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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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Sharp takes biomedical campus to Pine Island

By Nancy Busiahn - The Cannon Falls Beacon
February 15, 2007

Two similar projects that might have been competitors have joined hands. Tower Investments, owner of the proposed Elk Run development near Pine Island, has purchased The Falls -Healthy Living by Nature, the brain-child of Stanton Township resident Heather Sharp.

The investment firm acquired Sharp's company, the name, and logo of the project, but not the local property. Sharp, now on leave of absence from Northwest Airlines, has been hired by Tower as full-time executive director. She will continue her collaborations with the University of Minnesota, Northwestern Health Sciences University, and other prospective tenants; work to attract a proposed spa and hotel to the project; and coordinate the project.

Sharp is in the process of visiting similar health care campuses in Denver, Hawaii, and Japan. "I will go there, and look and learn from what they do," she said Tuesday.

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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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Cooperation is keyword at convention center rally

By Blake Farmer - The City Paper
October 17, 2006

With pledges to work with the city on the overall scope of a new convention center, representatives of Tower Investments, a California-based real estate firm, spoke publicly for the first time Monday at a convention center rally downtown.

The rally came on the heels of an announcement concerning the company's contract to buy eight acres on and around the proposed site of the $455 million facility.

"We'll work with the city to develop the property and really work on the overall master planning for the entire convention site and hotel," said David Marks, senior vice president of the family-run firm. "We'll bring in the master plan expertise to ensure that the entire development is a success."

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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. Panerai Replica Watches
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." Best Breguet Replica Watches
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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