Nashville West developers restructure $90M debt deal

Regions-led bank group overcomes squabbling, provides funding to restart construction

Buzzsaws and bulldozers will soon be starting up once more at the Nashville West retail center along Charlotte Pike.

The joint venture behind the development has secured a credit facility of up to $90.4 million from a group of four lenders led by Regions Bank, allowing it to settle up with subcontractors that had put down their tools in recent months after Nashville West Shopping Center LLC fell behind in payments.

According to individuals familiar with the deal, it happened only after Regions resolved substantial differences with the rest of the bank group over whether and how to restore the flow of credit to the developers, Parkes Development Group LLC of Franklin and Nashville-based Newton Oldacre McDonald LLC. BancorpSouth, US Bank and Wachovia are the other three lenders.

"The bank, as we go forward, is our partner, not our enemy," Newton Oldacre McDonald spokesman Phil Martin said yesterday. "It's been a long journey through the dark night, but we're at a point where we're able to look ahead."

About $77 million of the credit is in the form of construction loans, with the remainder allocated to other purposes.

The Davidson County Register of Deeds currently shows 13 contractors' liens against the Nashville West venture, totalling about $654,000. Joe Parkes, president of Parkes Development Group, said payments were in the works for all of the vendors.

"This new loan closing will enable us to construct some new retail immediately and to complete some retail buildings that were not 100 percent finished," said Bill Oldacre, a principal in Newton Oldacre McDonald. Those building projects are slated to bring roughly 50,000 more square feet of space on line at Nashville West, which currently has about 600,000 square feet of retail space.

Craig Gabbert and John Brittingham of Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner were counsel to Nashville West. John Myers and Roger Jones of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings represented Regions. Paul Mendola, a senior vice president at Regions, signed loan documents on the bank's behalf.