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Industrial centers in spotlight

By John R. Pulliam - The Galesburg Register-Mail
June 23, 2007

Tours of Maytag, Butler sites promote possibilities
GALESBURG - Many cities offer a spring festival of homes, having open houses for potential buyers. Galesburg had a similar event Friday, but the buildings were a bit larger. Galesburg Days featured an open house for brokers and Realtors at the former Maytag and Butler Mfg. facilities here.
The tours of the former Maytag factory, distribution center and the 900,000-square-foot Butler Mfg. complex continue today for the public. Anyone interested in touring the buildings that Tower Investments and Industrial Realty Group hope to bring back to life can do so from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours can begin at any building.
Peter Yanson, senior vice president for Quadrelle Realty Services, and Matt Marks, senior vice president, Tower Investments LLC, opened Friday's event with a PowerPoint presentation. Yanson said QRS acts as the property management agency for Tower and IRG.
Marks said Tower has more than 100 active real estate projects in 14 states. Yanson said IRG has 70 projects in about 25 states. While Tower Investments is involved in everything from residential to commercial, retail and hotel projects, Yanson said IRG is "basically strictly industrial rehabilitation in a big way."

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Developers market former Galesburg Maytag, Butler plants

By John David - WQAD TV, Moline
June 22, 2007

GALESBURG, Illinois - Real estate developers and Galesburg leaders are getting a first look inside the massive former Maytag plant. Now owned by a California-based company, this is a chance to find new uses for the facility.
"The beauty is that we can accomodate big users to small users," said Matt Marks, Tower Investments.
The general public will get a rare chance to go inside the former plant, distribution center and Butler Manufacturing on Saturday. Tours will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at all three locations.
When the Maytag plant closed nearly three years ago, most of the remaining 1,600 jobs were wiped out and replaced at a plant in Reynosa, Mexico. After decades of refrigerator production, the bustle of busy workers is contrasted now with wide open spaces.

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Business column: Investors from California buy big slice of Nashville riverfront

By Chas Sisk - The Tennessean
April 30, 2007

Marks family's philosophy behind involvement in redevelopment incorporates a 'simple formula'
It's easy to rhapsodize about riverfront development. But the Marks family doesn't seem like the type to rhapsodize.
To them, the decision to take the plunge on Nashville's waterfront was about cold, hard arithmetic: rising land prices in California plus a good business climate in Tennessee plus a little bit of water equals economic opportunity.
It's a simple formula. So simple that Alex Marks, the family member responsible for residential development, finds it difficult to explain it without seeming glib.
The family came to Nashville "because you have a river," Alex Marks said. "It will sell itself."
Earlier this month, the family's firm, Tower Investments LLC, bought a majority stake in the $250 million Cumberland Yacht Harbor marina-and-condo project. It also negotiated an option on 28 acres owned by the descendants of the founders of the Steiner-Liff scrap yard, the industrial metal recycler now owned by PSC Metals Inc.

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Horse country's exclusive residential development springs up on rural fringe

By Linda Bryant - Nashville Business Journal
April 20, 2007

Exclusive residential communities for horse lovers are emerging on the rural fringes of Middle Tennessee just beyond high-growth suburban areas.
Construction of several homes is underway at Beechwood Plantation in the unincorporated Leiper's Fork area of Williamson County. The second phase of the four-phased, 500-acre project was launched earlier this month.
Huge estate tracts with price tags from $319,000 to $750,000 - ranging from 5. 9 acres to 41 acres - are features of the private development.
About 6 miles of riding trails are available and residents are encouraged to build their own barns, says Alex Marks, senior vice president of Tower Land Co., the developer.
Tower plans to build six private residential communities where horses are welcome on 2,200 acres in Williamson, Maury and Fentress counties, Marks says.

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First home in equestrian-friendly development begins to take shape

Ray Helmsworth, principal broker and owner of RANN Realty, stands at the entrance of Beechwood Plantation, a new equestrian-based housing development in Leiper's Fork. The first house is under constr
By Cathi Aycock - For Williamson A.M., The Tennessean
April 20, 2007

LEIPER'S FORK COMMUNITY ? Beechwood Plantation doesn't do anything small. It has miles of riding trails. Miles of rolling hills and hidden valleys. And miles to go. But at least the first mile, or more accurately, the first milestone, has already been reached.
"We have the first property going up right now. The footings are poured and the vertical walls will be going up next. And we have sold six lots in phase one and two already," said Ray Helmsworth, an agent with RANN Realty in Franklin who is selling the lots in the Leiper's Fork development.
He says Beechwood Plantation is on the verge of much more building activity.
"We are getting the roads completed. Soon, all the lots will be accessible for the builders. It is an exciting time here," Helmsworth says.

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Marks family buys stake in Cumberland Yacht project

By Chas Sisk - The Tennessean
April 19, 2007

Teams with two other investors to take majority interest.

An investment company controlled by a California ranching family has bought a majority interest in the Cumberland Yacht Harbor project in Donelson.

Tower Investments LLC, the real estate partnership owned by the Marks family, has joined with Hardaway Group Inc. of Nashville and Parkes Development Group LLC of Franklin in buying stakes in the $250 million project.

The Markses' previous investments include buying buildings on Lower Broadway and land in the SoBro neighborhood. The family is also developing the Beechwood Plantation equestrian community in Leiper's Fork.

Varallo Investment Properties LLC, an investment company run by project developer Jim Varallo, will retain a minority stake. Terms were not disclosed.

Varallo has been working since 2001 on the Cumberland Yacht Harbor project, which would combine 181 condos with shops, restaurants and a 13.5-acre harbor at the mouth of Mill Creek.


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Tower Investments wraps up SoBro property buy

By Nashville Business Journal
January 18, 2007

A family-owned real estate firm from California has finalized the purchase of a prime parcel in SoBro.
Tower Investments paid nearly $14.8 million for the 5.67-acre site that is just south of the Gaylord Entertainment Center. The land is currently home to a surface parking lot, but supporters of a new convention center have zeroed in on the area as a prime spot for the proposed facility.
The majority owner of Woodland, Calif.-based Tower is Stephen Marks, and five of his children also work for the company, which owns property in 13 states and Canada.
In addition to the parking lot south of the Gaylord, Tower has snapped up some prominent properties on Broadway, including the Merchant's restaurant building and the building that houses Big River Grille & Brewing Works.

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Downtown parcel sells for $15M

By William Williams - The City Paper
January 12, 2007

A prominent piece of SoBro property exchanged ownership hands Thursday in a transaction that is believed to have garnered the single-largest gross sales price for raw land in downtown Nashville.
Arena Properties LLC, comprised of Nashville businessmen Mark Bloom, Larry Papel and Ronnie Scott (among others), sold the 5.6-acre parcel for approximately $15 million to Woodland, Calif.-based Tower Investments LLC. The land, currently used as surface parking that is managed by Central Parking Inc., is bordered by Fifth Avenue on the east, Sixth Avenue on the west, Demonbreun Street on the north and Franklin Street on the south.
The roughly $15 million figure represents about $60 per square foot. By comparison, most raw land (that is, land on which sits no building) in either the Central Business District or SoBro typically commands between $40 and $80 per foot.

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PRIME PARCELS: Tower staking claim in hot SoBro

By Josh Flory - Nashville Business Journal
January 5, 2007

When it comes to downtown development, the area known as SoBro-South of Broadway-is the latest hot spot.  California firm Tower Investments has staked out two of its choicest parcels.
Tower, a family-run firm with a portfolio that stretches from British Columbia to Savannah, Ga., touched down on Lower Broadway a year ago, dropping $9.4 million on a trio of buildings, including the 43,500-square-foot home of the Big River Grille & Brewing Works.  Two empty lots that sit a couple of blocks south round out the trio.
In November, Tower bought an industrial building on Fourth Avenue, just south of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  Formerly the home of Chilton Industrial Machine and Tool, Tower has demolished the building and expects to close on a nearby 5.7 acre parking lot just south of the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

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Purchase preserves wildlife hotspot

Rock outcroppings forming scenic overlooks are part of Skinner Mountain's diverse topography.
By Anne Paine - The Tennessean
October 17, 2006

Plateau's 4,200 acres harbor rare birds, bats
More than 4,200 mountaintop acres near Pickett State Forest have been purchased by The Nature Conservancy-Tennessee for $4.7 million and could be open for hiking within a year.
The property, on the Cumberland Plateau about two hours northeast of Nashville, is a "hot spot" of significant wildlife habitat, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Re-sources Agency.
It's home to big-toothed aspen and butternut trees, several bat species and the cerulean warbler, a rare songbird that migrates as far as Ecuador and Colombia each year.
The Cumberland Plateau itself, where timber companies and others have been selling off land in recent years, is a focal point of the conservancy's efforts to protect land and water.
"The Nature Conservancy uses a lot of scientific rigor to try to figure out where the most important places biologically are, worldwide," said Scott Davis, state director of TNC-Tennessee.

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