March 25, 2008

Signature Tower Moving ahead with Marketing

Marketing push set for Giarratana Development's Signature Tower
Nashville Business Journal - by Jim Stinson Nashville Business Journal
A major marketing push will begin in April to sell another 100 reservations in the 400-unit, $250 million Signature condo tower.
That magic number is necessary for the 70-story tower in downtown Nashville to be financially viable, says Tony Giarratana, Signature's developer.
Giarratana says he has sold 103 units and needs another 100 to get financing. That's a change from how he financed the 333-unit Encore condo tower in SoBro, reflecting the nation's credit slowdown.
"While we financed Encore and Belle Meade Court with no pre-sales, current market conditions dictate that we secure 200 pre-sales prior," says Giarratana.
The tower also will feature a 200-room Kimpton Hotel at the base and a restaurant. The Signature would be the tallest building in the Southeast and eclipse Atlanta's Bank of America Plaza.
Downtown observers say they expect the 70-story Signature to go up eventually and note Giarratana has endured tough times to build the Cumberland, Viridian and Encore towers.
The Cumberland apartment tower, opened in 1999, was the first new residential project in the core downtown district since Metro rewrote zoning laws in 1993.
The 31-floor Viridian, Middle Tennessee's tallest residential building, followed in 2006 with 305 units, and the 333-unit Encore opened in early March.
"[Giarratana] has practically built the entire downtown [residential] market," says Tom Turner, executive director of the Nashville Downtown Partnership.
There are 1,178 residential units under construction downtown, says Turner, a number which excludes the 300 units in SoBro's Encore, where move-ins have begun.
The downtown residential units number includes land south of Jefferson, inside the interstate loop, so Gulch properties such as The Icon are included, Turner says.
Eighty-two percent - or about 966 - of those 1,178 units are sold, says Turner.
Nashville is behind such Southern cities as Knoxville, Charlotte, N.C., and Louisville, Ky., Turner says when it comes to downtown residential development.
The cities average one residential unit for every seven office workers downtown. Nashville averages half that, with about one unit for every 14 workers downtown.
Giarratana says he often hears people skeptical about the downtown market suggest there are 10,000 units downtown, when in fact the market is underbuilt. The reason, in part, he says is the city only legalized new downtown residential construction in 1993.
Turner says he believes the Signature Tower will survive the national economic downturn because of the strong demand for downtown condos.
"I think there is a disconnect between residential demand and the residential economy," he says. "A lot of people are looking at national market stories and not necessarily looking at the local economy. [Nashville] is on a steady uptick."

No comments: