Flowers

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About Flowers

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  1. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    nicely done...this past year many of us have tried to make sense of this ambitious project. i've yet to see anyone sum it up quite so well. thanks for posting.
  2. Flowers

    May Town Center

    i hadn't heard a figure yet but $50 million for the bridge to nowhere doesn't surprise me. imagine what kind of activity the city could stimulate inside the core with just half of that kind of investment in infrastructure. to think that the city would speculate with that kind of money on such a speculative project is really hard to fathom.
  3. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    ^ no offense, but it's really kind of silly to suggest, or declare, that there was a market in nashville for a 1200 foot residential tower ten years ago. whatever the market will support today, logic suggests it would have supported much less 10 years ago. that same logic would expect a deeper market 10 years hence. it should not be hard for anyone to agree on this. as to whether the mortgage crunch is to blame for signature's woes one only need drop back about 8-9 months on this thread to see that signature was stuggling with sales, financing and managing its costs (the biggest three issues ?) well before the subprime meltdown last august. to suggest that all will be well once the mortgage market stabilizes seems to ignore the obvious. tony seems to have moved on to a new signature project anyway out in the floodplain of bells bend. maybe those "dreams can come true" but i think he's going to need a new gameplan for the property on church.
  4. Flowers

    May Town Center

    hankster, i suspect we may agree on more than you think. let me explain. sprawl is a relative term and it isn't a phenomenon limited only to land outside of davidson county. i've heard local architects and planners talk about how much sprawl we have even within our own downtown. ask most anyone that lives downtown and i'll bet they'd tell you they'd gladly give up half the buildings within downtown if only the remaining 50% could be better oriented or positioned to yield more walkable urbanity (better opportunities for clusters of retail beneath office and residential). now obviously we don't get a downtown development do-over, i'm just trying to illustrate the point that sprawl can and does exist downtown just as it exists in our suburbs (which imo aren't defined by county lines). we've just concluded that we have mostly tourist oriented retail in our core (no surprise there) and have hired a retail coordinator to recruit high quality retailers and grocers to downtown. though i think these efforts are well intended i've never seen anyone have much success "recruiting" retailers anywhere. Good ones are good because they know where they want to be and they don't hesitate when conditions (demographics/psychographics etc) meet their criteria. i believe that if the city ends up getting behind the may development with big infrastructure subsidies any retailers paying attention will see this as more of a threat to the core than to willaimson county and will continue to stand down rather than take a chance on being too early investing in a downtown location. again, i really don't think the threshold question is whether we like the master plan (which i do) or whether this farmland should be preserved, i think it's more a question of whether the city should risk getting distracted or spreading its limited infrastructure resources too thin, and too far from the center of town with so much opportunities remaining inside the loop. i think this is true even if one was certain that the may rendering promised would materialize (maybe it would be a success or maybe it would fail). and the $4b tax base arguments aren't persuasive to me either because they presume 2 things a) that we can't redirect city infrastructure dollars to other more urban areas of town and realize a similar or equivalent tax base, and b) that none of the presumed may development absorption would come at the expense of other davidson county projects. these presumptions ask us to accept a silly zero sum development scenario where may town competes only with big bad williamson county leaving the rest of davidson county to build and absorb as it would without the $4b maytown. pretty silly if you think about it but the pitch sure makes for impressive headline grabbing tax revenue projections (presumably to justify the big forthcoming ask of the city for infrastructure $'s). i believe logic would suggest that since city resources are limited it should prioritize and fight sprawl (with dollars and policy) from inside out. there are still many needed projects inside the loop before we reach the sort of critical mass that could attract an rei, whole foods, nordstroms or the other quality retailers everyone understandably wants. there is still unfinished business in and around the core and to get preoccuppied trying to leapfrog a new downtown of sorts out in a davidson county suburb (if we can even call it that) would be a big mistake imo...just ask that new retail recruiter once she gets a chance to go call on a few of those retailers.
  5. Flowers

    May Town Center

    surely you jest. we're going to save a farm 30 miles from town by paving one that's only 6 miles out ? there are so many reasons to be skeptical about this project i don't quite know where to begin. regardless of whether this farmland is in davidson county it is hardly urban so paving it over will only intensify the sprawl that already exists. ever drive around the perimeter of downtown or through sobro, the gulch, midtown or west end and wonder how long it will take for these areas to grow together ? i don't know what the answer is but it will surely take much longer if we divert resources several miles from town and try to steer absorbtion away from our core instead of to it. shouldn't we invest our infrastructure (streetscapes, sidewalks, overhead line removal, even light rail) dollars in these areas before we start chasing some pipedream on a farm in a floodplain 6 miles from town ? we complain about crappy retail in downtown and the lack of a quality urban experience to lure companies to downtown. may town is no panacea and will just frustrate some of the recent progress we've seen within our core. and with all due respect to mr. tony and mr. may, neither have a demonstrated track record developing the type of project that they're proposing. i suspect that mayor dean will give this important detail due consideration before putting many or even any of his infrastructure eggs in the bells bend basket.
  6. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    ^ i agree with your points but i didn't really see williams' comments as arrogant. the numbers are what they are in terms of population. considering his accomplishments and the prospect of a nashville paper calling him to ask if he was "nervous" about signature, i thought he was quite glib. and again, in retrospect, it seems like he offered tony some good advice.
  7. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    http://nashville.bizjournals.com/nashville...us7.html?page=1 i doubt it, particulary given the fact that the players in the luxury atlanta market are large enough to devour tony in a single bite. also, as you can see from this article, nobody in atlanta had an epiphany two years ago after seeing siggy unveiled. john williams not only didn't attempt a tower as large there (though mansion at 42 stories is no slouch), he also had this to say about tony's plans 18 months ago: Williams dismisses notions that it makes Atlanta developers nervous to hear of a massive skyscraper being planned in Nashville. "Actually, it would make me nervous to be building a big skyscraper there. Nashville's not a huge city," he said. i can't help wonder whether tony now wishes he'd heeded this veterans advice. here is a link to the mansion project in buckhead which i think demonstrates how little building height really seems to appeal to the well heeled crowd that tony has been chasing. http://www.mansiononpeachtree.com there's been a lot of second guessing on this link about why tony hasn't gotten any traction. if you look closely at the floorplans, marketing and location of mansion (and the size of market differences) you can't help but see some glaring differences between the two that go beyond height. and only 42 large condos rather than 420 ? interesting considering how much more wealth density there is in atlanta.
  8. Flowers

    May Town Center

    you and shuzilla make very good points, franktown. anyone responsible for leasing class a office space knows that nearby executive housing, high end amenities and good schools are essential to attracting interest. although the project appears more thoughtfully designed it is much more remote and removed from these essentials than metrocenter was. but there are other issues that i think we should be considering. metro has recently been warned by the bond rating agencies to cut some of its already approved capital projects. these include infrastructure projects as well as the planned redevelopment efforts on the east bank. west end, the gulch, germantown, sobro and even belle meade all desperately need additional streetscapes, sidewalks and overhead powerline removal to reach their potential. is it good policy or even a good use of resources to get distracted by the "potential" offered by some relatively remote land in a floodplain 6 miles from town ? don't get me wrong, the rendering is terrific (as is h20's) and if all things could be successful simultaneously i think it would be wonderful. but unfortunately the reality is that metro has ever more limited powder to deploy. also, any heavily subsidized class a project in bells bend will cut significantly into the modest momentum that our urban areas are just now beginning to experience. hard as they are trying to kickstart momentum in the core, how would eakin and barry feel about the city making it even harder for them to gain momentum and critical mass, particularly when you consider that neither have ever sought any metro handouts ? as mayor dean and the council face very tough fiscal choices ahead in this weakening economy i would hope they'd be very cautious about investing major dollars into what essentially is an "if you build it they may or may not come" type of project. it's tempting to look at pretty pictures in a tobacco field and start counting the future tax revenues promised by giarratanna. but as we've seen with signature tower things don't always materialize as promised. i tend to agree with shuzilla that there appear to be many other urban areas more ripe for class a redevelopment and perhaps more deserving of the limited infrastructure dollars the city will have available in the next 2-3 lean years ahead.
  9. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    practically speaking, this tower would not accomodate class a office tenants, particularly if combined with one or two other uses like condos and a hotel. floor plates, column spacing and elevators would all want to look very different, much more like the version he had with the chicago architect 3-4 years ago. among the challenges is the fact that he's said to now have over $10 million into the sig construction drawings plus marketing costs. scapping those would smart but there is also an ever more crowded field of established class a office developers with what appear to be much more advanced plans for new class a projects. starting over would seem like jumping from the frying pan to the fire.
  10. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    i was also recently there and was equally impressed with the amount of activity, as well as the quality of some of the towers underway in buckhead. the fact that signature would dwarf everything underway right now in this market of 4-5 million was not lost on me. for some that may be exactly why there is so much cheering for signature but for me it was more confirmation that nashville has a very long way to go and many new urban buildings to absorb at all ends of the spectrum before anything so massive (pricing and number of units) will be feasible or to scale here. forgive me for making this observation but it's almost as if several among us are seeking a short cut to what they perceive as the elevated status of having a taller building than atlanta, charlotte, tampa, etc. i can't help but wonder if our deep passion for this tallest tower status isn't seen a bit as small town naivete by our fellow big sister cities. unfortunately, i think we simply have to "do the work" and build our urban environment more thoughtfully, even if that occurs with several smaller projects. frankly, i think we'd be better off focusing our energy on what we want those smaller projects to do to advance our cause rather than celebrating/bemoaning every significant and insignificant gesture this project makes, but that's just me. all that being said i think there is now a certain entertainment value attached to the plight of signature. and despite my sentiements noted above even i am unable to avoid getting my sig fix when a crumb is thrown our way. but more and more the promise of news that seems to foreshadow most recent articles is more tantalizing than the "news" itself. oh well...one way or another i think the last chapter written about the sig tower is going to be spectacular. i guess that's what keeps us all tuned in.
  11. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    sorry but i don't see foreign investors or middle east lenders coming to st's rescue. and frankly, i think we should probably be asking ourselves if that would be a good thing anyway. in the face of weak demand for this project why should we hope for some unsuspecting debt or equity source to come to the rescue ? wouldn't that just be trading a little more skyline for the potential of a financial disaster in 3-4 years if st collapsed as a failure ? i'd only like to see it built if the developer can reasonably demonstrate there is demand for it. betting wrecklessly on future buyers or exchange rates to line up seems irresponsible and wreaks of wanton desperation for a tower that seems obviously outsized and ill-suited for this market given what we've seen here over they last few years. and remember, if demand is ultimately insufficient the sponsors will lose their invested capital regardless of what exchange rates do. also, betting on what the dollar will do in the future is not the sure thing that some of you suggest. Many respected economist think we're in for a long period of dollar deterioration due to our weakening economy preventing the fed from raising rates (which generally helps the dollar). remember when rates were almost 0% ? it could take a few years of adjustment before the fed stops cutting them and every drop will most likely continue to punish the dollar. as to the whims of foreign capital, i think any looking to make real estate bets in the us will focus on the hardest hit large markets like miami. because of all the insane speculation that occurred in these areas this capital will have attractive buying/investing opportunities in places that are poised to bounce back much more quickly from the bottom of the trough, wherever that ultimately proves itself to be.
  12. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    i think you are correct about the hotel simply managing the hotel operation for a fee on the gross revenue generated, but i don't think there is typically a lease involved that would subject the hotel flag to any operational risk. if either tony or alex were able to lease out the hotel to the flags they'd be much closer to their goal of obtaining financing since the banks could underwrite these large companies. regardless of how tony settles on the mix of hotels/condos he will ultimately have to raise the debt and equity to build both. as monsoon mentioned, despite the time and money that has been spent he still appears to be in the preliminary stages of figuring this one out. we keep talking about the sales/revenue side but remember he split with the contractor months ago over a cost impasse. i haven't heard of a new contractor team being annointed but that will probably require months of pricing work to get to a good comfort factor about costs irrespective of where he may or may not be on sales.
  13. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    http://nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=58521 i'm a bit surprised that there wasn't more substance in richard's story. the fact that he plans to reduce the number of condos and increase hotel rooms is hardly suprising given how weak his sales have been. again, i think tony would help his cause greatly if he could be specific about who his lender is and upon what terms they have conditioned their interest. then we could get excited about seeing him get certain milestones behind him.
  14. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    i think the biggest problem with this project is that after almost 2 years of visibility and marketing only civic cheerleaders and skyscraper geeks seem to want it built. "no construction loan due to not enough sales" really wouldn't be as problematic if it were clear that there would be financing available with sufficient sales. this doesn't appear to be the case and one has to wonder how many of the +/-100 "sales" tony claims to have would/will erode if/when the ultimate lender requires deposits larger than just 5%. as with palmer's wes project i think skeptics would be mostly silenced with the introduction of a qualified lender and some indication of what has to be done in order to get them to loan the dough. the silence on this issue for the last year or so has been deafening. EDIT: before anyone reminds me that the developers owe us no information until they are ready i would just note that it is more typical in the markets i have followed for the developers to be immediately forthcoming with this kind of info the second it is available. they know that it staves off skepticism and gives buyers, tenants and the media more confidence that things will eventually be a go. this, of course, leads to momentum which any big project needs loads of to get off the ground. as to the other projects in charlotte you mentioned i'm curious as to whether there appeared to be reasonable evidence in charlotte that there was a market (number of units proposed at a given price point) for them by the time they finally started. i'm not very familiar with charlotte but from what i've heard there have been several condo projects at different price levels completed and absorbed there in the last few years. bankers and equity partners love seasoned comps and i just don't have any idea what tony or alex could or would point to in Nashville when asked these tough questions by the people with the dough.
  15. Flowers

    Signature Tower

    ^ that seems to be a matter of opinion. alex has clearly assumed the risk of digging a big hole but he still appears to be without financing, a major tenant, or any significant presales. i'm not saying he won't get his moon and stars to line up one day but i just don't think wes has all of a sudden become the "done deal" project standard in nashville. this could change the minute he introduces us to his construction lender and confirms he's met all their preconditions for funding but unless i missed a pr release or article i don't think he's done this.