Originally published September 9, 2015 in the Nashville Business Journal

New millionaires buying Gulch site, touting redevelopment prospects

SVN Headshot 2015

“Nashville is turning people into multimillionaires. We are helping them figure out what to do with their gains.” said SVN Jr., who is a senior adviser with the real estate brokerage firm SVN.

Some of Nashville’s newest multimillionaires are under contract to buy land in Nashville’s Gulch, and they’re aiming to spur the site’s redevelopment.

These particular investors have that kind of cash on hand because they are capitalizing on Nashville’s booming real estate market — able to sell other property they owned, at a time when the city’s property values are surging and developer interest is spiking.

The property in question at 600 Ninth Ave. S., is in the Gulch, which has borne out to be the city’s highest-profile example of its resurgent urban core. That means there are fewer and fewer redevelopment sites that aren’t already spoken for. This site on Ninth Avenue South is just a few blocks from the epicenter of the Gulch, near restaurants such as Flyte, Peg Leg Porker and Arnold’s Country Kitchen, as well as the Yazoo and Jackalope breweries.

The investment group was assembled by SVN Jr. and SVN, senior advisers with the real estate brokerage firm SVN.

“Nashville is turning people into multimillionaires. We are helping them figure out what to do with their gains,” Creed told me.

Broadly, their target is urban U.S. real estate. The group, whose members Creed declined to identify, is focused on Nashville — and eager to buy more sites here, Creed said. Last month, some of the same investors paid $1.1 million for a parking lot in downtown Cincinnati, along the route of that city’s planned streetcar line.

Creed depicts the Gulch site, covering 0.4 acres, as “the last remaining untouched portion of the Gulch.” Music City Center is less than a half-mile away.

Creed declined to disclose the purchase price. Closing may not occur until early 2016. The sellers are Robert and Dianne Ries, according to Metro records.

Whatever happens to the site may hinge on the neighboring site, which local developer Tim Reynolds is under contract to buy. You may recall Reynolds from a recent $4.4 million Midtown purchase and also the firestorm he ignited last year when he proposed tearing down RCA Studio A on Music Row to build condos (he later flipped that property to a group of preservationists).

Creed said he’s talking about combining Reynolds’ site with the land his investor group has under contract. If that happened, it would give a developer the entire block between Division and Gleaves streets, between the site Creed’s investors have under contract and the land Reynolds has under contract, which according to Metro records is 1.38 acres.

Creed contends that would make for a better final product, giving that developer more room to work with. The property already is zoned “downtown code,” which allows for a wide range of residential and commercial uses — buildings that could reach eight to 10 stories, or more.

“There’s a super-cool vibe to this area today, right around all these great restaurants and breweries,” Creed said. “(Something that is) 0.4 acres, that isn’t a development site. But with the neighboring site in play, that’s absolutely a development site.”

Reynolds, reached by phone, said he expects to close on his land purchase by the end of this year. After that, Reynolds said he most likely will flip the site to another developer.

“The only thing I can say is that I’ve had a lot of interest from multiple developers,” Reynolds said. “I am familiar with David’s site. I don’t know any details, and I won’t let that weigh on my decision.”

Creed is pursuing development options, but also said his investor group could lease the small building on-site today. There are tenants there today; Creed declined to comment on their status.

Creed said he would be most interested in restaurants or music-related businesses.

“We’ll decide very shortly what direction we’re going to take,” Creed said.