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VOL. 42 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 16, 2018

Getting more creative with high-end East Nashville development

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Two of the city’s most successful and active real estate markets – Sylvan Park and East Nashville – were hit hardest when the tornado of 1998 ripped through the city.

In identifying Sylvan Park growth during that period, many in the real estate community noted that more songwriters and creative people were migrating into the area.

However, it was not until 2000, when Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson released their book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World, that cultural creatives came to be identified as a group.

Ray and Anderson developed a questionnaire that could identify individuals for inclusion in that group. Many of the ideals shared by the culturally creative relate to concern about the environment and poverty and a willingness to work to create a more sustainable planet.

Additionally, the cultural creatives are unhappy with the left and the right end of the political spectrum and are desirous of equality for women and men in business life and politics.

Many in real estate felt this group held the keys to the future in residential real estate. Mark Deutschmann, a CC himself, often referred to the cultural creatives as he founded Village Real Estate Services and opened an office in East Nashville and supported Andy Allen and Karen Hoff as crusaders into the area that Cindy Evans had discovered long before.

Then, in 1998, the tornado devastated the area. Hundreds of roofs were ripped from the rafters and vegetation lay dying in streets and yards. The leafy, sturdy canopy that had sheltered the area for a century fell helplessly upon porches and fences and cars. The swath ravaged by the winds was enormous and seemed to have sucked the life from the neighborhood.

As was the case in the aftermath of the flood that flowed into the city in 2010, the Sylvan Park and Eastside neighbors banded together with volunteers from all over Nashville to remove the carnage and rebuild the neighborhoods. Both areas have continued to flourish since the tornado.

Last week, an East Nashville home – 1711 Sevier Street – broke the $1 million mark when it sold for $1.1 million with only 57 days on the market. The listing agent was Britnie Turner, whose real estate license is with Cloud, LLC. But that’s is a relatively small piece of the Turner puzzle.

Turner also is the founder of Aerial Development, a company she started in 2008 just as she turned 20 years of age. Originally, Turner started the company to fund orphanages, but the mission has expanded as the company evolved.

Although, she was in elementary school when the cultural creative book was written, Turner is the poster child for the personality described in the tome. She is one of the 50 million people changing the world, perhaps in the top 5 percent of those.

Aerial’s Facebook page describes it as a “for-profit company dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods and tackling social issues through the power of the built environment.”

One of the principles the authors developed in their work is that the cultural creatives have a love of nature and a deep caring about its natural balance. In developing neighborhoods, Aerial always identifies the large rocks in the area and repurposes them into the landscape. In its East Greenway Park, it turned the boulders into comfortable seating.

“I love the boulders and the way they recall the origins of the site,” renowned local landscape architect Kim Hawkins commented.

Another trait of the cultural creatives is that they are involved in creating a new and better way of life. Coincidentally, Aerial’s East Greenway Park is Nashville’s first health and wellness community.

Turner’s group retreats to the “fort” within their office, which she describes as the “idea chamber,” when it begins conceptualizing a project. In the East Greenway Park preliminary meeting, they sought to determine how this development could help the most people within the Nashville community.

They Googled issues facing the area and learned that Tennessee ranks fourth in the United States in obesity per capita, with data revealing one in five people in the state are obese. To assist in combatting this epidemic, Aerial developed a huge park, provided an outdoor gym and gives each buyer a new bicycle during closing.

In addition to the sustainability aspect and the determination to enhance the lives of the neighborhood dwellers, their construction product is popular among today’s buyers. The Sevier Street house overlooks the Greenway Park and includes 3,579 square feet with four bedrooms, four full baths, two fireplaces and a storm shelter.

Selling for $307 per square foot, there are wraparound porches and 2,200 more square feet of outdoor area, including a hot tub, kitchen and pit on the rooftop. The home features a three-car garage, and the roof has a “sweeping view of downtown Nashville, the Cumberland River and the Shelby Golf Course.”

As sales in the Greater Nashville area are starting to lag, Turner says that’s not the case with her developments, and she is selling an average of one home per week, all in the $800,000 to $1.8 million range.

Other than the Aerial development, there has only been one other sale this year in all of East Nashville for more than $1 million, and it included more than 10 acres. There were two in 2017, and one of those was on Russell Street and had three lots involved in the transaction.

As the Andersons wrote 18 years ago, those in the cultural creative group, at that point some 50 million strong, will pay more for products that assist in sustaining their bodies and their planet.

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

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