St. Martin Square Condos at Seven Springs in Brentwood

community nightSo what if the downtown Nashville scene isn’t your cup of tea? You like the luxury condo product, but not the traffic and noise that urban living inevitably brings. There is an interesting alternative in St. Martin Square at Seven Springs in Brentwood that just might be right for you.

St. Martin Square is a luxury resort style, gated residential community with a prominent Nashville address in the quiet and convenient neighborhood of Brentwood, TN. The condo project itself is made up of two 4-story buildings consisting of 36 units each for a total of only 72. Styled in the old world architectural design that evokes feelings of rich history of times past, the condominium homes at St. Martin Square boast surprisingly nice amenities, views of meticulously manicured gardens, lap pool, spa, and courtyard fountains.

According to the developers, “St. Martin Square is designed for residents with a unique lifestyle who crave something out of the ordinary”. Its easy location in the Seven Springs Development is just seconds from the new Target Shopping Center and the massive Maryland Farms office/retail park. St. Martin Square is ideal for those desiring a city lifestyle. Yet, a perfect balance is struck between the excitement of a hip urban environment and the tranquility of a suburban setting with nearby proximity to Cool Springs, Downtown Nashville and Radnor State Park.

The condos themselves are quite large and many feature private covered terraces, hardwood floors, ceramic tile floors in all baths, granite counters, spacious owner suites and 1 car garages. As with other developments, the small things are not overlooked. Ceiling fans are installed, wireless internet is available and many items considered design upgrades are standard in your condo.

The community features elevators and trash chutes on each floor, security cameras and gate system for privacy, a gym and cardio studio, New Orleans style fountains and hanging gardens.

St. Martin Square offers 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans that range in size from 1,200-1,600 square feet. The 2 bedroom condos begin in the mid $200,000’s, and there is 1 penthouse condo remaining with a premium Brentwood view. It so happens that one of my good friends is the listing agent for the project, thus, you will get preferential treatment and pricing. In fact, you will get better pricing than if you were to make an offer as an unrepresented buyer!

FountainMore than 30 condos have been sold and closed. The average sales price has been $339,567 and the average sales price per foot is $232.90. Currently, 9 properties are listed for sale, 2 have contracts and another 2 are listed as pending.

Having additional questions? Feel free to email me or call anytime 615-945-7123. I’ll be able to tell you where the bottom dollar is and when you should spend it.

Encore Condos Offer Close Out Prices

The 332 unit Encore condo building in downtown Nashville is nearly sold out. The owners, Giarratana Development and the Novare Group, have sold nearly 80% of the building and are now in what appears to be the close out phase.

Here is the current incentives package for 2 bedroom condos in the Encore:

• Prices that now begin at $290,000
• Hardwood flooring in the living and kitchen areas
• All appliances now included (fridge, micro, range, oven, dishwash and w/d)
• Up to $4,000 in closing costs
• 1 year of HOA fees
• $1,500 California Closets credit

Obviously, these incentives are only valid for new purchases only, but the real story here is that 2 bedroom condos now start as low as $290,000 and not the previous $315,000. If you compare this with other project in Nashville like the Icon in the Gulch or the Rhythm, you’ll find these prices to be extremely attractive.

There are several premium view 2 bedroom condos remaining in the Encore, including high floors and river views. If you are considering a condo purchase in downtown Nashville, you shouldn’t forget about the Encore, it just may have the best pricing in town in the brand new high-rise product.

September Nashville Condo Sales Analysis

I was grabbing a quick bite to eat earlier today at a trendy little restaurant in the Gulch when I overhead the following conversation between two seemingly educated 30-something professionals:

Guy #1: “Wow, this area of town is really pretty cool. I mean, it has some really tasty restaurants and stuff, but these condos are just dying. I hear that the Icon is only 10% full. God, I’d hate to own one of these *expletive * condos!” – laughter and takes another lunch time sip of beer.

Guy #2: “Seriously. I mean, I would live here, but not if I’m going to be the only one [sips a martini looking drink]. Dude, I was at this pool party like 3 weeks ago and it was chop full of hot chicks. It was sick!”

Guy #1: “Yeah man, I have a friend who rents down here and she is a total hottie too…I wonder how many hot chicks live here anyway?”

Guy #2: “Tons. We need to come down here more often. I wonder who these idiots are who are buying these condos?”

Guy #1: “Who knows? Probably no one right now [giggles a little]. I dunno though, I’m thinking that I’ll look into buying one in 2 years or so when the market hits bottom.”

Guy #2: “Yeah, they should be dirt cheap then. There will be millions of these things on the market. I’ll totally go in with you on one dude.” – turns up the glass and finishes drink with satisfied look.

Okay, now I know that the above conversation sounds like a conversation between two half wits, but the honest truth is that I have heard some version of this exact same conversation about a dozen times from very educated folks. It appears to me that everyone in town holds a strong opinion on the downtown condo market, but few seem to have done very much, if any, research. BTW – the Icon is just over 41% closed out as of today, not 10% and they raised prices on downtown facing condos this week.

Here is the year over year condo sales analysis for Nashville:

Condo Inventory Analysis

You’ll notice that in June of 2008, there was a spike in the number of closings that can be partially attributed to the grand opening of the Icon in the Gulch and seasonality. Clearly, the trend lines are narrowing and it will be extremely interesting to see if the remainder of 2009 can exceed that of the previous year. I am not ready to claim a full recovery, but I am ready to say that the market is showing very positive growth signs.

The Icon recently raised prices on all of their downtown facing condos and the Encore has notched another 20 closings during the summer months. It is clear to me that the super steal prices for the premium facing condos in the Icon have most likely come and gone. Now, it’s all about negotiating the non-premium facing condos in certain buildings.

Nashville Home Loan Rates Closer to 5 Percent

Mortgage Rates 9-23-09Nashville home-loan rates remained near three-month lows this week and dipped even closer to the 5 percent threshold, Freddie Mac reported in its survey this past week. According to the firm, average interest on 30-year fixed loans fell to 5.04 percent from 5.07 percent a week earlier; while 15-year mortgages averaged 4.47 percent, down from 4.5 percent the prior week. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages held steady at 4.51 percent, while one-year ARMs dropped to 4.58 percent from 4.64 percent. Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft believes the pattern of decline could lead the survey to a record annual low for 2009.

Rates cannot remain this low for much longer as inflationary pressures begin to mount in the financial markets. Many economists are eager to point out that mortgage rates have been held artificially low by the current administration and that rates cannot remain this low for very much longer.

This is the first time in history that the United States has come out of a recession with interest rates at these levels. The combination of falling real estate prices and very low interest rates should help burn off much of the inventory and certainly, all of the superlative deals.

Rolling Mill Hill Foreclosure Auction

Rolling Mill HillRolling Mill Hill’s three condo buildings will be sold to the highest bidder at foreclosure auction at 10 a.m. Sept 24, 2009. The auction will be held on the Metro Nashville courthouse steps located at 1 Public Square in downtown.

The development had been a centerpiece of MDHA’s redevelopment of the old Metro General Hospital site. The agency sold the land to private developers (Direct Development), but once the 72 condos were completed earlier this year buyers wouldn’t or couldn’t close on contracts as the economy soured. None of the units closed, although, a handful of buyers were ready.

This summer, the lenders, a group led by Bank of America and Associated Bank in Green Bay, Wisconsin, turned the project over to a receiver when developer RMH Development of Wisconsin defaulted on the loan.

The foreclosure sale will likely give buyers the chance to scoop up the property at a rather large discount. The lenders have given notice they will start the bidding process with their own offer of $6.75 million for the property. It has been reported that RMH Development probably owes creditors “$20 million or more.” Of that, RMH owes Bank of America more than $10 million.

It had been rumored that the court appointed receiver for the development, John Cheadle, had found buyers for the project more than a month ago. I am left to assume that this is still true and that the public auction may be a simple act of futility for the bank’s benefit. I sincerely doubt that any new buyers will appear on the 24th as many would-be-buyers were literally stymied from viewing the project by the receiver.

A reputable local developer who wishes to remain anonymous remarked that, “this smells like a closed door, good ole boys deal that is already done.” When I ask him why he felt this way, he simply replied, “was your potential buyer able to gain access?” To which I had to reply, ‘no’ (and it was not for a lack of funds or trying). In fact, my client also attempted to contact the receiver directly himself and has a letter from his private wealth advisor showing more than enough to buy this project 10 times over.

Regardless, I hope that the new purchaser/developer continues on with the original master plan and turns Rolling Mill Hill into the destination development that Sobro needs.

Update 9/24/09: SOLD at auction

Bank of America has successfully purchased back for $7,286,500. Now that the liens have been cleared, I wonder what the plan might be…

Velocity in the Gulch Condo Sales Update

It has been tough sledding for the 265 unit Velocity in the Gulch condo project located next door to the Icon. For a project whose presales numbered in the hundreds, having 9 total closings (3.4%) in the first 3 months since opening does not seem impressive. Even less impressive is the over $325 a foot price point for what amounts to an urban apartment dwelling.


More confusing is the fact that recent sales in the luxury Icon high-rise are averaging around $300/foot. Is the Velocity actually a loss leader for the Icon?? Actually, that could be true (and smart) since the Icon’s construction loan is much older, for a much larger amount and due sooner.

So what has happened to the over 100 pre-construction contracts? They are waiting for the developer to bring prices down, much like what they did in the Icon over the past 6 months. Since the Bristol Group lowered prices in the Icon 4.5 months ago, they have closed an astonishing 42 condos; one is left to believe that this same plan would behoove the Velocity as well.

The Gulch district is 1 of only 4 LEED certified neighborhoods in the world and is fast becoming a radiant and much desired part of Nashville. More retail stores have opened in the Gulch district in the past 12 months than all of the central business district + midtown district combined.

Regardless of what the master plan is or is not, here are the closed sales in the Velocity:

Date Name Unit Price
6/17/2009 Nashville Urban Ventures, LLC 247 $190,400.00
7/14/2009 P. Copeland 112 $203,950.00
8/3/2009 J. Williams 337 $137,500.00
8/4/2009 D. Lee 301 $144,000.00
8/5/2009 B. Frazier 108 $208,400.00
8/18/2009 M. Abdallah 327 $273,700.00
8/31/2009 J. Osborne 103 $134,900.00
9/1/2009 J. Johnson III 428 $231,900.00
9/8/2009 R. Canos 114 $309,900.00
  Average Price Paid   $203,850.00


See all condos for sale in the Velocity in the Gulch

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