keepers slip through your fingers, have a couple sleepless nights over it, and then come back with serious intent to lock up the next greatest opportunity in front of you.”

Smaller is better for some Nashville homeowners


Megan Florentine believes there are a lot of homebuyers like her in Nashville: single professionals looking for a small, affordable new house conveniently located inside the city, not some far-away suburb.

Or, put another way, “people who can’t afford a million-dollar house in 12 South,” she said.

During her six-month search for a home, Florentine, who is a kindergarten teacher, found there weren’t many opportunities for buyers who fit that description. Then she discovered Treaty Oaks, a subdivision in the Nations neighborhood west of downtown.

The development will have 60 single-family homes ranging from just over 1,000 square feet to 1,575 square feet. Prices start at $259,000.

‘Workforce housing’

At 1,200 square feet, Florentine’s home will be one of the smaller houses in the neighborhood. It will also be more affordable than many new single-family houses in the Nations, where prices typically range between $350,000 and $400,000, said Mike Kenner, principal of MiKen Development.

Creating affordable “workforce housing” was the goal, he said.

“Economic inclusiveness is the key to making Nashville work. The more we gentrify neighborhoods, the more damage we do,” said Kenner.


Megan Florentine walks down the street in Treaty Oaks, where her new home is expected to be finished in November. (Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean)

Strong demand for micro rentals

Nashville developer Tony Giarratana said he believes demand is growing for smaller rental units as well. His new apartment development, Edge Midtown at 2200 State St., includes 10 micro units with 396 square feet of living space.

“We’re very excited about micro units and intend to develop more,” he said.

Each micros at Edge Midtown features a full kitchen, bath, washer and dryer. They also come equipped with Murphy beds that fold away, said Ted Kromer, development director for Giarratana Development.

Demand for the micros has been strong in Edge Midtown, which is new. The first eight apartments leased were micros. Rents in the building begin at $1,425.

“We have been advocating for small units for some time, and our financial partner supported us on this project. We believe that (millennials) prefer a small, live-alone unit to a larger shared unit,” said Kromer.

Apartments of steel

More micro apartments are under development in the Nations. Next door to Treaty Oaks, MiKen is developing Stack 19, which will feature units ranging from 250 to 600 square feet. They will be constructed from surplus shipping containers.

Doorways and windows will be sliced into the heavy steel containers, which are each 40 feet long and eight feet wide. The location, at the corner of 60th Avenue North and Morrow Road, could be described as “micro” itself. It is a 50-foot by 125-foot lot.

Work on the site could begin next month, said Kenner.


Homes in the Treaty Oaks subdivision, starting at $259,000, are more affordable than many new single-family houses in the neighborhood. (Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean)

Many single buyers

At Treaty Oaks, demand has been growing from buyers interested in small, more affordable homes, said Village Real Estate Realtor Casey Zolezzi. The first 18 homes are under construction, and 11 of those have already been purchased.

“We’re pre-sold before we get the foundation down,” he said. “Single buyers don’t need a big house, but with rental rates and rising prices, they want to buy,” he said.

The smallest homes in Treaty Oaks are getting the most attention, said Kenner.

“They are our hottest sellers,” he said.


The Treaty Oaks development will have 60 single-family homes ranging from just over 1,000 square feet to 1,575 square feet. (Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean)

‘You realize how expensive Nashville is’

Scott Haley, a partner in HR Properties, said the availability of affordable workforce housing is essential to Nashville’s future. The company is MiKen Development’s investment partner in Treaty Oaks.

“Not everyone is a young tech person or a lawyer or a doctor,” said Haley.

“Having people who teach in our schools, work in our fire halls, groceries, the dentist’s office, restaurants, these people need to be part of our community,” he said.

Florentine, who is moving from a 716-square-foot condo in Green Hills, is looking forward to living into her new house.

Her search, she said, “was a long time, and it was frustrating. You realize how expensive Nashville is. This is an opportunity to have a standalone home I can afford. I was thrilled.”

Bill Lewis, For The Tennessean


Music Row Building With RFD-TV Headquarters Sells For $9 Million


The building that houses digital channel RFD-TV’s headquarters has sold for $9 million. 2207 Crestmoor Road Partners purchased the building at 49 Music Sq. W., according to The Nashville Post.

The six-story, nearly 62,000-square foot property was formerly the headquarters for GAC-TV.

Sellers for the building and its adjacent parking garage are from Germany’s Schneberger family. Nashville-based real estate investor and developer Nick Spiva is affiliated with the buyer entity.

Jessica Nicholson


More apartments coming to Charlotte Avenue, thanks to $47M bank loan

The developer of one of the high-profile projects redefining Nashville’s Charlotte Avenue has secured a loan to build an apartment complex.

According to newly filed public records, Dallas-based Cambridge Holdings Inc. landed a $47 million loan for a 276-unit apartment complex that marks the next chapter of its OneCity development at 3001 Charlotte Ave. These will be the first residential units within the mixed-use development, a project that will cost an estimated $400 million if fully built out.


Developers are inundating Nashville with a record number of apartments, spurred by the whole region’s population growth, and major employers moving into the urban core in an overall humming economy. It’s stiff competition, though Ryan Doyle, the Cambridge executive overseeing OneCity, contends his apartments will be different because they’ll feed off of the existing and future retail and restaurants planned for the project — and because the rent will be tailored to appeal to the workers of the companies he’s trying to recruit.

The lender is Bank of the Ozarks (Nasdaq: OZRK), a bank in Little Rock, Ark., that has financed a number of headline developments in Nashville’s real estate boom, from the mixed-use Aertson Midtown project near Vanderbilt University to Tony Giarratana’s 45-story apartment tower under construction downtown.

The first office building at OneCity (stylized as oneC1TY) is 110,000 square feet and full. Tenants include the Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance and Microsoft.

Also this year, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced a 169-room hotel planned for OneCity. This year, Doyle also says he is aiming to start construction on OneCity’s next round of office space.

Adam Sichko
Senior Reporter
Nashville Business Journal

The difference between Realtors and real estate agents

Realtors’ knowledge and skills are integral in any real estate transaction.

“There is a difference somehow!”

That’s what “Modern Family” character Gloria Pritchett exclaimed in a recent episode after learning that there is a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent.

The placement of the Realtor brand within ABC’s “Modern Family” television show is a part of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Consumer Advertising Campaign. You may think the idea is quirky, funny and a typical advertising ploy, but what does it mean for you, the consumer? It means a lot.

While NAR’s advertising themes tend to change based on the state of the real estate market, each campaign’s purpose remains the same: to help consumers understand the value a Realtor brings to a real estate transaction. The current campaign, entitled “Get Realtor,” highlights the value of the Realtor brand and helps consumers understand that Realtors are their competitive advantage in today’s active market.

The current campaign strives to redefine the Realtor “R” for current and future buyers and sellers. The Realtor brand, now 100 years old, is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and is worth more than $5 billion.

Advances in technology have made big changes to how connected consumers are, including how they approach the real estate transaction. With that in mind, this is the first campaign that went digital before airing on television in order to grab the attention of millennials and the connected consumer.

Even if you’re not a “Modern Family” watcher, chances are you have seen one of the “Phils-osophies” commercials. The character’s goofy, yet relatable personality makes the collaboration between NAR and ABC’s “Modern Family” a no-brainer. NAR’s research has revealed that many consumers experience anxiety when choosing a Realtor to work with. The Phil Dunphy character resonates with viewers and they feel he represents the Realtor brand well, so it was an easy choice to have Phil as the face of the Realtor brand.

Making the Realtor brand approachable and professional with consumers is top priority. Each campaign emphasizes four crucial points about Realtors: They bring a competitive advantage; they have strong insights into the local market; they have knowledge beyond an online search about what is currently and about to be on the market; and they act as advocates for consumers both during and after a transaction.

Regardless of a campaign’s success, the real win is when consumers agree that a Realtor is integral in any real estate transaction. After all, there is a difference somehow.

Denise Creswell

Why Do Cows Produce More Milk When They Listen To Music?


Whether it’s Beethoven or Simon & Garfunkel, the right music entices cows into the milking parlour and makes them more productive. Why?


It’s all about the bass. Actually, it’s not. It’s about relaxing. Chilling out even. Chilled cows are more able to perform and so produce more milk. And, rather like we humans, listening to certain kinds of music relaxes them just enough to put them in the mood.

Researchers at the University of Leicester spent time playing lots of different tunes to cows to find out if it had any effect on milk production. The result? Cows exposed to relaxing music produced 3% more milk than those whose only aural stimulation came from the noise of the milking machines in a crowded shed. And while 3% might not seem like much to you or me, it’s golden for hard-working dairy farmers who strive to get every ounce of productivity from their female Friesians.

That study was back in 2001, though. And, surprisingly nothing has been done since to find out just why certain types of music have such a relaxing effect on anxious Ermintrude.

“I am not sure why there is not more research on the cow-music-milk production relationship,” Dr. Leanne Alworth, assistant director of University Research Animal Resources at the University of Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medicine helpfully explained to Modern Farmer.

Just as well, then that others have more interest. As Modern Farmer put it: “the dairy industry has been tinkering with music long before psychologists got involved”.

“In the days when there were tie stalls and stanchions, there was the discussion about how if you played music in your barn, you would increase milk production,” says Kristine Spadgenske, who milks about 250 cows on her dairy farm in Menahga, Minnesota. “At our farm you can always tell when the radio is not on because the cows are way more jumpy and less likely to come into the parlour.”

Armed with the results of the University of Leicester study, and years of anecdotal research from dairy farmers, Modern Farmer produced the perfect playlist for productive udders. Unsurprisingly, there was no room on the list for Dr Feelgood’s classic Milk and Alcohol, nor The Wonder Stuff’s Size of a Cow. Neil Young’s Farmer John was off the menu too (we could go on, we have dozens here, but you get the idea).

Top of the pops for happy Holsteins was REM’s Everybody Hurts, closely followed by Aretha Franklin’s version of What a Difference a Day Makes. Simon and Garfunkel’s epic Bridge Over Troubled Water and Danny Williams singing Moon River were next. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day was a not-quite-ideal fourth, while Celtic Woman’s cover of Enya’s Orinoco Flow was anudder (sorry) favourite.

Not all cows prefer popular music, and for those with more discerning tastes, Modern Farmer also put together a play list of classical music, which included Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in D Major.

The theory that it’s the relaxing power of music that helps cows produce more milk seems to make sense, and is backed by the University of Leicester study which found increases when the cows were exposed to Everybody Hurts and Bridge Over Troubled Water, but no change when Mousse T vs. Hot N Juicy’s Horny thudded out from the speakers. How then to explain another finding – that, according to National Public Radio in the US, “performers in Kent in England decided to see if Shakespeare would work too. They performed The Merry Wives of Windsor at a local farm. And, hark, the farm workers say the comedy upped the yield. Something to do with the milk of human kindness.”

One type of music, and one singer in particular, however, appears to be a definite turn off for our four-legged milk factories. Frannie Miller, a Texan milk farmer with a herd of 150 Jerseys, who plays Spanish language music in her milk parlour, told Modern Farmer “our cows will tolerate some country and western, but they do not like Willie Nelson.”

It comes to something when even cows are harsh critics…

Kenny Hemphill

Nashville investors buy Wedgewood-Houston building

A group led by a pair of active Nashville investors has paid $1.1 million for property in Wedgewood-Houston.

The Tennessean reports that the group, led by McClain Towery and Elliott Kyle, bought the property at 1300 Martin St., which includes a 5,780-square-foot building. According to The Tennessean, the investors will update the building, making it available to lease for retail, restaurant or office tenants.


The 0.26-acre site is at the same corner that’s home to Core Development’s big The Finery development and a Corsair Distillery location.

Eric Snyder
Managing Editor
Nashville Business Journal