BISNOW's Nashville Multifamily Boom Conference

Shapiro & Company Architects

It was standing room only at BISNOW’s “Nashville Multifamily Boom” conference on Wednesday, October 3rd. With over 250 attendees from all over the country including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, this conference was focused solely on the Multifamily “boom” that’s going on in Music City.

The first panel was focused on what is making people want to move to Nashville. Why is Nashville “booming”? One of the main reasons is people are migrating away from bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles that have high property taxes and high cost of living and are coming to Nashville. Nashville’s property taxes and costs of living are still relatively low, and it offers a lower recession impact mix of high paying industries like healthcare, technology, music, and education. Another question posed to the first panel was “What are barriers to continue growth in Nashville?” Five out of six panelists cited affordability. As soon as Nashville becomes less affordable, the growth will undoubtedly plateau.  

The second panel group was asked, “With a long-term-hold strategy in mind, how should developers go about designing the best unit mix for the future urban dweller?” Katherine Mosley (Tribridge Residential) said that they like to investigate the submarkets of the areas they are building in, measure recent trends in competing products, and then determine at unit sizes and square footages. Brad Shapiro (Shapiro & Company Architects) said that one of the goals for future apartments should be an element of timelessness to where the apartments will still look great in 20 years.

One question that got a lot of response from the panels was about managing your construction costs. Nelson Crowe (Endeavor Real Estate Group) joked that the Contractor fee should be cut! Brad Shapiro elaborated and discussed how his firm, Shapiro & Company Architects, works hand in hand with the Contractor on the front end of the project through the duration of the project to gain current knowledge of construction cost as it relates to design decisions. Shapiro also suggests that you should strive to have enough time to complete a very thorough set of A&E documents that will help minimize possible Change Orders.

Of course, since affordability is a hot topic of the housing industry, the panel was asked what are some factors that are hindering the building of affordable projects. Shapiro and others agreed that stacking multiple financial incentives is essential to making affordable deals possible. Stacking Opportunity Zones, LIHTC, PILOT, and City and State land incentives must carefully be used together to make a deal pencil out.

Another great idea to help promote affordable housing is to work with the government and demonstrate to them that some of the jurisdictional requirements are actually encumbrances and hinderances to affordable housing. Shapiro & Company likes to be proactive and shows politicians ways to help affordable housing i. e. providing a “front of the line” patch through zoning and permitting in order to get an affordable housing deal through more quickly.

The conference lasted for two hours, with plenty of great questions from the audience. The BISNOW organizers noted that due to such a strong demand for these types of forums, they will be increasing Nashville conferences of this kind in 2020.

The first panel consisted of: Ben Collins (Crescent Communities), Jeff Weller (Lion Real Estate Group), Jamie Shanks (Carter-Haston), Jeremy Chism (Bellwether Enterprise), Ryan Keane (James McHugh Construction Co.), Travis Waldrop (Primrose Schools), and Philip Head (Waller) as Moderator.

The second panel consisted of: Katherine Mosley (Tribridge Residential), Josh Landry (Buckingham Companies), Nelson Crowe (Endeavor Real Estate Group), Matt Robinson (MRP Realty), Amy Heskett (Greystar), Brad Shapiro (Shapiro & Company Architects), and Bo Campbell (Waller) as Moderator.