August 03, 2015

Jeff Haynes & Phil Fawcett, the Opportunists

By:  Eric Synder
Nashville Business Journal
For Phil Fawcett and Jeff Haynes, the list of prospects they have slated for 2011 – and it’s a long list – has little to do with having a good year, and everything to do with preparing for a good decade.
The Nashville office of Boyle Investment Company, led by managing partners Fawcett and Haynes, plans to invest more than $20 million on new projects and redevelopments across Middle Tennessee next year, ranging from a shopping center in Donelson to the first phases of construction of its Berry Farms development in Williamson County.
The convergence of opportunities now available – depressed land prices, cheap construction costs, the availability of good assets from cash-strapped owners – “maybe won’t (be seen) again,” Fawcett said.
“We’re in a unique position to move forward,” Haynes said.
Boyle has never defaulted on a loan, he said, and the Nashville office hasn’t let go or cut the pay of any of its 15 employees during the recession. Haynes said Boyle took a cautious approach during the “go-go days,” working on even its large projects, like Meridian Cool Springs, one piece at a time.
As in the go-go days, Haynes said Boyle will move forward with caution.
“We’re going to try to do those single and doubles….and not try to hit the home runs,” he said.
The incremental approach will be seen next year, when Boyle begins work on Berry Farms, a long-awaited mixed-use development, including office, residential and retail uses, in southern Williamson County.
In the spring, Fawcett said Boyle will deliver 60 residential lots and begin construction on one of the project’s first retail buildings. Given the 8,000-square-foot building’s location at a major intersection in the development, Haynes said the project isn’t so much speculative as a means of helping others envision how Berry Farms could grow.
Boyle also will turn its sights north of Nashville to The Crossings, a Donelson shopping center the company bought several years ago.
As anticipated when Boyle bought the property, a Food Lion anchoring the 110,000-square-foot center left its space this year. As part of an $8 million to $10 million overhaul of the shopping center, Boyle is now speaking with new potential anchors and aims to announce a selection in the first quarter.
“We have the opportunity to make it the dominant retail player in Donelson next year,” Fawcett said.
Boyle also will begin construction on additional retail buildings at Meridian Cool Springs of about 7,000 square feet each to go at either side of Meridian’s entrance from Carothers Parkway. Each building will cost about $1.5 million and will be paid for in cash, thanks to backing from Boyle’s Investment partner, Northwestern Mutual. Keeping with Boyle’s cautious approach, the company will only construct one building at a time, with an estimated date of Feb. 1. Meridian is 97 percent leased.
Many commercial real estate brokers feel it’s time for a developer to start a speculative office building in Cool Springs, due to the lack of large chunks of available space. However, 2011 likely won’t be the time to do so with Boyle’s last Meridian building, Haynes said.
“We believe we will be the first to do the next (office) building in Cool Springs. When that is, who knows,” said Haynes, noting that the planned 175,000-square-foot building will cost some $35 million.
Boyle also will begin work on the second phase of Providence Commons, adding an additional 100,000 square feet to the existing 100,000-square-foot project, anchored by Publix Supermarket. Construction, representing an investment of about $9 million, should start in the third or fourth quarter.
In addition to Boyle’s development work, Haynes will provide brokerage services to developers of the Nashville Medical Trade Center to help solicit small, local users to become tenants of the downtown project.
That Boyle has plans to invest in so many projects next year is a sign that “they’re not fighting with their blankets” and their portfolio is healthy, said Tom Frye, managing director of the Nashville office of CB Richard Ellis.
“The people that have their money lined up now are in a good position to be opportunists in a market like this,” Frye said.
For Fawcett and Haynes, the dividends from their 2011 investments will come for years down the road.
“What we do in the next two to four years will lay the foundation for the next decade,” Haynes said.