United Methodist Publishing House buys new home, clearing way for hotel and condos downtown

Jul 11, 2014, 12:13pm CDT Updated: Jul 11, 2014, 3:18pm CDT
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Davidson County Property Assessor

United Methodist Publishing House bought this MetroCenter building, and related property, on July 11 for $9.25 million. The transaction allows the publishing house to move from its current downtown location, which is under contract to Turnberry Associates.

Senior Reporter- Nashville Business Journal
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A new property sale clears the way for developer Turnberry Associates to bring a 450-room hotel, 250 condos and upscale restaurants to a site across from Nashville’s convention center.

On Friday, the United Methodist Publishing House paid $9.25 million for buildings in MetroCenter, just north of downtown.

According to the property deed, the seller was Lake Front Office Park LLC. Investors in the entity included the estate of Bud Adams, the deceased former owner of the Tennessee Titans football team, and Corner Partnership, comprised of three longtime Nashville real estate developers and investors.

That transaction was the first domino that had to fall in order for Turnberry to pursue its project — which is set to be built on the current home for the United Methodist Publishing House, at 201 Eighth Ave. South.

Turnberry is under contract for that site, but couldn’t close until the publishing house found and moved to a new headquarters.

Turnberry is majority owner of two downtown Nashville hotels, Union Station and the Hilton. The company’s hospitality division is run by lifelong Nashville resident Ray Waters, who previously ran those two hotels before being promoted to Turnberry’s Miami headquarters last year.

When I spoke with Waters last week, he declined to disclose what Turnberry will pay for the publishing house site. “They’re right where they need to be in the process, and we are right where we need to be, too,” Waters said.

Lately, there’s been a lot of attention paid to the deficit of full-service hotels close by to the Music City Center, which opened last April.

Nashville convention officials have said 16 conventions — representing some 90,000 room nights — have bypassed Nashville for that very reason.

Turnberry’s hotel would help close that gap. So would a Westin proposed nearby. If all stays on track, that hotel would open in 2017 with 430 rooms.

Adam covers commercial real estate and manufacturin

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State Agriculture Department proposes many hoops for hemp farmers

Jun 23, 2014, 6:27am CDT Updated: Jun 23, 2014, 6:40am CDT
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Harvesting hemp.

Contributing Editor- Nashville Business Journal
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The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules for hemp farming include plenty of red tape.

Under the proposal, farers would have to obtain a $500 license, be subjected to random testing of THC levels (to ensure trace amounts compared to marijuana) and provide GPS coordinates for their fields, Nashville Public Radio reports.

State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) told the station that strict rules were necessary to open Tennessee’s’ doors to industrial hemp, but that he hopes there will be fewer hoops to jump through in the future. Farmers wishing to grow hemp can submit applications to the state later this year to begin growing in 2015.

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Hendersonville man buys Music Row building for $1 million

Jun 17, 2014, 6:59am CDT

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George Doyle
Contributing Editor- Nashville Business Journal
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Hendersonville’s Lewis B. James bought a Music Row office building and recording studio for $1 million.

James bought the 6,800-square-foot, three-story building from Fischer Enterprises LLC of Oklahoma, The Tennessean reports. It is located at 1204 17th Ave. South. James is not revealing his plans for the building, which houses the Safford Motley law firm, Little Louder Music and The Velvet Room.

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Report: Nashville’s traffic congestion 33rd worst in the Western Hemisphere

Jun 5, 2014, 10:51am CDT
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Managing Editor- Nashville Business Journal

This story may not help your road rage.

A new analysis out this week from TomTom shows that Nashville’s traffic congestion is among the worst in the Western Hemisphere.

According to TomTom’s report, which uses anonymous data from its GPS devices, Nashville is the 33rd most-congested city in the Western Hemisphere, and the 23rd most-congested city in the U.S.

The report, TomTom’s Annual Traffic Index, compared travel times during non-congested hours with travel times during peak hours in 2013.

The most-congested cities in the Western Hemisphere are all international, with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, coming in at No. 1, followed by Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the U.S., Los Angeles is the most congested city, coming in at No. 4 on TomTom’s list.

In Nashville, the study found the delay per hour driven in peak period is 26 minutes, and that drivers with a 30-minute commute are spending an average of 69 hours struck in traffic each year. According to TomTom, the most congested day in Nashville last year was March 29. On a weekly basis, Tuesday is Nashville’s worst day for congestion. Surprisingly, the report finds that Fridays are the least congested in Nashville.

When it comes to Nashville’s peer cities, only Austin has worse congestion, coming in at No. 16 in the U.S., according to the report.

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Harvey Mackay: What bees tell us about making better decisions

Harvey Mackay: What bees tell us about making better decisions

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Do you have a tough decision to make? Or are you trying to build consensus among other employees? If so, you might want to follow the way bees make their decisions, because according to researchers, human beings can learn volumes from bees when it comes to making group decisions.

Cornell University biologist Thomas Seely, in a Cornell Chronicle Online story by Susan S. Lang, explains how bees build coalitions until a quorum develops. Seely says bees rely on disagreement and contest, whereas humans often rely on consensus and compromise.

Researchers know the bees make excellent decisions because they set up situations that offered choices to the bees, some superior for bees and others not so great. The bees almost always chose the superior sites.

A swarm of perhaps 10,000 honeybees decides where their next new home is going to be by sending out a few hundred scouts to look at real estate. If one finds a site it likes a lot, it begins dancing, which is the scout’s way of advertising the site to other scouts. Then the scout will revisit the site frequently and dance all day.Other scouts select other sites and advertise those to other uncommitted scouts as well. Bee scouts build up at the best sites quickly, because they grade the level of recruitment, which is directly linked to site quality. When 15 or more scouts have gathered around a particular site, the scouts then signal home to the others to get ready to fly to the new home.

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