Author Archives: Terri Rutherford

Nashville Destination of the Year

EFTP63 Nashville, Tennessee, USA downtown city skyline.

EFTP63 Nashville, Tennessee, USA downtown city skyline. © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

Nashville Destination of the Year

Drumroll, please.

With 15.8 percent of the votes, Nashville, Tennessee, is the newly crowned winner of Travel + Leisure’s readers’ poll for Destination of the Year, beating out international hot spots like Adelaide, Australia, and Korea, as well as fellow domestic darlings New Orleans and Detroit, in addition to Cuba, our editors’ pick for the award. In fact, Nashville received almost double the votes of the number two destination, Charleston, with Cuba coming in third with 6.5% of the votes. Other readers’ choice stand-outs included Greece, Iceland, Istanbul, and Paris.

A perennial tourist favorite, Music City has been reveling in its “It-City” status for a while now, but the Tennessee capital only gets more exciting with each year—and 2015 was no exception. Construction has started on several new hotels downtown (a 21c and a Virgin Hotel, among others); the city’s convention center, which opened in the summer of 2013, continues to bring in business travelers; and an influx of bachelor and bachelorette travelers have practically inspired a new nightlife industry downtown. But the real pull for travelers visiting Nashville in 2015 was the food.

Restaurant openings ranging from Biscuit Love, the brick-and-mortar iteration of a local food truck favorite, to Le Sel, a new-French concept from the team behind Catbird Seat, and Embers Ski Lodge, a themed gastro-pub in the popular 12South neighborhood are solidifying Nashville’s place as a culinary capital in the new American South.

Original source: Destination of the Year – Reader’s Choice

Nashville Home Sales Still Growing


Nashville Home Sales Still Growing

July marked the 24th consecutive month of growth in Nashville’s residential real estate market, according to figures released Thursday.

The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors reported 3,151 closings in July, a 22 percent increase over the number from the same month last year. Year-to-date, sales are up almost 24 percent against 2012.

“The 22 percent increase in home sales during July is very good news. The fact that it is a continuation of the upward trend of the last 23 months is convincing evidence that this region is experiencing sustainable growth in the real estate market,” said GNAR President Price Lechleiter. “The continuation of excellent visibility and positive economic news for Greater Nashville is attracting more people here, and seems to be building confidence in those already here, so there is more willingness to commit to the purchase of a home.”

The average time-on-market was 70 days, the smallest number since October 2007.

The brisker activity has increased prices, as well. The median single-family home sold for $204,000 in July, compared to $181,250 for July 2012. That number comes with one caveat, however: No fewer than 39 homes sold for $1 million or more in July, the largest number of seven-figure sales in one month in several years.

Inventory across all sectors continues to tighten — just 18,868 homes, which represents a five-month supply.

Orginal source: Nashville Home Sales Still Growing

Great Americana BBQ Festival

great american bbq fest

Great Americana BBQ Festival

The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin will be the site of the first Great Americana BBQ Festival on Saturday, Aug. 27, and will be a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event.

The festival will feature a combination of Pro Division and Backyard Teams, competing across multiple categories for a total of $8,000 in prize money.  Festivalgoers will be able to participate in the judging by selecting the “People’s Champion,” and the official winner of the Pro Division will go on to compete in the Jack Daniel’s competition in Lynchburg, Tenn.

BBQ will take center stage with vendors, grilling demonstrations and a whole-hog smoking contest, which is unique to this festival.  The event will feature a variety of other attractions that will appeal to different interests.  The festival is partnering with Music City Roots to provide a lineup of local and regional bands on the official music stage throughout the day, featuring some of the best talent Music City has to offer.

The Tennessee Distillers Guild will host a Tasting Area, where Festival goers (ages 21+) can sample offerings from 10-12 distilleries, from some of the oldest registered distilleries in the state to some of the newest.  Samples of Tennessee whiskey, rum, rye, vodka and moonshine will be on hand for tasting.

The Great Americana BBQ Festival is a family-friendly event, with tickets for adults starting at $10, and kids aged 12 and under entering free of charge.  The Festival will feature a Kid’s Zone with many fun activities for the little “pit masters,” as well as an assortment of food trucks and Arts and Crafts Vendors.

Produced by the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, all proceeds from the festival will go to local community beneficiaries.  FNRC is in its sixth decade of service to Middle Tennessee, during which time it has raised over $2 million for community needs.  FNRC is known for its sponsorship of the Franklin Rodeo, which is the longest running annual event in Williamson County.

The addition of the Great Americana BBQ Festival marks a new chapter for FNRC, as it promises to become another of the region’s premier events.  Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, a longtime community supporter, has generously partnered with FNRC as the Festival’s Presenting Sponsor.

For more information on becoming a competitor, sponsor or vendor at the festival, as well as information on the different levels of festival access and ticket purchases, visit

Original source: Great American BBQ Festival

Why You Feel Healthier and Happier with Pets


why you feel healthier and happier with pets

There are a lot of great benefits of pet ownership. One commonly experienced one is walking your dog, which can make you more physically fit by strengthening your muscles and bones; this can help not only your body, but also your self-esteem. On an emotional level, owning a pet can decrease depression, stress, and anxiety; from a health perspective, it can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Read on to discover more of the incredible benefits that you can experience by owning a pet!

They Can Decrease Stress and Blood Pressure
Research has found that hypertensive or high-risk patients’ blood pressures are lower when their pets are around. Another study found that people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member, or close friend was nearby. When a person connects with a pet by petting it, oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, is released.


They Can Help You Socialize
Multiple studies have found that pet owners are more social than non–pet owners. There is typically more social interaction in neighborhoods with pets, which also makes these neighborhoods seem friendlier to observers. Even if you live alone, having a dog or cat has the same emotional benefit as that of a human friendship.

They Can Build Immunities in Children
This one may sound counter-intuitive, since many people might think cats and dogs cause allergies rather than prevent them. However, many studies have shown that having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies. Families that had children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as children who had no pets in the home.

happycoupleThey Can Boost Your Mood
Pets create endless entertainment, whether you have a comedian or a scaredy-cat on your hands. Pets offer unconditional love, but they also give their owners a sense of purpose. Smiling at your pet can raise your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters associated with joy and happiness.

They Can Help Your Heart Health
Many pet owners would agree that a pet can fill your heart with love, but did you know that they can also do a lot more for that organ? Research has shown that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels—all of which can ultimately minimize a person’s risk for having a heart attack.

They Can Help You Detect Medical Conditions
Research has found that one-third of the pets—such as dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits—who live with people who have diabetes would change their behavior when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Other reports have indicated that canine friends have sniffed or licked a mole or lump on their owner’s body because they may have the ability to smell cancer.

To get more information about the wonderful benefits of pets, visit

Nashville Makes Zillow’s Sweetest List for Buyers


Nashville Makes Zillow’s Sweetest List for Buyers

Nashville is the second “sweetest” city in the nation for potential home buyers, according to a new report from Zillow that measures the strength of metro areas’ housing and labor markets.

Economists at the real estate database company analyzed data from the 100 largest U.S. metros and ranked them in their quarterly list of sweet spots for homeownership. Nashville was the runner-up, just after first place San Antonio.

Nashville’s housing market is the third-hottest in the country, according to a new report.

The rankings were based on three factors: income growth, employment growth, and the so-called breakeven horizon.

That last category is a measure of the time it would take for a person to remain in a home before the accumulated costs of renting exceed those of homeownership. According to the report, the national average breakeven horizon is 1 year and 8 months; Nashville’s horizon is a bit shorter at 1 year and 5 months.

Music City’s strong year-over-year income and employment growth — 1.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively — combined with steady home value appreciation give homeowners an advantage over renters in a relatively short time.

The top ten cities on the list are:

  1. San Antonio
  2. Nashville
  3. Tampa
  4. Jacksonville
  5. Raleigh
  6. Charlotte
  7. Columbus, Ohio
  8. Atlanta
  9. Seattle
  10. Memphis

“All places on this list are great for those looking to buy a home and settle down,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell in a news release. “Not only do they have a strong labor market, but a home purchase in these markets makes a lot of financial sense.”

Gudell cautioned that the ranking assumes a potential homebuyer can qualify for a mortgage and afford the down payment in his or her local market, which may become more difficult as home prices climb.

According to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors, the media price for a single-family home sold in the Nashville area last month stood at $258,900, up 10.8 percent from a year ago.

Zillow expects local home values to rise by 4 percent in the next 12 months.

Nashville’s short breakeven horizon is consistent with national housing trends, which now favor home ownership over renting — for those who can afford to buy. The Zillow analysis revealed that buyers will come out ahead of renters inside of two years in 72 of the largest 100 metro markets.

In Nashville, as in many of the other cities in Zillow’s top 10, breakeven horizons remain below the national average because of falling home price-to-rent ratios and a boost in expected home value appreciation.

Original Source: Nashville Shines on Zillow’s List of Sweetest

New West Main Street Condos


New West Main Street Condos

Developers met with the public Wednesday to discuss construction of multimillion dollar condos to replace older apartment buildings on Franklin’s West Main Street, with an expected completion date by 2018.

From the street, the new building will blend in with the older houses and surrounding character of Hinceyville. It will look like a large house with a front porch.

Two buildings stand there now. They are hidden behind trees lining the street that make it hard to see the structures from the road. A breezeway constructed with bricks, stone and vinyl connects the two spaces.

The project, proposed as Arlington of West Main, would create nine units – four on the first level and five on the second. A parking garage would sit underneath, offering 26 spots for residents and visitors. It will also contain a central trash room and storage space for residents.

The name comes from an older hotel that used to sit on the city’s public square where the First Tennessee Building is now.

At a public meeting Wednesday night, developer Bernie Butler said the new building will have the same concept as the Third Avenue office they hosted the meeting in.

Prior to the 131 Third Avenue North building construction, where they held Wednesday’s meeting, Butler explained a one-story concrete building with a parking lot out front was in its place.

We created this product that looks like a house,” he said. “We had to do something that wasn’t faking history. It’s more a 1920s-style building. And the way we built it in the back, it doesn’t feel like a monolithic structure. Many don’t realize it’s a 20,000-square-foot building with an underground parking garage.”

Butler said he became inspired for the upcoming project after his construction of the Brownstones, nestled on Second and First Avenue. Potential buyers continually asked about one-level housing, which this new complex will provide.

Square footage will range from 3,000 to 4,500 and the condos will range between $1.5 and $2 million in price.

Before it reaches final approval, the project will have to cycle through the Historic Zoning Commission twice, the Franklin Municipal Planning Commission and the Board of Mayor Alderman. If all goes to schedule, the project could break ground in the spring of 2017.

Nashville 505 Tower


Nashville 505 Tower

Yet another construction crane will appear in downtown Nashville’s skyline before Christmas, and it’s for a landmark project — a tower that will be the city’s second-tallest building.

On Thursday, Nashville developer Tony Giarratana finished closing on all necessary financing for his $169 million skyscraper at a corner of Church Street and Fifth Avenue North. Portions of both roads will periodically be closed during construction.

The tower, scheduled to open in late 2017, will stand 543 feet tall. It will be surpassed only by the iconic AT&T tower, affectionately known as the Batman Building for its twin spires that reach 617 feet into the air.

Giarratana’s tower, named 505, will be 45 stories and contain 550 apartments. The top third of the building will be accessed by a separate lobby and elevator system, positioning Giarratana to sell those units as condos, provided he persuades his lenders to change the terms of his newly signed loan documents to permit him to do so.

Those newly signed documents mean Giarratana has all the money needed to finally develop the property that has been the crown jewel of his portfolio for at least the last decade. Most notably, before the recession struck, Giarratana had marketed a building named Signature Tower, which was designed to be the tallest building in the entire Southeast.

Downtown Nashville’s resident population has grown 60 percent in the past five years, projected to top a headcount of 8,000 by year’s end. City officials have coveted that population growth as a way to rejuvenate the city center. They’ve not been shy about using public aid to help foster development, a pattern that’s become increasingly controversial, including the $12.5 million Giarratana received for this latest tower.

No single developer has created more apartments and condos in Nashville’s urban core than Giarratana. He created downtown’s first apartment high-rise and its first condo high-rise, both of which are nearby on Church Street. Giarratana’s downtown portfolio now stands at 1,790 units, if you include the 505 tower and a 33-story apartment tower in SoBro, both of which are now under construction.

The $93.9 million construction loan for the 505 tower comes from Bank of the Ozarks. The bank, based in Little Rock, Ark., is increasingly active in Nashville. Public records show that starting in 2014, the bank has provided at least $261 million for commercial construction. They’re all high-profile: the 27-story Westin under construction in SoBro, the $100 million mixed-use development in Midtown by Buckingham Cos. and early development of the OneCity project on Charlotte Avenue.

As we previously reported, Giarratana obtained $37.6 million of mezzanine financing from Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management. Along with $25 million of investor equity, Giarratana obtained loans from First Advantage Bank and Reliant Bank for a combined $12.5 million — money backed by a commitment of tax revenue from the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority.

The 505 tower will be built on 0.4 acres fronting Church Street. Giarratana last year sold the 0.8 acres behind that property to MDHA, which is under construction on a public parking garage that will include spaces for the residents of Giarratana’s tower.

Original source: It’s official: Giarratana’s Sky Scraper is Fully Financed

Del Webb Spring Hill TN

Del Webb Lake Providence in Mt Juliet

Del Webb Lake Providence in Mt Juliet

Del Webb Spring Hill TN

Del Webb is planning its second community in the state of Tennessee with Southern Springs by Del Webb in Spring Hill. The active adult community will feature 600 homes on more than 300 acres of land.

The community is expected to break ground in January 2016 with an official grand opening in spring 2017.

Southern Springs by Del Webb is located about 35 minutes south of downtown Nashville and 20 minutes south of Franklin.

“There continues to be strong interest and demand for a Del Webb community in the greater Nashville area,” says Jon Cherry, the Company’s division president in Tennessee. “We are excited to be in a position to once again offer the Del Webb lifestyle in Tennessee, as a follow-up to our successful Lake Providence by Del Webb community in Mt. Juliet.”

Cherry added this newest community mirrors a growing trend among active adults, baby boomers and empty nesters who seek the vibrant lifestyle choices that Del Webb provides, but who prefer to stay within close proximity of family and friends.  

“Homebuyers over 50 – also known as baby boomers, pre-retirees, retirees and empty nesters – is the housing market’s fastest-growing category.  Spring Hill’s population has nearly tripled since 2000, with the 2014 population exceeding 32,000 residents. There is no active adult community to meet the housing and lifestyle needs of the active baby boomer.

Southern Springs by Del Webb

The community will feature the legendary Del Webb lifestyle amenities known throughout the country, including a clubhouse, tennis and pickleball courts, indoor pool, and outdoor resort style pool. Additionally, Del Webb residents will enjoy an abundance of amenities surrounding the Spring Hill community. Kings Creek Golf Course is located across Kedron Rd., two miles from Southern Springs. The towns of Spring Hill and Thompson’s Station have active parks and recreation programs with numerous activities where Del Webb residents can participate.

To join the VIP interest list today or for more information, visit  or call toll free at 888-406-3028. 

Del Webb is a national brand of PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM). Del Webb is the pioneer in active adult communities and America’s leading builder of new homes targeted to pre-retirement and retiring boomers.  Del Webb builds consumer inspired homes and communities for active adults ages 55+ who want to continue to explore, grow and learn, socially, physically and intellectually as they look forward to retirement. 

For more information on Del Webb, visit

Original source: Del Webb senior community to feature 600 homes in Spring Hill

Williamson County Home Values Rise


Williamson County Home Values Rise

Values for Williamson County homes continued the upward trajectory in October as the $422,000 median price was 3.4% higher than the same time last year, and the highest median price for October since 2005, according to data from the Williamson County Association of REALTORS® (WCAR).

In addition to median price increases, October saw 379 single family homes sold in Williamson County, an increase of 6.7% over last year’s 355. An additional 39 condos sold during this same period, up 21.9% from the 32 sold last October.

“The sales volume and median price for October is encouraging,” said Chip Kerr, 2015 WCAR president, in a press release. “Volume was in a range similar to 2006, while median price was the highest on record for October.”

The median price was the second highest of any month this year, coming just short of April’s $425,000 mark. This marked the10th month median price exceeded $400,000 dating back to December 2014.

The sales numbers were reassuring for an industry that underwent major regulation changes on October 3. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations required major shifts in the lending industry and threatened to lengthen the closing process by as many as 14 days.

“Seeing sales volume for October increase, even in the midst of adjusting to federal regulations, is a testament to the hard work of housing professionals in our area,” Kerr said.

The 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that first-time home buyers made up 32-percent of the market, compared to 33-percent a year ago. This was the third year in a row to see a decline in that category. Data ranging to 1981 shows first-time homebuyers historically make up about 40% of the market. The survey cites several factors, including rising rents and home prices that impede the ability to save. Scarce inventory in price ranges first-time buyers can afford was also a concern.

“Buyer education is going to be important in the future,” said Kerr. “Prospective buyers need to understand how debt impacts loan qualification. They also need to understand the types of loans and programs available for them to use.

Original Source: October median Williamson home price $422,000

Draper James Nashville


Draper James Nashville

When you hear the term “flagship store,” you think of cities like New York, Paris, London, and Los Angeles. You can now add Nashville to the list. Reese Witherspoon is opening a brick-and-mortar store for her brand, Draper James.

Oscar-winning Witherspoon may be known for movies like Walk The Line, Wild, and Legally Blonde, but she’s also adored for her charming Southern style, which she channeled when creating online brand Draper James. It sells clothing, accessories, and home decor — all with a country flair.

“I have been to the Hamptons only once. I haven’t traveled in the Northeast. What I know is Charleston and North Carolina and the beaches of Georgia. Tailgating. Sipping tea on the porch. Sunday dinners. Dressing for church. Those are the touchstones in my life. Those are the stories I wanted to tell,” Witherspoon told Fast Company.

Inspired by her Tennessee roots, Witherspoon launched Draper James back in May, and after just a few months, she’s managed to raise $10 million in capital for the brand. The next big step? Opening a flagship store in Nashville, TN.

And Draper James’ creative team is sticking to its Southern roots with plans to open a second location in Dallas, TX.

“I have never been particularly urban,” said Witherspoon told Fast Company. “There is a whole world out there, people who are educated and interested and cultural. I want to speak to that audience.”

Original source: Reese Witherspoon Opening Draper James Flagship Store