Center Hill Lake townhomes in the works

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:18am
The Preserve at Center Hill Lake will feature 18-foot vaulted ceilings and stacked-stone fireplaces. Courtesy of The Preserve on Center Hill Lake

A local development group is moving ahead with a $7 million townhome project on Center Hill Lake.

Tom McCormick and his partners — his brother, J.P. McCormick and Cookeville civil engineer Bob Vick — have assembled three parcels of land for The Preserve at Center Hill Lake and will complete their first eight Craftsman-style units this fall. Buyers already have signed on for five of the three-story, 3,400-square-foot homes.

“There’s no supply, but there’s still demand for what we’re doing,” McCormick said.

McCormick is marketing the first-phase condominiums, which are scheduled to be finished in November, at $430,000. The second phase of the project, which also comprises eight units, will launch around the first of the year. First State Bank is financing the project, Cookeville-based T. Thomas & Associates is the builder.

Counting on empty nesters and out-of-staters scouting the region, developers have regularly announced Nashville-area waterfront condo or townhome projects in recent years. Most recently, a local group said it plans to build the Cascadia, a high-end 217-unit project in the Pennington Bend area.

But only project one of note — the glitzy two-tower, 136-unit Braxton project on Cheatham Lake — has actually materialized. And Cascadia is itself an updated plan of another project first announced two years ago.

McCormick’s earthier, lower-density project is aiming at a very different market, in part because the Army Corps of Engineers controls most of the waterfront property on Center Hill Lake. That pushed McCormick up the lake’s slopes to get the views that sell.

The Preserve’s units are built on top of concrete drilled up to 20 feet into the bedrock, which combined with the need for a sand-filtration drip sewer system, limits the scope of projects in the area.

“This area will never be overdeveloped,” McCormick said. “But the sewer system pushed us to build larger units, as did the pre-construction buyers.”

Those early buyers also pressed McCormick to convert his planned basement garages into more than 1,300 square feet of living space that can be separated from the rest of the townhome and be leased.

McCormick came to real estate from the publishing world, where he ran the Medical News Papers chain, which is now owned by SouthComm Inc., the parent company of The City Paper.

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