A Nashville developer is doubling down on a mixed-use project that he hopes to turn into a landmark destination within a fast-changing neighborhood.
In an exclusive interview, Nathan Lyons revealed the look and scope of his plans to expand his Stocking 51 project in The Nations, in West Nashville. Lyons, founder of Vintage South Development Inc., said he has the financing lined up to create 75,000 square feet of commercial space on property he purchased late last month for $2.75 million. It is an aggressive bet on a neighborhood that has transformed during Nashville’s real estate boom, shedding some of its industrial roots in a flurry of residential construction.
The amount of space Lyons plans to add is twice the existing 72,000 square feet of commercial space comprising Stocking 51, which is mainly located within a former hosiery mill at the corner of 51st Avenue North and Centennial Boulevard. Lyons said 85 percent of that space is leased today and if ongoing negotiations are successful, he said the rest of that space will be occupied as well. Existing tenants include upscale pizzeria Nicky’s Coal Fired, coffee shop Frothy Monkey, Southern Grist Brewing, the fashion company Able (formally, fashionABLE Inc.), a high-end salon and others.
“Our goal is one day, you’ll say ‘Stocking 51,’ and you’ll know where it is. Like Edgehill Village or Hillsboro Village. Our goal is for people to stay here for hours and have all sorts of things to do,” Lyons said. “There are a lot of new residential houses, but they don’t have anywhere to go. Even two years ago, there was really nowhere for them.”
Two years ago, Lyons had just begun rehabbing that former sock mill. The first tenants of Stocking 51 didn’t move in until fall 2016.
Lyons said he has the investor equity to expand Stocking 51 and that Franklin Synergy Bank (NYSE: FSB) has committed to provide a construction loan. Lyons said he’s aiming to break ground early in the third quarter. Construction should take about one year to complete, he said.
A cluster of silos is the notable feature on the 3.5 acres of land Lyons just purchased at 4900 Centennial Blvd., immediately east of Stocking 51 and Southern Grist’s new brewery (the brewer rents space in Stocking 51 for a taproom). Lyons said he plans to keep the silos and build around them: a four-story building to their left, and shorter buildings in front and to the right. That framing will create a plaza space in the middle, Lyons said.
Lyons said about 25 percent of the expansion will be for retail and restaurant space. Lyons said he wants the rest to be office space.
About 260 parking spaces will be located behind the silos, serving the expansion and also a building at 1410 51st Ave. N. that Vintage South is incorporating into Stocking 51. That building will feature the new cocktail bar The Cardinal and Vintage South’s offices. Commercial real estate is a fairly new venture for Lyons’ company, which builds homes, primarily in Green Hills and Belle Meade.
Lyons is using the same team of companies to help him create the next phase of Stocking 51: Nashville’s Centric Architecture, OakPoint Real Estate and Fulmer Engineering. Lyons said he has not yet selected a construction company.
Lyons also disclosed that he is an investor in the group that last summer bought a service station across the street from Stocking 51. Others in that group include Elliott Kyle and Rob Lowe. Plans for that building have not crystallized, Lyons said.
Also of note, last month Darek Bell paid $6.8 million for a 6.3-acre property across the street from the Stocking 51 expansion. Bell, the owner of Corsair Distillery and partner at Bell & Associates Construction, told the Nashville Post that the project he’s working on will include creative office space, residential units and “maker” spaces.