Longtime Nashville property player dies

Former GNAR president parlayed theaters into downtown real estate empire

Kermit Stengel, a man who turned his family's film theaters into a local real estate empire, has died.

As movie palaces were replaced by suburban multiplexes in recent decades, Stengel took his family's Crescent Amusement theaters and rebirthed them as developments for a new generation in a later capacity heading up Ridgefield Properties.

In his later years, he worked frequently with Tony Giarratana, who described his friend as his "white knight" and a "second father."

"Mr. Stengel was very knowledgeable about real estate and I looked forward to stories and lessons from his 50-year career,," Giarratana said. "He could be my harshest critic, but was my staunchest supporter. Our Cumberland, Viridian and Belle Meade Town Center projects, as well as our Cain-Sloan property, were all once his family’s Crescent Amusement Company theaters; and Mr. Stengel provided my then newly-formed parking company its first parking lot management opportunity."

Stengel also served as president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors in 1968.

Arrangements are pending.