August 03, 2015

Boyle goes bargain hunting, snags Belle Meade retail center

By Turner Hutchens
– Nashville Business Journal –

Boyle Investment is taking advantage of the weak market, and a motivated seller, to expand its Nashville-area shopping center portfolio.

Boyle, along with local investors, bought Lions Head Village shopping center on White Bridge Road last week for $13.5 million from a subsidiary of Australia-based Centro Properties Group.

With a lack of liquidity since the credit markets tightened, Centro has been selling shopping centers since last year, some for less than 75 percent of the original purchase prices.

The acquisition fits Boyle’s strategy of holding diversified properties, rather than trying to time the market to make a profit with a sale, says Jeff Haynes, partner at Boyle’s Cool Springs office.

“We’re there for the long haul,” he says.

Boyle took out a $9.5 million loan from Pinnacle Bank to purchase the property, according to uniform commercial code filings.

The 99,000-square-foot shopping center is 100 percent leased, with Office Max, Stein Mart and Sports Seasons as major tenants, and the new owners say that they don’t have plans to change that.

“We’re very happy with our current tenants,” says Phil Fawcett, partner in charge of retail for Boyle in Nashville.

He says the property’s location in Belle Meade, near Saint Thomas Hospital, Aquinas College and an affluent demographic make it prime space.

Local ownership will make a difference in the quality of the property and its management, Fawcett says. There aren’t plans for any major changes at the center, other than improving landscaping and maintenance.

“We want the customers there to have a really nice experience,” he says.

Haynes says the purchase is an opportunity to expand Boyle’s reach into a market that is heard to break into. Most of the land owners in that area have owned it forever,” he says, referencing Belle Meade.

Allen McDonald, with Baker Story McDonald Properties, says the purchase was a good buy, with a reasonable price given the current market.

“They’ll be rewarded with patience, and they are a patient company,” he says. “I think they’ll be rewarded over time.”

McDonald says Lion’s Head Village likely will be the last Centro property to sell in Nashville for a while, because of the complicated debts on the properties and because the real estate investor’s finances have improved.

“Centro is not as motivated as they were over the last several months because their lenders are beginning to work with them,” he says.