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VOL. 43 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 24, 2019

More to Belle Meade sales than premium commissions

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After completing their real estate courses, passing the state real estate examinations and receiving their real estate licenses, many agents set their sights on Belle Meade.

Long known for its affluence and – for years – the home of the highest-priced houses, these newbies feel the area will become their primary source of revenue.

History has proven them wrong, for the most part, and there are several reasons.

Here’s one: There were more than 800 new agents introduced to the market last year and only 66 sales in all of Belle Meade in 2018. That’s a small pie to slice.

The City of Belle Meade is steeped in tradition, and historian Ridley Wills has written volumes on the subject. His writing is highly recommended for anyone in search of that history.

For today’s purposes, real estate will remain the focus. However, a tease is in order. Some say the race known as the Kentucky Derby could have been run in Belle Meade were it not for the stigma of pari-mutuel betting.

In the beginning, Iroquois was a horse, not a race. As a matter of fact, Iroquois – the first American born and bred horse to win the English Derby – was born in Belle Meade. The horse racing and breeding was led by William Giles Harding – Harding Road – and he had horses named Bonnie Scotland, Enquirer and Luke Blackburn. Enquirer Avenue and Scotland Place are streets in Belle Meade. Blackburn Avenue is in Belle Meade Links.

In order to succeed in Belle Meade, the real estate agents must know the nuances of the territory, as well as how to pronounce these locales in the Belle Meade dialect. That can be tricky. One slip of the tongue, and the agent is outed.

For example, Evelyn Avenue seems easy enough to pronounce to those uninitiated into Belle Meade culture. However, it is not pronounced as Evelyn Woods of reading dynamics fame, but as EVE-a-lin.

Any agent mispronouncing Evelyn will not get a listing on the street.

There are other hurdles once the pronunciation is mastered. For example, the boundaries of Belle Meade are difficult with the even-numbered houses on Nichol Lane resting in Belle Meade proper and odd-numbered houses finding themselves exiled from the city.

While the taxes are lower, the odd houses are out when it comes to the services Belle Meade offers, unless they sneak their yard waste across the street.

The areas bordering Belle Meade have acquired names that bring them into the Belle Meade family, as with Belle Meade Links, which borders the golf course of the Belle Meade Country Club. Some houses in Belle Meade proper do border the Belle Meade golf course.

To the west of the Belle Meade border and on slightly higher ground are the Belle Meade Highlands, once known as the Highlands of Belle Meade. Streets like Alton, Brookfield, West Tyne, Taggart, Cheek, Heady, Gilman, Page, Clydelan, Maybelle and the aforementioned odd-numbered Nichol Lane are in the Highlands. These streets are now easily identified with distinctive street signs.

These areas now boast prices as high – higher, in some cases – than Belle Meade itself. One side of Leake Avenue has Belle Meade in its backyard, while just across the street, the Belle Meade Courts residents have established residency outside the city limits.

This area derived its name from its streets, Lincoln Court, LaSalle Court and Lafayette Court. Either pronunciation of Lafayette is acceptable, but la-FAY-it is preferred in the area.

LaSalle and Lafayette are the same street, but mysteriously change names in the middle of the horseshoe.

Interestingly, Brookfield Avenue is not in Belle Meade, but West Brookfield Avenue is. Likewise, some of West Tyne is not in Belle Meade and much of Tyne Boulevard is within the city limits. East is east and west is west, except in Belle Meade.

There is a street now known as Park Hill Drive that spins from Leake Avenue to the meandering Deer Park Drive. It was named Bellevue Drive until the late 1990s.

There are two explanations floating through real estate lore as to why the name was changed. One theory is that the Bellevue area to the west of Belle Meade had developed and had begun to be more widely known and that some Belle Meade residents did not want their homes to be confused with those in Bellevue, where property values were considerably less at the time.

In Bellevue, there is a Bellevue Road, easily confused with Bellevue Drive. That leads to the other explanation that the two Bellevues were confusing first responders. That’s an issue that could cost lives and property.

Since Parmer Park was once the site of Parmer School until it burned to the ground, this explanation seemed plausible. Plausible except there are several side streets in and around Park Hill, the street formerly known as Bellevue Drive. They are Bellevue Drive West and Bellevue Drive South, not Park Hill Drive West or Park Hill Drive South.

In an area filled with myth and tradition, it’s only right that two of Nashville’s historic families and firms would sell the house at 221 Evelyn.

Jody Hull, who was born a Bainbridge and is with the Bainbridge Real Estate firm, and Lydia Armistead, who is with Freeman Webb Real Estate, teamed to sell the property for $1.8 million. The 5,370-square-foot house sold for $335 per square foot. It has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and four half bathrooms.

Jody Hull had the listing with the ink barely dry when Lydia brought the buyers to the property, which also includes a lot of 0.68 acres, screened porches, new mechanical systems and a street that outsiders cannot pronounce.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty, LLC and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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