Nashville Is Open For Business
And Job Seekers Are Responding

Stephen Close

Originally left for dead after the Great Recession of 2008, Nashville is now a major destination for job seekers and corporations.

NerdWallet has ranked Nashville as the No. 3 city in the nation for job-seekers in 2017. Factors in the ranking: the local unemployment rate is a low 2.9%; population growth between 2010 and 2015 was nearly 30%; and earnings for full-time workers average over $40,200/year, which isn’t as much as some other markets, but the cost of living is low.

Greg Adkins, the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association and Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, told Bisnow that the city reached an all-time record in visitors in 2017 (14.5 million), representing about $6B in direct economic impact.

“Those kind of numbers mean huge payrolls — $1.5B in payrolls,” Adkins said. “The hospitality industry employs about 10% of the population, and while that many visitors is great, we’re also seeing issues with labor. Probably most of our members always have a position open at their businesses. That didn’t used to be the case.”

As of 2017, Nashville was ranked among the nation’s top 10 real estate markets to watch, according to the annual PwC/ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. This is the city’s third year in a row to make the Top 10. In actuality, Nashville dropped from sixth to ninth place, but the reason is that new cities had placed on the list.

“On a net basis, 20,000 people are expected to move to Nashville annually over the next five years and that’s a very positive trend”

PwC/ULI partner Mitch Roschelle explained to The Tennessean that part of the reason for Nashville’s ranking: the cost of doing business being 88 percent of the national average and local growth in disposable incomes  projected to be 40 percent higher than the national average over the next five years.

Also: the city benefits from a growing population of those aged 15-34 (Millennials and Generation Z). Roschelle said that this demographic is estimated to grow as much as four times the nation’s average over the next five years.

“On a net basis, 20,000 people are expected to move to Nashville annually over the next five years and that’s a very positive trend,” he said.

AllianceBernstein, one of the nation’s largest money managers (managing $550 billion in assets), is moving its headquarters from New York to Nashville after 50 years in Manhattan. The reason: cost savings, including lower property taxes, easier commutes and a cheaper cost of living for its employees. More than 1,000 employees will participate in the move, which will be completed by 2022.

In Nashville, healthcare is the largest and fastest-growing industry, with 250 healthcare companies HQ’d in the region.

A $5.2B proposal for a revamped mass-transit system for greater Nashville would expand light rail, bus service, and install a major tunnel beneath Downtown Nashville that would be the nexus of the city’s new transit lines.

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One of KBS’ feature properties in Nashville is The McEwen Building   located at 1550 West McEwen Drive, Franklin, TN.

This Class A, 175,262-square-foot mixed-use building was constructed in 2009 and sits on 10.9 acres in the Cool Springs submarket. The property is part of the Southside at McEwen planned development, which includes Whole Foods, Farmers Banks, Pei Wei restaurant, Lululemon and other nationally branded retail shops. The property’s common area, which features a fountain and plush landscaping, has been used by several tenants to promote team-building activities.

The McEwen Building is comprised of seven floors with six floors of office space and the ground floor dedicated to retail.  The building boasts two grand lobbies.


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Stephen Close is a Senior Vice President for KBS, overseeing over 2.8 million square feet in the eastern U.S.