August 04, 2015

The D.C. Trip that changed Boyles perspective on Nashville


Senior Reporter- Nashville Business Journal, June 23, 2014


While tourists packed Washington, D.C., in April to witness the famous cherry blossoms in bloom, Nashville developers Jeff Haynes and Phil Fawcett whipped around the nation’s capital region in a van, looking at mixed-use developments.

Haynes and Fawcett are the partners of Boyle Investment Co.’s Nashville office. In an interview, they recounted how they visited 12 projects in two days. They noted everything, down to measuring the width of the sidewalks and how early-morning deliveries to retailers were orchestrated not to awaken nearby residents.

With them were executives from Nashville-based HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, and Gresham Smith and Partners, which is Nashville’s largest engineering firm. Gresham is designing buildings for HCA at Capitol View — a big Boyle-led downtown development designed to include offices, apartments, a grocery store, a movie theater, two hotels, restaurants and more.

"My takeaway from D.C. was, Nashville is ready for a dense, urban mixed-use project," Haynes told me. "It’s almost a mandate to have walkable mixed-use. It’s a fundamental principle. It’s here to stay."

(Why D.C.? Efficiency, offering the most amount of projects for a one-city trip).

The trip also got Haynes and Fawcett thinking how much Nashville has changed in the dozen years since they left Trammell Crow to open Boyle’s Nashville office (Boyle is based in Memphis).

Their first project was Meridian, in suburban Cool Springs, which blends nine office buildings and four retail buildings with two hotels and other features. In many ways, it broke new ground for the Nashville region; Haynes and Fawcett describe it as the area’s first suburban mixed-use development.

Fawcett, with the benefit of time and perspective, identifies what he’d do differently: Denser office buildings. Retail in the ground floor of the hotels. A stronger effort to include residential — although at that time, Boyle may have faced some zoning hurdles in doing so.

"We don’t want to be trendy. But we don’t want to be obsolete the day we’re finished, either," Fawcett said. "We’re trying to build things that stand the test of time, in this new world we’re in here in Nashville."

You can also expect to see even more open public spaces added to Boyle’s current and future developments.

"D.C. just reinforced that an urban setting can sometimes be hostile," Fawcett said. "So one shift we’ve made coming back is, let’s make sure we’re creating cool, inviting public spaces. Small or large … just give people the chance to get together."

Adam covers commercial real estate and manufacturing.