The MetroCenter property located next to the former Watkins College of Art and Design and once home to the retail component of Fountain Square has sold for $24.5 million.

The new owner of the 10.65-acre property — with the address of 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. — is Chicago-based R2 Companies, a real estate development company focused on acquiring renovating old and historic buildings and giving them new life.

The seller was United Methodist Publishing House, which paid $9.25 million for the property in 2014, according to Metro records. UMPH moved to the MetroCenter building (which it seemingly updated in a major manner) last decade after it sold in SoBro property that was later redeveloped with the JW Marriott hotel building.

The MetroCenter building sits on a large body of water and, given the brief lifespan of Fountain Square, is sometimes called The Mistake on the Lake.   

The property offers the main building and two smaller structures, for a collective 145,000 square feet. As such, the deal is the equivalent of about $170 per square foot. Recent area sales do not offer per-foot context given the just-sold property’s robust size, water component and interior building updates.

Zack Cupkovic, an R2 Companies partner, told the Post the company feels UMPH noticeably improved the building’s interior. This is R2’s first local acquisition.

“Our plan is to revamp the outdoor space and we feel the fact that it’s on a body of water is very distinctive,” Cupkovic said. “Our goal with what we call horizontal campuses is to offer a Silicon Valley-style office campus.”

Next to the just-bought property (and at the ex-Watkins site), Chartwell Residential is planning a residential project (read here). For comparison with the recent transaction, Chartwell in May paid $22.5 million for the 13.6-acre property.

Charlie Gibson, locally based managing director with Chicago-based Cushman & Wakefield, and Rob Lowe, executive managing director and partner with the Nashville office of Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners, represented UMPH.

R2 represented itself.

My position with Nashville Post has evolved since 2000 when I began work with the now-defunct The City Paper. TCP became a Post sister pub in 2008 (when I began some Post work) and folded in 2013. I have worked mainly with the Post since late 2011.

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