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VOL. 42 | NO. 36 | Friday, September 7, 2018

20 years of history leads to $631K deal on 13th Ave. S.

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There was a time in the not so distant past when homebuyers venturing into the neighborhood to the east of 21st Avenue South were considered courageous, or perhaps insane.

These pioneers looked past the bars covering the windows and the ironclad storm doors and saw the beauty in the historic charm exuding from the often-dilapidated homes.

Even then there were teardowns, some selling for barely $30,000 and often replaced by shotgun-style, rectangular duplexes, mostly covered in red, discounted brick.

Eventually, the restoration movement reached Belmont, but let buyers beware once they crossed the Boulevard.

In the late 1990s, the Boulevard began to bloom. As the housing market surged, Belmont Boulevard burst with such force that 12South became a destination for those seeking coolness and walkability.

Once known for the after-hours misadventures at the carwash, the area seized upon the trend of traipsing from home to fun.

Walkability is a relative term inasmuch as their needs to be a place to end the walk, a restaurant or interesting shop might fit the bill. Soon home-grown eateries began to dot the neighborhood. Shopping followed, as did the buyers.

12South spilled into 10th and eventually 8th but was bounded by Wedgewood to the north and Woodmont to the south.

With all of the unbridled glory suddenly bestowed upon 12South after the giant leap for mankind from Belmont to 12South, 13South was overlooked, not even having a name bestowed upon it.

All the while, The Gulch was struggling. As early as 2000, there were renderings of a Gulch that looked remarkably similar to what is there now. The only fly in the ointment came when it took 18 years to look like it does now.

Were it not for the deep pockets of the Turner family of Dollar General Store fame, the development would have crumbled.

But even the Turner cash could not inoculate the development from the financial plague carried by the Great Recession. While Nashville was late to infection and early to recovery, the city was left weakened by its exposure to the ills of Wall Street.

During its recuperation, the Greater Nashville area, now released from the yoke of the financial disaster, began to emerge with an air of confidence. Then, on May 1, 2010, it began to rain.

It did not stop until we had about 20 inches and $2 billion in damage, depending whether a person leans more toward meteorology or finance.

Somehow, the disaster made the city stronger. The city invested in itself with the Music City Center, and private investment ensued. Suddenly, the money that was so scarce a few short years before was flowing unfettered into the city.

The housing market joined the fray, and new houses and apartments began to sprout on every corner. Having been burned by overbuilt condominiums, lenders were loathe to throw their cash at condominium developers. Consequently, those developers were forced to seek funding from other sources, and there was no shortage of investors seeking to sprinkle their dust over the city.

The Gulch rose with condominium developments such as 1212, and 12South was bursting at the seams, yet there was the suddenly low hanging fruit in the area between The Gulch and Wedgewood.

Within a matter of months, scads of homes were demolished. Residents who sold for $250,000 gave way to midrise condos selling for $600,000 to $800,000. It’s not hard to make the math work when buying six houses from $250,000 each, or $1.5 million, and building 40 condos selling for $700,000 each, or $28 million.

One of the lesser priced homes is found in the Element Gulch development on the overlooked 13 Avenue South, 814 13th Ave. South, to be exact. With 1,972 square feet, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a half bathroom, the unit is a deal at $631,500.

Grant Hammond with Metropolitan Brokers is the listing agent that coming as no surprise to those that follow new development in the downtown area.

Hammond has brought tens, if not hundreds of millions of investment dollars, into the city. He was a visionary for urban living and was there pre-Recession, pre-flood. He led the onslaught into the downtown area.

The “modern architecture melds seamlessly with spacious California contemporary interiors, a chef’s kitchen” along with the obligatory 800 square foot rooftop terrace, he states in his pitch.

Tyler Graham, the wizard of the Village, delivered the buyer. Graham heads the Village East group and is one of the most beloved brokers in the industry.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at