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Oct. 6, 2010

Associated Estates Kicks Off Construction of 242-Unit Vista Germantown in Nashville

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer

Nashville, Tenn.–Vista Germantown, an apartment community that will sit in downtown Nashville, moves closer toward realization as work gets underway on the 242-unit property. The developer, a joint venture spearheaded by Associated Estates Realty Corp., believes the apartment market in Music City is alive and well, and getting even better.

Commencement of construction of Vista Germantown, which will occupy a nearly three-acre corner site on Madison Street, comes shortly after Associated Estates purchased the property and development rights from Bristol Development Group. However, Bristol, which first conceived the apartment community in 2008, has not walked away from the project; the company maintains a minority interest in Vista Germantown. “We have had a relationship with Bristol for several years and with their local market expertise—they are based in Nashville—it was beneficial to keep them on as a partner,” Jeremy Goldberg, senior director of investor relations and corporate finance with Associated Estates, tells MHN. Bristol has developed several multifamily communities in Nashville and in four other Tennessee cities including Memphis.

Vista Germantown will feature 171 one-bedroom units, 71 two-bedroom units and a four-story structured parking facility to accommodate over 300 vehicles. Associated Estates is declining to share the total development cost of the project, but according to records from the City of Nashville, three recently awarded permits involving the residences and the parking garage total approximately $31.5 million.

For Associated Estates, Vista Germantown represents the REIT’s entrée into Nashville, and Tennessee in general. “Nashville is a market that we’ve looked at for quite a while,” Goldberg says. “There are a lot of universities and hospitals there and, since it is the state capital, there are plenty of government workers.” In the second quarter, net absorption in Nashville’s apartment market totaled 1,170 units and the vacancy rate dropped 70 basis points to 8.8 percent, according to a report by multifamily debt and equity capital provider Red Capital Group. “Nashville has a diverse economic base and the demographics bode well for apartment renting,” he adds.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Estates, Merit Enterprises Inc. is serving s general contractor for Vista Germantown. The apartment development is on track to open its doors to residents in spring 2012.