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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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Hillside project still in uphill struggle

By Chris Nichols - The Union Democrat
October 16, 2006

Fourteen years after the controversial Sunrise Hills development was approved by the city, homes continue to pop up at the Sonora subdivision.
The first phase of the subdivision, carved into a prominent hillside high above downtown, is nearly complete, with about 70 of 83 homes built.
Yet the future of Sunrise Hills' second phase, originally planned as about 90 more homes, remains murky at best.
Today's stricter building limits on city hills, plus millions of dollars in tax debt, will likely delay any more construction for years to come.
"It's not going to be a quick process," said John Pierce, vice president of Woodland-based Tower Investments, which owns a 32-acre stretch of land on the southeastern portion of the hill, planned as the second phase. "There's just too much debt."

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California ranchers stake claim south of Broadway

David Marks, senior vice president of Tower Ivestments, at his office in Woodland, Calif., on Thursday. This property is only going to be appreciating as things develop around there,
By Chas Sisk - The Tennessean
October 15, 2006

A California ranching family with property interests in 13 states and Canada is buying into plans to build a new convention center in downtown Nashville.
The Marks family, which owns Woodland, Calif.-based Tower Investments LLC, has signed contracts to buy eight acres south of Broadway, including part of the site selected by a study committee as the best location for a new convention center and hotel.
"We're supporting the convention center and that plan," said David Marks, a senior vice president at the family firm. "We like the opportunity."
The deals appear to establish a price of more than $60 a square foot for land in the neighborhood known as SoBro - double the asking prices a decade ago.

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Purchase boosts family's holdings in Midstate area

By Chas Sisk - The Tennessean
October 15, 2006

It wasn't exactly love at first site, but it's fair to say that the big, wide parking lot behind the Gaylord Entertainment Center caught the eye of David Marks and his family of real estate investors not long after they arrived in Nashville.
"This property is only going to be appreciating as things develop around there," he said. "It's in the path of development, and it's a large piece of property. A large piece of real estate in the downtown is difficult to find."
With their acquisition of that 5.7-acre lot and another across the street, the 2.3-acre Chilton Industrial Machine and Tool Co., the Markses have more than doubled their investment in downtown Nashville, adding to a portfolio that already in cludes three buildings on Lower Broadway.
The investment is one of more than 100 that the Markses have made across the country and Canada through Tower Investments LLC, their family firm based in Woodland, Calif. They have amassed their portfolio without much fanfare, occasionally drawing praise from local officials without causing controversy.

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Jackson property sold to California company

By Memphis Business Journal
September 25, 2006

Tennessee Real Estate Holding Co. has sold a 630,000-square-foot building on 60 acres in Jackson, Tenn.
The company is an LLC formed by Tomkins/Gates, a manufacturing holding company.
The property is located at North Parkway and American Drive in Jackson and has frontage along the L&N rail line.
Philadelphia-based Binswanger represented the seller in the transaction.
Tower Investments of Woodlands, Calif., purchased the building and plans to retrofit it and subdivide the space for smaller tenants.

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Ione Bonds Reach End of Long Road

By California Municipal Bond Advisor
September 1, 2006

As we mentioned the other month, the sale of new bonds was imminent in order to pay off the defaulted Ione CFD No. 1989-1 and 1989-2 Special Tax Bonds (Country Club Estates).  That sale has now closed and holders of the existing bonds that matured on or before October 1, 2005, should have received full payment on their principal and all accrued interest on the August 16 payment date, according to trustee U.S. bank. (If we read the trustee's notice correctly, bonds maturing after that point are defeased until they are called and paid off this Oct. 1.  The bottom line is that you're getting paid off; the trustee can answer your questions if we read that wrong.)

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California Company Brings Big Investment to Rochester Area

By Press Release
August 22, 2006

1350-acre Elk Farm Project to Offer Premiere Residential, Commercial Developments
ROCHESTER/PINE ISLAND, MN (Aug. 22, 2006) - Adding to the excitement and economic development growth of the City of Rochester and its surrounding areas, Tower Investments of Woodland, California revealed Tuesday plans for a master planned development project, which will include commercial development, technology park and residential development.
Located between Rochester and the Twin Cities off of U.S. Hwy. 52, the 1,350-acre property, known by area residents as the "Elk Farm," will host more than 700 acres of dedicated open area and residential development, 400 acres for commercial zoning and approximately 200 acres reserved for the technology park and other industrial developments.

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Calif. company buys land near Flagship

By Lindsay Whitehurst - The Herald Bulletin
July 29, 2006

They started with something old, but they didn't stop there. This week, Tower Investments bought a piece of the new economy in Anderson.
The Sacramento, Calif.-based company bought the old Guide Corp. Plant 9 last year. Last week, they bought 60 acres of farmland near the Flagship Enterprise Center for an undisclosed sum.
"We got to know the community and better comfort level for where it was (economically)," Matt Marks, senior vice president at Tower, said. "It seems like it had been hit hard (by job loss) but it's coming out of that."
The company plans to develop the property into commercial, office or light industrial space, Marks said. Work should begin in the next six months, depending on market forces. The company will either develop the land itself or sell off parcels to other developers.

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Big River building slated for retrofit

By Christine Buttorff - The City Paper
July 18, 2006

The look of Lower Broadway will soon be changing, and not just with the possible beginning of construction of a Westin hotel that would loom above the street's honkytonks.

Starting this fall, the building housing the Big River Grille and Brewing Works restaurant will be retrofitted with two extra floors and several terraces, providing 28,000 extra square feet of commercial and office space.

Nashville-based Everton Oglesby Architects is handling design work.

Several months ago, California-based real estate investment company Tower Investments LLC purchased the Big River building, located at 111 Broadway, and two other Lower Broad downtown properties.

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