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VOL. 36 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 28, 2012

Gulch condos continue to prove doubters wrong

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I was standing in line with a Metro firefighter recently and asked him if Christmas trees were the source of fires. Surprisingly, he responded that they were not as the LED lights do not pull much electricity and consequently fail to emit enough heat to ignite a branch.

However, he warned that space heaters close to flammable cloth were the main culprit, followed closely by people burning fires in chimneys that had not been swept.

Chimney maintenance is inexpensive. So sweep your chimneys well as your homes’ health is something you can buy.

For all of the amateur pyromaniacs out there, be warned not to burn your tree, as this ceremony is a recipe for disaster. There are few non-fossil fuel substances more flammable than a dried fir, pine or cedar tree. This ritual has resulted in hair and clothing fires, especially involving children watching their parents’ misdeed with wild-eyed fascination.

Then there are fireworks. As much as the Tennessee General Assembly loves guns, they have outlawed many types of fireworks, banning many to Alabama. In the opinion of our lawmaking bodies, these fireworks are more dangerous that assault rifles. Think of how deadly these incendiary missiles must be.

On a Lighter Note

Vanderbilt is appearing in its second consecutive bowl game for the first time ever, and there is now enough time for a proper sampling of the effect that Vanderbilt football success has on the local economy.

While most view Vanderbilt as an exclusive university with a rather high tuition, it is understandable that upper-end real estate would increase in value and unit sales would climb as Vanderbilt gains momentum. That is exactly what has happened.

In 2010, when Vanderbilt went 2-10, only 61 homes sold in the area for $1 million or more. In 2012, the year Vanderbilt went to its first James Franklin-era bowl game, there were 165 homes that sold for $1 million or more.

This year, as Vanderbilt approaches its date in the Music City Bowl, million dollar properties skyrocketed to 205 so far with double-digit sales for condos for the first time ever. With this data now proven, it is in the best interest of the community to rally behind the ’Dores as they are a drive of the real estate economy.

Of course one of the greatest feats in college football was accomplished by the 1899 Sewanee Tigers who, in six days, defeated Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU and Ole Miss. On the seventh day, they rested. Real estate records for that period are not available. So, stick with Vandy.

Sales of the Week

Once again, we visit the Icon in the Gulch for the sales of the week. The first is a 17th floor unit that was listed by Chad Wohlers of Village Real Estate Services. It sold quickly for $552K by Ivy Arnold of Parks Properties in the Gulch.

The owner of this condominium paid $452,500 in 2009, despite warnings from various Realtors, developers and media outlets that the sky was falling on the Gulch. So, three years later he pockets a cool $100,000 on his 1,298 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bath unit on the 17th floor overlooking the ninth-floor pool.

That $100,000 will buy Pollyanna several pairs of rose-colored glasses, the alleged eyewear of the Gulch proponents.

Even those who invested in the 630-square-foot units have fared well. This floor plan drove the naysayers bonkers since few of them understand how someone would buy a one-bedroom, one-bath condo that was the size of a walk-in closet. There were several managing brokers and broker/owners who told their agents not to sell in the Gulch since clients would lose money.

This 630-square-foot unit sold in 2009 for $187,500 and in 2012 for $244,000, so these condos are the little economic investment engines that could -- and have.

This home was listed by Scott “YSR” Evans of Parks in the Gulch and sold by Bonnie Kearns of Parks in the Gulch. Evans and Arnold were the original listing agents and were with Village Real Estate Services during the pre-construction sales and saw the developers through the sellout.

Their broker at the time, Mark Deutschmann, did not forbid his group from selling these downtown high-rises; rather he was one of the visionaries behind downtown growth.

In that vein, Bob Parks was brilliant in his observation that the Gulch would continue to be a source of listings and strategic in the opening his Gulch office. He staffed it with former Village People, although the Native American stayed with the band. The others have been spotted hanging in the Gulch.

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.