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VOL. 40 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 2, 2016

‘Tall skinnies’ knocked down to size by Metro

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One negative aspect of invasion of the tall skinnies is that they are tall. The skinny feature is of little concern to neighbors, but the tallness can be intimidating like a man using a bathroom stall between Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Manute Bol.

These two-storied structures now often feature rooftop outdoor recreational areas complete with refrigerators and grills, thereby providing the perfect setting for parties overlooking all houses great and small in the area.

The runts of the neighborhood construction litter are destined to spend all their days being looked down upon by these giants looming about.

Consequently, the houses next to the taller models are more difficult to sell, even if they have two stories of their own, as the backyards are devoid of privacy. In many cases, landscaping can provide privacy, but the shrubs would need to reach 20 to 30 feet in height to be able to buffer the small fries from higher-rising gapers.

The only way to combat a tall skinny is with a taller skinnier, and they are on the way.

Some of the new designs feature first floor garages and flex rooms bearing the load of a living area, topped by a bedroom level and those holding the rooftop lounges above them.

Some of these inhabitants are going to wear out three sets of kneecaps climbing up and down those staircases, to borrow a phrase from the late Richard Pryor.

In response to cries from their constituencies, Metro Council is attempting to curb some development of specific lots around town.

Those buying houses in hopes of demolishing them and replacing the single structures with two houses, connected or not, should add a few extra due diligence days to the process. Some developers are acquiring property only to learn that there has been a rezoning between acquisition and the application for the building permit.

There is one example of a property that was bought for $600,000 with hopes of constructing two dwellings on the land. Not only was the property zoned for the two dwellings, the planning department approved of the developers plans and delivered the proposal to the planning commission with recommendation for passage.

The planning commission rejected the proposal.

The developer’s plans were consistent with most of the houses in the neighborhood, including the two adjacent lots and the lot adjacent to the adjacent lot. Yet the planning commission cited a third lot that was significantly farther from the road than most in the area and the three to its left.

Not only could the developer not build what he had hoped and had been approved by the planning department, he could build nothing with the new restriction.

Actually, he could build something like a 20-by-15-foot house based on the setbacks and sidelines, but a house that small is prohibited by the restrictions and covenants of the subdivision.

There are some variance signs posted now, so hopefully he can recoup some of his $600,000.

So, if you’re a builder, you better watch out and you better not pout when buying properties. Metro has its list of rules and is checking it twice.

Sale of the Week

Lillian Street in East Nashville is one of the magnificent, originally cool streets in East Nashville, and new listings there always fell into the multiple-offer scenario when listed.

Last week, 1315 Lillian sold for $475,000 after 157 days on the market. Originally listed for $524,900, the listing price was reduced to $484,900 before finally selling for $475,000.

Coming down $49,900 from a $524,900 sales price is significant, but subjective. Obviously, the list price was too high for this new construction.

But even at the reduced price of $475,000, the property is selling for $230 per square foot, a hefty sum by Lillian standards.

The 2,060-square-foot house includes three bedrooms, three full baths and one half bath.

Listed by Chris Harwell of Tarkington and Harwell Company, the house was brilliantly appointed with everything today’s shoppers demand with the new kitchen and snazzy master bedroom although this master was located on the second floor.

Fran Patton, the former music biz big shot turned over-the-top-producing Realtor, delivered the buyer for the umpteenth time in her storied real estate career.

Patton is with Pareto Realty, the cutting-edge techno-realty pop firm run by Barry Owen, the king of innovation.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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