A Nashville real estate developer and entrepreneur who is looking to transform a vacant, century-old building at Bank and Vine streets in Decatur said he’s evaluating construction bids for an upscale apartment development there and also an unsolicited offer for a hotel/restaurant project.
“I am extremely excited about facilitating the rebirth of historic Bank Street and the Tower Building,” Darren Metz said last week. “It will be a landmark for generations to come.”
Metz, who owns the real estate development and private equity investment firm Luxeterra LLC, said that “the (apartment) project has been bid out, and we’re in the diligence phase on doing the apartments.” Three requests for proposals for that project were sent out, and two bids were received from commercial contractors, according to Metz.
Metz said last week he’s also evaluating an unsolicited written offer he received about two weeks ago for “a turnkey hotel/restaurant deal” for the property.
“We are considering a variety of arrangements that have not been finalized,” Metz said. “If nothing materializes, we will resume the apartment project quickly. We believe either a boutique hotel or an apartment project will work great for that building and location.”
Metz, through Luxeterra, closed on the purchase of the six-story building on Bank Street in July. He said in August that his plans for the building included 20 upscale apartments on the second through sixth floors, storage space and a workout area in the basement and a restaurant and retail space for the first floor.
“We believe Decatur in general and upper Bank Street in particular are poised to benefit from increased local employment and post-COVID demographic shifts away from expensive big cities,” Metz said.
Metz was referred to the Tower Building by Steve Armistead, a Nashville realtor and developer who grew up in Decatur.
Metz had said he expected to receive about $2 million in state and federal tax credits for the apartment project.
An application has already been approved for an Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, a 25% refundable tax credit that’s available for private homeowners and owners of commercial properties who substantially rehabilitate historic properties listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and are at least 60 years old. Eligible costs for that tax credit include repair of exterior materials, structural systems and interior finishes like floors, walls and ceilings; upgrades to HVAC, electrical and plumbing; and architectural, engineering and land surveying fees.
Metz is still awaiting approval of an application for a 20% income tax credit through the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, a federal program that supports historic preservation. “I’m proceeding as if it’s a given,” he said.
“It’s in line for review,” said Caroline Swope, the historic preservation specialist with the city of Decatur.
Reviews for tax credits are based on the plan that’s submitted, and if a plan changes, “you start over,” she said.