'We place a high focus on sustainability aspects'

Hill Realty's Jimmy Granbery preps for high-profile Hillsboro Village project, many others

Jimmy Granbery is chief executive officer of H.G. Hill Realty Co., a longstanding property development and management company that has made local headlines recently for its planned projects in 12South, Hillsboro Village and Midtown. Nashville Post Managing Editor William Williams recently sat down with Granbery to discuss the built environment business.

The demolition of your Hillsboro Village building has some folks concerned. Many acknowledge its planned replacement structure will offer numerous positives: the trademark quality Manuel Zeitlin Architects design, residential/retail uses, structured parking to replace surface parking, sustainable features, handicap accessibility and some welcomed building height. But they are apprehensive that the loss of the existing structure’s charm, quirkiness and vintage feel will harm the overall vibe of the Village and represent another loss of the city’s already limited historic commercial building stock. Also, they wonder if the future building eventually will be home to local mom-and-pop businesses — much like is the case with the existing structure — or to more regional/national entities. Your thoughts?

We have the utmost confidence that our development team, comprised of Manual Zeitlin Architects, Hawkins Partners, Barge Cauthen and RPM — in conjunction with the design review committee — and Metro Council member Burkley Allen, will pursue the project in a manner consistent with the quality of our other projects in Hillsboro Village and Nashville proper — projects that have been the fabric of our 100-plus-year tradition.

It is our desire to have any plan that we pursue be embraced by the Hillsboro Village community and, to keep our tenants informed, we will make these plans public as they are solidified. 

A large majority of the tenants will be residential, so they will absolutely be local. However, it’s too early to determine the local vs. non-local retail mix.

Will the design be traditional or contemporary. And when will you have a rendering?

We haven’t finalized a design, though we hope to have a rendering in a couple of months.

Some 12South residents are worried that your planned building in that district will be out of scale and character in relation to the overall area. They also lament the loss of the two little homes that had accommodated businesses. Your thoughts? 

The majority of the property was a roofing company, and as such, didn’t add to the character of the area. We have confidence in our design team (Southeast Venture) to create something that will complement existing structures. We are excited to be bringing in more than 100 new residents who will no doubt greatly support local retailers. The building will be about 40 feet tall. Compared to what was there, it will be a tall building, but it will still be in scale with the buildings in the area.

What is the current status of your Midtown building that was last home to The Great Escape?

Now that all of the tenants have moved, we are starting the demolition process on a portion of the building and asbestos abatement. We are working on remodeling the existing building and are currently in the process of securing tenants that we will be announcing soon. 

What is the status of your other proposed projects? 

We are currently seeking tenants at our properties in Donelson, at Sixth and Shelby streets (Hill Realty is planning to have a grocery operator return to the building), and at Charlotte and White Bridge Road (a structure last home to NTB). All projects will include new sidewalks, signage, landscaping and facades and will complement the areas where they are located.

Brentwood’s demo (the building once home to Murray Ohio) is in process, and we hope to have a design plan by this summer.

Our Tiny Town project in Clarksville is currently in its third phase.

Hill Realty has an interesting approach to “green construction.” Please explain. 

We try to be as green as possible and place a high focus on sustainability aspects that have definitive paybacks for tenants. 

Given the expense of participating in LEED certification, we have chosen to put the monies back into the projects. We simply enhance our projects with sustainability efforts that are based on LEED guidelines. 

Your projects in Belle Meade, Green Hills and West Nashville seemingly have been very successful. What type statistics can you provide regarding that success? 

All three have been overwhelmingly accepted by the neighborhoods, and Belle Meade and Green Hills are 100 percent leased. Nashville West has only one vacancy left. The tenants are recording very successful sales figures, and our office tenants are enjoying the good quality of life the developments offer. 

The connectivity to the greenway at Belle Meade has enjoyed a positive response. 

The walkability between the Hill Center Green Hills and the YMCA is great, and we are getting positive feedback at Nashville West as well. 

Since opening, our Belle Meade and Nashville West developments have had no turnover. At Hill Center Green Hills, four tenants have left since we opened the development in fall of 2007 and all spaces have been re-leased. Just about every tenant is renewing its lease, with a few exceptions, as the time arrives.