Edgehill Neighborhood Evolves Into Hotspot

    The Tennessean’s Sunday article about Edgehill describes how the revival of a neighborhood commercial district inspires renovation.  The CityLiving Team has sold eight homes in the neighborhood recently.

     Read below or continue to the Tennessean website.



    Edgehill neighborhood evolves into hot spot

    Neighborhood between Music Row, 12South poised to become next hot neighborhood, observers say

    <b>Robin Queen, with her dog Cash, converses with Mark Hobson and Kami Knake on Thursday outside Edgehill Cafe. Queen, 33, a Belmont nursing student, moved four years ago from Los Angeles to Edgehill. </b>

    <b>Justin Seiter works on his laptop while having lunch at Edgehill Cafe. "We kind of joke that Edgehill Cafe is the satellite office of local entrepreneurs," owner Winn Elliott said.</b>


    In many ways, Skip and Cindy Brown, both baby boomers and employed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, are as good a symbol as any of how far the Edgehill neighborhood has come.

    The couple moved to Edgehill a year ago from Brentwood for a more urban lifestyle — and to eliminate their lengthy workday commutes, which cost the family hundreds of dollars a month in gas, said Cindy Brown, a registered nurse.

    “Sometimes it would take over an hour getting home,” said Skip Brown, a hand therapist at Vanderbilt. The Browns have a daughter, Carolyn, who is a senior at Brentwood Academy.

    “We’re very pleased and enthusiastic about our new location, and now we can even walk to work if we wanted to.”

    Real estate observers say conditions are now right for Edgehill, nestled between Music Row and 12South, to become the next hot neighborhood.

    Around Edgehill Village, a commercial development, 11 homes have been sold so far this year, up slightly from last year, and an Edgehill home usually runs about $100,000 cheaper than a comparable home in the 12South neighborhood, according to Beth Hooker with Village Real Estate Services.

    Scarce parking, however, continues to boggle Edgehill Village businesses, such as Taco Mamacita, because customers are less inclined to visit if parking is limited.

    But with more young professionals and suburban couples relocating to the area, the Edgehill landscape’s changing environment is palpable.

    “You’re seeing a lot of people here doing fixer-uppers,” said broker Tim Kyne with Keller Williams real estate, who has sold spec homes in the area and plans to build more.

    “It’s a slightly lower price tier than Belmont and Hillsboro. It has historical character and great location. It’s right on the leading edge of the area’s gentrification.”

    Realtor Mark Deutschmann, who runs Village Real Estate Services, has sold seven single-family infill homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range in Edgehill. And they sold rapidly, he said.

    “The catalyst here was the commercial district, Edgehill Village, which started the trend of renovating and restoring,” Deutschmann said. “And the Edgehill community has a pretty good neighborhood group, which helps shape how it’s improved.”

    Winn Elliott, 32, took over Edgehill Cafe last year and gave the space a facelift, emphasizing an urban-chic feel, with stained stone floors, reclaimed wood wall paneling and exposed ductwork and pipes.

    Since he reopened the cafe, business has spiked around 300 percent, he said.

    “We kind of joke that Edgehill Cafe is the satellite office of local entrepreneurs,” said Elliott, president and publisher of Brite Revolution, a music-networking website whose offices are above the cafe. “This area is a great hub. You’re a five- to seven-minute shot to downtown, 100 Oaks or any place you’d need to be in town.”

    Young families are attracted to area

    Ron and Dana Grover moved to Edgehill in 2006. Since then, the couple has seen income levels diversify and more college students renting homes.

    “We’re urban professionals, so we expected the area to change when we moved here,” said Ron Grover, 43, a chemical engineer. “But we’re happy to have local restaurants and shops to go to.”

    Given that Edgehill has a reputation as a transitional neighborhood, the safety of the community was at first a concern to the Grovers. Living there for some time, though, has eased the family’s concerns.

    “The crime hasn’t really been bad for us. We haven’t seen it,” Ron Grover said.

    The area’s school district “makes the area really attractive to us,” he added on a recent sun-drenched afternoon while he and his wife walked their dog and pushed their newborn in a stroller.

    Allison Powers, the Edgehill Village property manager, said she has increasingly seen young families in the neighborhood.

    She said her colleagues sometimes call the Edgehill Village parking lot “the stroller lot,” for all the mothers unloading strollers from their cars.

    The area’s location near Belmont, Vanderbilt, Hillsboro Village and Music Row has always given the community potential, said broker Tim Kyne. But for decades, older, ramshackle housing stock held it back.

    Now, however, new arrivals to Edgehill are making fresh investments.

    Robin Queen, 33, a nursing student at Belmont, moved four years ago from Los Angeles to Edgehill, where she now lives with her parents to save money.

    She and her family have spent time improving their front yard and areas surrounding the home in hopes of stanching petty crimes.

    “We thought maybe people would treat it with more respect if the back alley looked beautiful,” Queen said. “And we’re not the only people in the community doing it.”

    Lack of parking is concern for many

    While Edgehill Village, anchored by Taco Mamacita and including a little burst of new development, continues to grow, Daynise Couch, who leads the Organized Neighbors of Edgehill, has been raising caution flags about parking availability.

    “It’s been an ongoing issue as the development has gotten bigger,” she said. “People’s driveways are being blocked, trucks are not utilizing loading zones, and traffic is getting heavier.”

    Some developers say overcoming the parking obstacles is a key to expanding the business district, which includes a clothing boutique, an artisan cupcake shop, a bubble tea shop and soon an upscale interior decorating store, according to Allison Powers, who manages the property.

    Some business owners, including David Gensheimer, saw how restricted parking could hamper businesses.

    Gensheimer relocated his Simply Balanced Pilates studio four months ago from Edgehill Village to Eighth Avenue because of parking issues.

    “The parking lot was often full, and when it wasn’t, many of my clients didn’t want to pay to take an hourlong class.”

    Janet Parham, who manages a residential property near Edgehill Village, said the growing commercial development has caused upheaval and not been a good neighbor.

    “People are constantly coming and going, coming and going; two cars can’t pass at once,” Parham said. “We’ve lost our tranquil quiet neighborhood.”

    Couch echoed Parham’s point and warned of how gentrification can yield unsettling results for longtime residents.

    “The key is making sure everyone in the community is at the decision-making table when places like Edgehill are developing,” Couch said. “It needs to be inclusive of people who aren’t necessarily rich. The neighborhood needs to be deliberate and keep its longtime residents.”

    But Deutschmann from Real Estate Services said the growth of neighboring communities, such as 12South, gives him hope.

    “You can still do pretty well in a residential area that doesn’t have parking. But eventually it could become a concern,” he said.

    Cindy Brown recounted an incident that reminded her she wasn’t in Brentwood.

    Since she has lived on Villa Place, she said, two bikes were stolen from the family’s garage after the door was unwittingly left open.

    “It’s been a little daunting to me,” she said. “But it’s the trade-off you make for a more urban and central lifestyle.”


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