August 04, 2015
Boyle sheds light on the kind of grocery store it’s seeking for its big Gulch project – Capitol View
- Adam Sichko
- Senior Reporter- Nashville Business Journal, June 23, 2014
Boyle Investment Co. has at least four major mixed-use developments along the 20-mile corridor between downtown Nashville and Cool Springs. None has more intrigue than Capitol View, bordering the Gulch along Charlotte Avenue.
The original interest stemmed from the anchor tenant, Nashville-based HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain. HCA landed at Capitol View after backing out of plans to plant 2,000 employees at the West End Summit project planned by developer Alex S. Palmer & Co., which remains undeveloped.
Internally, the focus remains getting construction underway for HCA as soon as possible, say Boyle partners Jeff Haynes and Phil Fawcett. Externally, one part of Boyle’s plan is drawing a lot of attention: an urban grocery store.
That store could be a powerful magnet to attract many more residents to downtown’s core. And Capitol View has the potential to supply the rocket fuel for the revitalization that Charlotte Avenue already is undergoing.
Haynes and Fawcett declined to say which grocery chains they’re negotiating with; the logical possibilities range from Publix to Whole Foods and beyond. Without expressly ruling anyone in or out, Fawcett dictated the most complete public description yet of what he wants to see.
“To say just, ‘We want an organic grocer,’ that’s not broad enough. It needs those basic services as well,” Fawcett said. “It needs the ability to offer the day-to-day grocery shopping experience. It needs to be very strong in prepared foods — at least a to-go component, and maybe offering a cafe. Office workers will prefer that. They’ll want to grab lunch and go back up to the office, and also be able to shop there after work. And, we have to be hitting a grocer that offers the products millennials are looking for.
“There’s a residential renaissance downtown. It’s not at critical mass yet, but it’s coming,” Fawcett said. “You add first-in-class retail, that is the everyday element people want.”
Added Haynes: “The residential density becomes huge, because people want to walk to the grocery store.”
Capitol View offers a whole lot more than a grocery store, of course. Plans call for 1 million square feet of top-quality offices, 1,000 apartments, retail, restaurants, a movie theater and two hotels, one full-service and one with more limited amenities.
“Nashville is ready for a dense, urban mixed-use project,” Haynes said.
HCA will take almost 11 acres, leaving Boyle with about 21 more to work with.
“In a perfect world, we do not want to open anything of ours until spring 2017 or later, so we’re not competing with HCA trying to settle in,” Haynes said.
That first building, at the corner of Charlotte Avenue and 11th Avenue North, would feature ground-floor retail anchored by the grocery store, which would occupy about 45,000 to 50,000 square feet. The upper floors will be some of those 1,000 apartments. Boyle has brought in Charlotte-based Northwood Ravin to help plan and develop the apartments.
“We’re trying to hit millennials and empty-nesters,” Haynes said of the apartments. “We’re studying the quality and types of units now. I don’t think we’ll do microunits; Northwestern Mutual is not convinced those are sustainable long-term.”
Boyle is co-developing Capitol View with Northwestern Mutual, a longtime institutional investor-partner of Boyle. Boyle is based in Memphis; Haynes and Fawcett opened the Nashville office a dozen years ago.
“It’s very rare a developer stumbles into 32 contiguous acres, in the urban core, at the base of the state Capitol, with interstate accessibility and visibility,” Haynes said. Boyle signed on in late 2011; since then, the Gulch’s growth has only accelerated, and the new ballpark for the Nashville Sounds is being built just a mile away in Germantown.
“You look at all that, plus the central business district, Vanderbilt, Music Row … we think we’ll be the connector for all of that,” Haynes said. “We’re smack in the middle of it.”
Adam covers commercial real estate and manufacturing.