From the Nashville Business Journal:
Live-work hits Nashville
Premium content from Nashville Business Journal - by Linda Bryant, Nashville Business Journal
Date: Sunday, February 10, 2008, 11:00pm CST
Residential Real Estate
Apartments, condos and lofts called "live-work" spaces are popping up in Middle Tennessee, a trend developers and planners say will continue as more and more mixed-use projects come online.
For Terry Johnson, president and CEO of 1720 Entertainment, renting a live-work unit in downtown's historic Stahlman Building at 211 Union St. meant not having to spend so much money on hotel rooms and being able to run the Nashville branch of his Atlanta- based music company more efficiently.
Although the bulk of 1720 Entertainment is in Georgia, the company has thrown considerable weight and money behind Rissi Palmer, a promising country star who lives in Music City.
Johnson is in town several days a month to support the up-and-coming songstress.
"The hotel bills were killing me," says Turner. "We didn't need a large Music Row office. Our business model is more about building a career and a brand. I just wanted to be in Nashville for the promotion side of the business."
The Stahlman, which has 142 apartments, has eight live-work units and 11,000 square feet of office and retail space.
"It's a relatively new concept in Nashville," says Bert Mathews, lead developer of the $14.5 million Stahlman renovation. "I'm hoping that it will keep growing along with mixed-use development. It's a really interesting concept."
Apartments at the Stahlman, including the live-work units, are priced between $1,300 and $3,200 a month. The 100-year-old building has been completely restored and features tiled mosaic floors, veined marble and original hardwood floors and mahogany doors.
Planners at Southern Land Co. are designing about a dozen live-work units at the Westhaven Town Center in Franklin. The Westhaven is a 1,550-acre, masterplanned, mixed-use community located about 3 miles west of Highway 431 along Highway 96.
Westhaven is designed around a town center concept and have more than 275,000 square feet of commercial space and 150 residential units planned alongside an 11-acre lake. The town center buildings will offer a variety of retail and office opportunities at ground-level, with residential units on the upper levels.
"Combining business and living arrangements allows flexibility," says Creighton Wright, vice president of mixed-use development for Southern Land. "I think you're seeing a resurgence because of increasing emphasis on smart growth and new urbanism."
Wright points out that in bygone eras it was standard for a shopkeeper to live above or near a small grocery, dry cleaners or pharmacy.
"It's presents a lifestyle that makes sense to a lot of people now," he says.
The mammoth Westhaven project has room for 2,700 homes and condos and though the retail and commercial components of the development are only starting to emerge, Wright says, "The predominant overall feel of the commercial center will be live-work."
Small architectural or engineering firms, yoga studios, psychologist or law offices are a few examples of the customers targeted by the developers of live-work units.
"You tend to have people who are in business for themselves, so you bring on a truly vested component of the workforce," says Mark Deutschmann, owner and founder of Village Real Estate.
"These people tend to be very engaged," Deutschmann says. "They aren't just committed to coming in and working during the day, they also care about what the neighborhood is like after dark."
Deutschmann says several loft projects, such as Lofts at Werthan Mills in Germantown near downtown Nashville, lend themselves to live-work arrangements, even though the units weren't specifically marketed as such.
For example, one owner at Werthan Mills operates a graphic design firm from his loft.
Live-work hits Nashville | Nashville Business Journal