The year in real estate: residential and commercial

2012 saw high-end home sales, HCA announce plans for West End Summit move

The Nashville market for the highest of high-end residential real estate started off with 2008 on its mind.

The first quarter of the year featured all the tropes of the darkest days of the downturn — short sales, foreclosures, bankruptcy sales. Rarely were all of the Top Ten sales more than $1 million. Relatively modest $900,000 homes were making the cut.

But as spring warmed into summer, the market heated up, too. Suddenly, there were 15 or 20 seven-figure sales each month. There weren’t always eye-poppers at the top of the heap, but volume-wise, things picked up for the luxury buyer and seller as they did for the broader home sale market.

In 2012, four homes in the Nashville area sold for at least $4 million. Buyers included a wine magnate and a former NBA owner — as well as the mysterious anonymous trusts.

As the year wrapped up, nary was a foreclosure among the priciest homes, and prices for the 1 percenters started to climb as they did for the rest of us.

1. 4410 Gerald Place, Belle Meade, 37205
Buyers: John M. and Leslie T. Hooper
Sale price: $5.994 million
Sell date: May 9
Sellers: Gaylon M. and Lisa L. Lawrence
Sellers’ and buyers’ agents: Betty Finucane and Elaine B. Finucane, Fridrich & Clark Realty

Coming in at an even 10,000 square feet, the year’s top home sale sits in the heart of Belle Meade. It was built on 2.3 acres in 2001 and includes a “luxurious” pool house in addition to its five bedrooms. The home (pictured here) has both a formal and a normal dining room.

John Hooper sold Tennessee Wine and Spirits, the wine distributorship his family started in 1939, and started a winemaking venture called BNA Wine Group, but obviously had enough left over to buy a new home.

Gaylon Lawrence is a principal in the Lawrence Group, one of the nation’s largest owners of farmland.

2. 55 Governors Way, Brentwood 37027
Buyers: George T. and Denise Vogel
Sale price: $5.7 million
Sell date: May 17
Seller: Aaron Cicchelli
Seller’s and buyers’ agent: Bill E. Henson Jr., SilverPointe Properties

If nearly $6 million gets you 10,000 square feet in Belle Meade, $5.7 million gets you nearly twice that in the Governors Club. This 19,935-square-foot home includes seven bedrooms, a state-of-the-art gym, a pool (with waterfall, naturally), an indoor basketball court, theater, billiards room and golf simulator, plus a private two-bedroom guest quarters with its own kitchen.

George Vogel is the president of Logan’s Roadhouse. Cicchelli topped this list with his buy back in April of 2009 — he’s associated with a website that sells items connected to the video game Diablo. He bought it for $5 million — nearly $3 million off the then-list price. Proving turnabout is fair play, the Vogels paid nearly $1.3 million less than Cicchelli originally asked.

3. 39 Bancroft, Nashville 37215
Buyer: Allen Lentz, trustee for unnamed trust
Sale price: $5.3 million
Sell date: Jan. 31
Sellers: Jason and Elizabeth Sheer
Sellers’ and buyer’s agent: Richard B. French, French Christianson Patterson

Tin Roof owner Jason Sheer sold his palatial Bancroft estate, one of the priciest homes on the market in some time. Coming in at nearly 20,000 square feet on 8.5 acres, the home has a kitchen that features, for some reason, four ovens. Nearly a year after the sale, still no word on the buyer. Lentz represents a number of health care interests, but is also a respected real estate attorney.

4. 512 King Richards Court, Franklin 37067
Buyer: Robert L. Scruggs, trustee
Sale price: $4.1 million
Sell date: March 8
Seller: 5909 Hillsboro Road Real Estate Trust
Seller’s and buyer’s agent: Laura Baugh, Worth Properties

On and off the market for nearly three years, LeAnn Rimes finally sold her massive Tors of Avalon home. Sitting high atop a hill with more than 13,000 square feet, the palatial spread was initially listed for nearly $7.5 million. Rimes put it back on the market early in 2011 for a shade under $5 million, finally selling the four-year-old estate to an unnamed trust represented by trustee Scruggs. Sitting on more than five acres, the European-style home includes an infinity pool and a hot tub, as well as a room that can be used as either a catering kitchen or a “pets’ room,” plus a billiards room and the made-famous-by-the-Spellings wrapping room.

• On the commercial real estate front, the top news involved Alex S. Palmer & Co.’s announcement that HCA entities Parallon and Sarah Cannon Research Institute have agreed to take a combined 500,000 square feet of space of the soon-to-be-built $200 million twin-tower West End Summit.

Other major CRE headlines included the continued work and/or completion on various multi-unit apartment buildings, most prominently including 11North, 12South Flats, 23Hundred at Berry Hill, Elliston 23, Note 16, Park Central, Pine Street Flats, Vista Germantown and West End Village.

Similarly, there were the announcements and actual construction starts of a Hilton Garden Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott that Chartwell Hospitality will develop in SoBro and Green Hills, respectively; a Homewood Suites that Memphis-based developer Robert M. Rogers started on West End Avenue; and a Home2 Suites by Hilton on Division Street. Of significance, Omni Nashville Hotel neared exterior completion.

In addition to West End Summit, another stalled, and possibly dynamic, project finally broke ground in Berry Hill/Melrose. Melrose Partners’ project will include the rehabbing of a 1942 Art Moderne theater building and more than 200 apartments.

At the conclusion of the third quarter, the Nashville-area office vacancy rate was 9.9 percent, according to Cassidy Turley figures. Though not stellar, the mark is vastly better than the 15 percent of 2010.

The year was not without setbacks. Plans for the highly anticipated Nashville Medical Trade Center were scrapped. Likewise, a two-hotel, office and retail project set for the 1800 block of West End Avenue continued to stall before starting in late December.

— William Williams contributed to this story.