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VOL. 43 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 19, 2019

The amenities of downtown in laid-back Nolensville

By Bill Lewis

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Nathalie Burack, right, and roommate Eleni Souronis play with their dogs, Sunday and Myrtle, in the Burkitt Commons dog park in Nolensville.

-- Photographs By Michelle Morrow |The Ledger

When she’s in the mood for a casual meal, Nathalie Burack can step out the door of her new townhome and stroll down the street for a gourmet hamburger. A shop selling spirits, wine and craft beer is opening nearby, along with a popular Mexican restaurant and a nail bar.

Burack lives in the kind of walkable urban setting that any millennial would recognize. But her townhome isn’t in Wedgewood-Houston, the Nations, Hillsboro Village or any other trendy neighborhood in the heart of Nashville.

It’s in suburban Nolensville, a little town that straddles the line between Davidson and Williamson counties.

Burack’s townhome is in the new Burkitt Commons neighborhood, one of the Nashville’s region’s new “surban” developments. As the name implies, the developments combine elements of the suburbs and urban living. Like the suburbs, they promise safe, quiet neighborhoods but with urban conveniences like shopping and dining within walking distance of apartments, condominiums and single-family homes.

“The shops are one of the big benefits” of living in Burkitt Commons, Burack says. So is the dog park where she lets her two large dogs romp.

Surban examples include Petra Commons, a townhome and single-family home neighborhood developed by Regent Homes in Spring Hill, Berry Farms in south Franklin, which mixes office, commercial and residential spaces, and Westhaven on Franklin’s west side, where homeowners walk, bike or ride golf carts to restaurants and shops in the town center.

The new Stephens Valley neighborhood off the Natchez Trace Parkway in west Williamson County and Pleasant View Village, a surban outpost in rural Cheatham County, are examples of surban developments.

The term “surban” was coined by real estate consultants John Burns and Chris Porter, who wrote the book “Big Shifts Ahead.” They defined surban as “a suburban area that has the feel of urban, with walkability to great retail from a house or apartment.”

The blending of urban and suburban lifestyles is a growing phenomenon in the Nashville region, explains David McGowan, president of Regent Homes.

The company developed Burkitt Commons and the Burkitt Springs and Burkitt Village neighborhoods next door. This spring it began work on the new Burkitt Ridge community. All four neighborhoods are located off Nolensville Road at Burkitt Road. The subdivisions are inside Davidson County, just barely, but have a Nolensville address and are designed with the standards of that Williamson County town in mind.

Burkitt Commons townhomes in Nolensville

-- Photographs By Michelle Morrow |The Ledger

Burkitt Commons has 35,000 square feet of space for restaurants, shops and services like a dentist, a chiropractor or a nail salon. Butkitt Ridge will offer similar conveniences. Like Lenox Village, a surban neighborhood developed by Regent Homes several years ago, it will mix townhomes, condos and single-family homes with boutiques, services, coffee shops and restaurants.

“Burkitt Ridge will be a walkable neighborhood where residents can shop, live and be entertained without ever getting into their cars,” McGowan adds.

Burkitt Ridge and Burkitt Commons will feature another element of urban living. Some homes will have commercial space for a shop of office on the first floor and living quarters above. Berry Farms and Westhaven have live-work residences, and Stephens Valley has space reserved for them.

“Someone can have a shop and live above it,” just as in old-fashioned communities, McGowan adds.

Burkitt Ridge will have 800 homes. Prices are expected to be in the mid $200,000s to the high $300,000s. The community will include independent-living condos with elevators in the building that should be attractive to older buyers, McGowan says.

Burkitt Ridge, like Burkitt Commons, is expected to be especially appealing to millennial homebuyers and young professionals like Burack, who works as an e-commerce manager for a grocery store. She moved into her four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath townhouse in February.

She invited two roommates to share her townhouse. She always has company, and their rent helps with the mortgage.

“It’s super convenient,” Burack acknowledges of the arrangement.

In Cheatham County’s Pleasant View Village, Alberto and Rosa Garcia’s apartment is on the second floor of their building, above a pub. Physicians’ offices, a liquor store, a Japanese restaurant, a craft brewery and other restaurants and businesses are steps away.

“You can walk downstairs to a restaurant. I love it,” Alberto Garcia says.

After he retired from a career as a manufacturing executive, the couple wanted to move closer to family in Cheatham County, a mostly rural county north of Nashville, but didn’t want to feel isolated.

They discovered Pleasant View Village, a development of multistory buildings with street-level commercial space, second-floor office space and rental apartments on the second and third floors.

About 100 single-family homes are nearby, and more are planned, says Tish Manning, an executive with Southeastern Realty, one of the community’s developers. Holt Development handles the commercial space.

The community attracts a wide range of residents, Manning points out.

“Some people move here because they have grandkids nearby, other because they are older and the lofts are handicap accessible, people right out of college, people who’ve sold their house,” and are downsizing, she says.

Last year the city of Pleasant View changed a city ordinance prohibiting brew pubs so Flytes Brewhouse could open in one of Pleasant View Village’s mixed-use buildings. The business is operated by Trish and John Nelson, who relocated from California.

“They’re selling out their beer on a daily basis,” Manning adds.

Like Burack in Burkitt Commons, Alberto Garcia loves the convenience of surban living, with retailers, dining and services just steps away from his door.

“The lady who does my hair is right there. Her shop is down the hall” from his apartment.

“It’s convenient,” Garcia says. “A real sense of community.”

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