Developer Tees Up First Part of Wedgewood-Houston Project

    Core Development will kick off its “live-make” development in South Nashville’s emerging Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood with 71 condos.

    Core, a residential development arm of Mark Deutschmann‘s Village Real Estate Services, owns 7.3 acres in the heart of the neighborhood, and is under contract to buy two more. This year, Metro Planning Commission granted Core Development zoning that allows up to 490 residential units and 80,000 square feet of commercial space, in what will be the neighborhoods first large-scale, new, mixed-use development.

    Deutschmann, who’s worked in Nashville real estate for about 30 years, detailed the project’s first two buildings in a Dec. 8 interview.

    One is a building with 45 condos. The other will contain 26 condos. Both buildings will have street-level “mixed-use” space where restaurants and other tenants can set up shop. He said he hopes to break ground early next year.

    Deutschmann said he anticipates to price the condos starting at $140,000. The high-end prices will be in the range of $350,000, perhaps hitting $400,000. While even at the high-end that is considerably less than buying a new build condo in the downtown core or The Gulch would set you back, the figures demonstrate a neighborhood in change. Wedgewood-Houston has long been home to artists, artisans and makers seeking affordable rent on housing and studio space. That creative economy combined with the neighborhood’s proximity to interstate access and downtown has revived interest in the neighborhood, causing some to fear long-time residents may be priced out.

    Core, and several retailers who have announced plans to open in the neighborhood, worked with SNAP (South Nashville Action People), the local neighborhood group, as plans were being developed.

    “There’s certainly a lot of demand. The resale market for condos has been fantastic. And there’s not much product coming on the market,” Deutschmann said. He noted this month’s official opening of Twelve Twelve, a swanky 23-story condo tower in the Gulch by developer Ray Hensler. Those units originally were apartments, before Hensler persuaded his lenders of the demand in Nashville for condos.

    “We’d like to create a sense of ownership and place, so that we’re attracting people who want to buy in to that vision,” Deutschmann added. “If people believe in it, and see the value in being there, we are confident they’ll get the returns on their investments, too.”

    Just in recent months, the neighborhood has seen significant growth. As reported by the NBJ in September, a bistro and bar called Hemingway’s Arcade is set to open in the ground floor of Houston Station, a 100,000-square-foot building offering retail space and an event venue. The building has room for a second restaurant on the ground-floor, and is opening 25,000 square feet of retail and office space on the second floor.

    Corsair Distillery will expand operations into a new building in the neighborhood and nearby, Nashville Craft Distillery is opening. The local dining scene is growing as well, with a pub and a bakery opening, and perhaps even an oyster bar.

    So far, Core Development has paid $3.5 million to purchase 7.3 acres, anchored at the corner of Merritt and Martin avenues. One of the first two buildings will be located at the northwest corner of that intersection; the other will be at the northeast corner.

    In addition to those 7.3 acres, Deutschmann said his company has one adjoining acre under contract for $785,000. He said he expects to close on that pending purchase next month, pushing his total land investment to about $4.3 million.

    Also, Deutschmann said he is under contract to but another acre, for about the same purchase price. That acre is very close, but not touching, the property Core Development already owns, Deutschmann said.

    Involved in the project are architect Smith Gee Studio, land planner Hawkins Partners and engineering company Civil Site Design. Renderings of the first two buildings are not yet available, Deutschmann said.

    A few banks have routinely provided financing for Deutschmann’s projects, such as Avenue Bank and First Farmers & Merchants Bank. Deutschmann said construction financing is not yet lined up for this particular project.

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