Jimmy Franks Sells Franklin Mansion to Kenny Chesney

franklin tennessee mansions

I realize that the sale of the mansion known as Bella Luce (Italian translation is ‘beautiful light’) is old news, but I need to congratulate the builder who spec built this world class Tuscan estate, Jimmy Franks. Most of you know Jimmy Franks as the co-founder of Tennessee Valley Homes, but most do not know that he spec builds such massive works of art…and risky works of art at that. Jimmy’s custom home building business is Old South Construction, separate from Tennessee Valley Homes.

Kenny Chesney Buys Bella Luce for $9.2 Million

A month ago, the local press confirmed that country music mega-star Kenny Chesney purchased the 11,1143 square foot 30 acre Tuscan mansion for $9.2 million. They also confirmed that Mr. Chesney purchased an adjoining 7 acres for $755,000. The home itself features 5 bedroom suites, 7 full bathroom, 2 half bedrooms and 6 car garage. The home had been under construction for several years and is located at the very back of the Legends Ridge subdivision in Franklin, TN.

Belle Luce is not Just Another Franklin Mansion

Several times during construction I had the privilege of walking through Bella Luce with Jimmy Franks and it was clear after just the first few steps that this home was not only spectacular, but also utterly unique. Details like mining limestone and engaging stone masons for months on end to create the custom stone work seen throughout the home and utilizing hundred year old forested trees for interior beams make this home worthy of architectural digest. Actually, that’s just the beginning.

This Santa Fe clay barrel tile-roofed Tuscan style villa was designed by notable architect Brad Norris and was constructed with 150-year old brick, reclaimed walnut wood floors, Mesquite hand-carved doors, hand-crafted iron light fixtures, hand-painted tiles, labor intensive Venetian plaster walls, and a Crestron full home automation system.

The main rooms of Bella Luce include a castle sized living/dining room combination with wood floors, a soaring ceiling with exposed Douglas Fir wood beams and trusses, two massive custom chandeliers, a glass wall of windows and French doors that open to the pool terrace and two 25-foot high limestone fireplaces bookending each side of the room. Other main rooms include a den, billiard room, exercise room, and an immense kitchen with double glazed cabinetry with three dishwashers.

Some of the additional uber-celebrity style amenities include: a gated driveway nearly a mile long, a hydraulic elevator that services all 4 floors, three of the most expensive spiral staircases in Tennessee, a home theater with stadium seating, a sewing/gift wrapping room, a lookout tower with phenomenal 360 degree views, an infinity edged salt water swimming pool and spa, over 3,000 square feet of covered terraces and walkways, several outdoor entertaining areas, an outdoor catering kitchen, private pond and dock, a 6-car garage equipped with heat and air-conditioning and, a helipad, which is just hella-cool.

Congratulations Jimmy Franks

In closing, I’ve done business with Jimmy for close to 5 years now and I want to offer him more than a congratulations on the sale. I could care less if Kenny Chesney bought the house or Bernie Madoff did, it makes no difference. My congratulations is on the vision, execution and fortitude it takes to not just build an estate, but to erect a piece of architecture that has the significance to be relevant decades from now. Anyone can build a giant house in Brentwood, you see them all over Princeton Hills and Governors Club, but it takes a true craftsman to build Bella Luce. Congratulations Jimmy, well done Sir.

[Pictures removed at owners request]

20 Most Miserable Cities in the US for 2010

cleveland is most miserable city in USThis year Cleveland takes the top ranking of America’s Most Miserable Cities after being ranked 4th in 2009. Cleveland secured the position thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams. Stockton, CA topped the list in 2009.

Forbes expanded the list of cities under consideration this year to include the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas (in years past Forbes examined 150 cities with populations exceeding 378,000), which led to a shuffling in the ranks. Any area with a population of more than 245,000 was eligible.

Memphis actually improved to the third most miserable city in the United States after being ranked second in 2009. I wish that I could say that is good news, but somehow still being on this list takes the positive spin right off the compliment.

1. Cleveland, Ohio
2. Stockton, California
3. Memphis, Tennessee
4. Detroit, Michigan
5. Flint, Michigan
6. Miami, Florida
7. St. Louis, Missouri
8. Buffalo, New York
9. Canton, Ohio
10. Chicago, Illinois
11. Modesto, California
12. Akron, Ohio
13. Kansas City, Missouri
14. Rockford, Illinois
15. Toledo, Ohio
16. New York, New York
17. Sacramento, California
18. Youngstown, Ohio
19. Gary, Indiana
20. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Read the entire Forbes list of America’s most miserable cities.

What’s Wrong with Hampton Reserve in Brentwood?

brentwood real estateI’m not sure that anything is wrong with Hampton Reserve, but there is certainly something wrong with the high end housing market in Brentwood…BUT, that’s only if you are a seller. If you are a buyer who has always wanted a McMansion in a gated neighborhood, break out the drool bib because your day has cometh. Currently, of the 16 houses for sale in Hampton Reserve, 5 are on the distressed market as foreclosures (2) or short sales (3) and that ratio is becoming more prevalent in the newer luxury neighborhoods in Brentwood. The previous statement may be shocking to those of you who are still under the 37027 fairytale spell, but the outside world is finally creeping into this idyllic world and is having a profound effect on Brentwood homes.

There are currently more than 36 distressed sales in Brentwood and these are not tear down handyman specials. These are homes that reach well over $2 million in neighborhoods like McGavock Farms, Governors Club, Heathrow Hills and Hampton Reserve, but there are also some incredible homes in the more traditional price ranges in neighborhoods like Princeton Hills, Crockett Springs and Brookfield. That’s all good and well as most of these 36 homes are known to buyers in the MLS, but what about the 12 homes that are also distressed sales, but not listed properly or at all in the MLS? These are homes that are quietly being fished by several local banks who are hoping to quietly disburse prior to having to suffer a public sale. Several of these homes are not deals…they are steals and some of my clients should go to real estate jail for buying so low. This practice has been common in the Nashville real estate market for the better part of 2 years and is becoming more widespread in Brentwood.

There are several items to keep in mind when buying distressed Brentwood home. If the house is a bank owned foreclosure, you can forget having in contingencies in your offer. You lose the opportunity to tie the home up while you inspect, appraise, comb through the HOA docs and line up your financing. Instead, your offer will only be considered if you can show proof of funds (either cash or an approved loan already in place) and a closing date within the next 30 days. You need to do all of your due diligence up front and your Realtor better know the steps, potential pitfalls and place where you can be exposed to potential harm.

Brentwood short sales are a little safer in terms of allowing inspections and other financial contingencies, but they are also typically a much longer process, especially if the seller does not have their short sale approved by their lender. Typically, most sellers do not have their short sale approved and that can cause a 60-90 delay in closing. Again, this is where an experienced agent will make all the difference in the world in guiding the purchase towards a swift and favorable result. That result usually being one of the lowest prices in Brentwood.

The Newest Short Sale in Brentwood

How much would you have paid for a custom 10,167 square foot, 5 bedroom, 6 full bath, 3 half bath home with a gourmet kitchen, movie theatre and elevator 2 years ago? You would have paid between $1.7 to $1.8 million. Take into account that this mansion was built by Dan and Adam Stern and some may have paid a premium. Today, let the bidding begin at $1.39 million. The home is a Mediterranean style home located at 9557 Sanctuary Place in Hampton Reserve and was just listed for sale by my fiend Chris Fuller with Bob Parks Realty.

A Few Favorite Nashville Foreclosures & Short Sales

For those of you who missed out on the incredible 1 bedroom condo foreclosure in the Encore (the first ever) or the record setting one in the Enclave (all time record), I thought that I might share a couple of my current favorites:

icon in the gulch short saleShort sale in the – this is one of the very first distressed sales in the Icon and it’s priced fairly well. The condo is #1004 and is a Horizon floor plan on the back side of the tower. The condo itself is 867 square feet and is currently listed for $248,000 compared to the $299,700 paid on 8/27/2008. This property is represented by Mark Storolis with French Christianson Patterson.

encore condos nashvilleShort sale in the Encore – this is the 3rd such distressed sale in the Encore and it’s priced to sell. The condo is #1514 and is the largest non-penthouse 2 bedroom floor plan in the building at 1,184 square feet. The condo is priced at $315,000, but only includes one parking space which may become its Achilles heel. This condo was originally purchased for $406,200 on 4/17/08, and is now a bank approved short sale. I would say that this Encore deal is a much safer deal that the Icon deal since the Encore in now 85% sold out. This property is represented by one of the Encore’s old onsite agents who is now with Keller Williams, Ashley Dugger.

Nashville Foreclosure and Short Sale Note

There are quite a few foreclosures and some short sales available in the Bristol West End located at 3000 Vanderbilt Place. I have been told by 2 separate lenders that this building is not currently financeable due to the number of rental condos in the building. So unless you are a cash buyer with a long term hold philosophy, these may not be for you. Of course, lenders have been known to change their minds quite frequently, especially once conventional financing rates become more competitive with FHA rates. This Nashville real estate game is getting a little more complicated, but a whole lot more profitable if you know what you are doing.

John Rich Buys Seanachie Irish Pub in Nashville

seanachie irish pub nashvilleCountry music superstar John Rich and business partner Phil Martin, have purchased the Seanachie Irish Pub building in downtown Nashville. The building, located at 329 Broadway is pending renovations as the group is currently in the process of acquiring building permits, submitting plans and the like. While I have not been able to confirm the purchase price, I was told that the number was in the neighborhood of $2 million. There is no word on when the 16,083 square foot building may be complete or what the bar will be called, but one thing is for sure, John Rich won’t get kicked out of this bar!

According to sources, Phil Martin is a developer who has had quite a bit of development success in Alabama and Florida. He’s also described as a very tall and outgoing fella who always wears a black cowboy hat. I was also told that if you ever get the chance to meet him, you’ll always remember him. That’s quite a description.

John Rich and Jimmy Buffet in Nashville?

john rich downtown nashville bar ownerThe news of a downtown John Rich owned bar comes right on the heels of the rumor that Jimmy Buffett is planning on opening a Margaritaville in the old Planet Hollywood building which is now called the Global Café. The potential Margaritaville just so happens to be located directly across the street from John Rich’s project giving the corner of Broadway and 4th Avenue quite a celebrity flavor. Recently, the Margaritaville rumor has been semi-confirmed as a job posting for a Nashville area manager was briefly posted on the Margaritaville website.

So what does all of this have to do with downtown Nashville condos and houses in Green Hills? More than you would think. Retail users follow rooftops and not just vacant rooftops either. It appears that along with the new Music City Center and potential Medial Trade Center, quite a few infill users may be on the horizon, making downtown Nashville a more livable and desirable place to live. This is turn, pushes up real estate values and attracts more potential buyers and renters. Granted, the true value increases are down the road, but at least you can now clearly see the road and it so happens to include an express lane. Everyone will tell you that I am not that bullish on most Nashville real estate, but there are several distressed and non-distressed deals you should be looking at in order to take advantage of the momentum that John Rich and Jimmy Buffett are creating for the city.

My Favorite Banned and Aired 2010 Super Bowl Ads

While you can plainly see why this first ad was banned, It’s still super funny and sadly relevant. I have at least 3 friends who still say “it’s in the hole” right when they strike a 90 foot, double breaking, downhill put on a concrete green…(Warning, not suitable for the kiddos)

Favorite 2010 Super Bowl Ad that Aired

This commercial aired in the second quarter of the Super Bowl, I am still not sure why I find this one so funny. I guess it’s the facial expressions and sincerity:

Google Super Bowl Ad Spoof

Clearly this is in bad taste, but the production quality was so high that I had to put this out there to show you how creative people can be:

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