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    The Cost of Cool: ​Mark Deutschmann, founder, Core Development Services

    Mark Deutschmann came to Nashville in the mid-1990s with a background in zoology and marine biology, but real estate caught his interest. He began working in Hillsboro Village, where the average home price was between $60,000 and $110,000. Today, it’s closer to $550,000.

    Deutschmann also came to Nashville with the idea that density was better.

    “It’s better for us as humans to come in and live closer together as opposed to sprawl and take up wilderness,” he said.

    That belief is evident in his development work, which stretches from 12South to East Nashville and is defined by small homes close together and projects with a mix of residential, retail and office. In Wedgewood-Houston, for example, his team is developing a complex geared toward artisans, a group who has lived and worked in the neighborhood for years.

    But creativity brings cachet, and many worry it won’t be long until urbanites with deeper pockets change the neighborhood’s demographics.

    How do you describe the current state of Nashville’s growth? Back in 1995, on 12th Avenue South, we were talking about reinhabiting the city, as what is now 12South was 70 percent vacant and apparently undesirable. … I consider it reinhabiting the neighborhood commercial districts and bringing back the owner-user as opposed to the absentee landlord.

    What’s at stake here? Nashville has now embraced its urban neighborhoods, a trend that is happening across the country. … The downtown, and all inner-ring neighborhoods, are in play. This puts pressure on pricing, which drives up land costs. Developers are currently responding to high land prices on the corridors by building 200-plus-unit apartment complexes with high rent prices. This is good, on the one hand, because urban density on the corridors is desirable. Pricing becomes higher in the contiguous neighborhoods, and families that own homes are cashing out — which is both good, as that family has created wealth, but bad, because they will now be looking elsewhere to find affordable options, which now might be suburban.


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