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August 9, 2017

Mall owner and hotelier pursues Gulch project next to three-tower development

The real estate investor who owns several Nashville hotels and Antioch’s one-time major shopping mall has secured bank financing to build a hotel in the Gulch.

Franklin Synergy Bank (NYSE: FSB) has loaned $20 million to Rajesh Aggarwal, according to newly filed public records. Aggarwal is eyeing a hotel on his 0.8 acres at McGavock Street and 13th Avenue South, behind celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman‘s restaurant Adele’s. Aggarwal’s property is across from the city block formerly home to the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club — where Austin-based developer Endeavor Real Estate Group just revealed plans for three towers of hotel rooms, residential units and office space. 

Aggarwal, of Brentwood, owns Global Mall at the Crossings, formerly known as Hickory Hollow Mall. He is proposing an extended-stay hotel next to the mall and currently owns the Comfort Inn at 1501 Demonbreun St. and the nearby Best Western on Division Street, among other hotels.

In an interview, Aggarwal chuckled at his coincidental timing of cementing the $20 million loan for his proposed Gulch project just a week or two after Endeavor surfaced with its plans for the city block opposite his property on McGavock Street.

“It’s excellent timing,” Aggarwal said. “There are those two new glass buildings on the other side of Demonbreun. On this side, there was Deja Vu and nothing else happening. But now, with those three towers … it will uplift all that area.”

Though he has a bank loan, Aggarwal described work on the project as “very preliminary.” He said he expects it will take up to a year to finish design work and secure Metro approval for his project, and an additional 16 to 20 months to build it.

Ed Stevens, a Brentwood architect who is consulting with Aggarwal on the project, said the eventual building is likely to be a mid-rise, perhaps with between 12 to 16 stories and between 140 to 200 hotel rooms.

Stevens said he is working to assemble a development team that includes engineers and a contractor for the project. Stevens said the loan from Franklin Synergy represents at least two-thirds of the money necessary for the proposed project.

“We’re definitely looking at a hotel, with retail on the lower level and a restaurant there,” Stevens said. “He’s still trying to keep it a moderately priced hotel and family-oriented.”

Aggarwal bought the Gulch property in 2006, for $1.8 million, according to Metro records. He said the main attraction was the proximity to the Comfort Inn, which he has owned since 2003. Currently, the Gulch land is vacant and partly used for parking.

“For 11 years, I was just waiting,” Aggarwal said.

You can view the original article here.


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