Real Estate

Casino Planned for Tennessee, Virginia Border

Private investors intend to convert a failing Bristol, Virginia, shopping mall into a casino, resort and convention center, The Business Journal reports. The city built The Falls shopping center with taxpayer dollars in hopes to compete with the booming retail sector of its sister city in Tennessee, adding $48 million to the city’s debt and creating a heavy bond-debt. Investors believe the project will be a boon to the local economy, creating somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs in the area. The total conversion is expected to cost $300 million to $400 million.

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Downtown Memphis Development Board Approves First TIF Property

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp., a state-chartered industrial development board in Memphis, recently approved its first tax increment financing initiative, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The Union Row project will develop around 800 apartments, 200 hotel rooms and 460,000 square feet of mixed-use office and retail space in a location between South City and Downtown. Construction is set to start in June 2019, with the first phase scheduled for completion by June 2021.

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Hot Topics in Real Estate 2018

The Tennessee Bar Association Real Estate Law Section in cooperation with the Tennessee Land Title Association recently held its annual Hot Topics in Real Estate program, packing the house at the ‘Batman’ building in Nashville. The seminar remains a staple for Tennessee dirt lawyers, allowing attendees to stay on top of cutting-edge developments while connecting with professionals of a similar focus. The TBA would like to thank the program’s producers, Real Estate Law Section Chair David Wicker and Immediate Past Chair Joe Kirkland, along with the section’s executive council for their hard work in putting this program together.

For those unable to attend, watch for online versions of this program coming soon.

2018–19 TBA Real Estate Law Section Leadership
 
Section Chair: David Wicker — Stites & Harbison (Middle)
Section Vice-Chair: Jim Lenschau — Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP (West)
Immediate Past Chair: Joe Kirkland — Closetrak (West)
 
Eastern Delegates
Brian Kopet — The Title Guaranty and Trust Company
Jay Moneyhun — Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
Ryan McNally — Croley, Davidson & Huie PLLC
Valerie Webb — Webb Sanders PLLC
 
Middle Delegates
Courtney Hollins — Dickinson Wright PLLC
 
Western Delegates
Cathy Frost — Hornsby Law Firm PC
Sarah-Katherine "S.K." Wright — Realty Title & Escrow
 

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Lawsuit Involving US Nitrogen Pipelines Settled for Undisclosed Amount

A longstanding legal battle between landowners and builders of a double pipeline connecting the Greene County US Nitrogen plant to the Nolichucky River ended this month with a confidential settlement, The Citizen Tribune reports. The landowners initially filed a petition asking Davidson County Chancery Court to stop the installation, with some residents claiming the company trespassed on their property during construction. The pipelines, which are used to transfer water from the river to the plant for use in manufacturing liquid ammonium nitrate then to discharge effluent water back into the river, also came under fire from The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation earlier this year for negatively impacting water quality in the area.

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U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Regarding Real Estate Search Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month shot down a petition related to the ruling of a Federal Circuit Court regarding Real Estate Alliance Ltd.’s (REAL) search patents, according to Inman.com. The ruling affirms a Feb. 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that its real estate search tools are not, in fact, patent eligible. The dispute arose in 2007 when Move Inc. filed a lawsuit against REAL seeking a declaratory judgment that the patents were invalid.

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Nashville MLS Stadium Approval Spurs Quick Fairground Reconstruction Plans

Nashville’s fairground reconstruction plans are moving forward following last week’s Metro Council approval of a $275 million Major League Soccer stadium, The Tennessean reports. Construction to begin the consolidation of multiple buildings into a newly transformed expo center is slated to begin mid-October. The new expo center will sit on a currently vacant, lower-elevation piece of fairground land, and it will house the Nashville Flea Market as well as other events. Demolition and construction for the MLS stadium are scheduled to begin after the expo center is completed. The future 30,500-seat stadium and 10-acres of mixed-use private development are planned to sit on higher-elevation fairground land.

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Construction on Nashville's Broadwest Two-Tower Development Scheduled for Fall

The West End Summit site, home to the infamous and recently drained ‘Lake Palmer,’ may see construction beginning as soon as this fall, The Nashville Post reports. Huntsville, Alabama-based Propst Development plans to build two mixed-use buildings which will be called Broadwest and encompass a collective 1.2 million square feet at 1600 West End Ave near the split with Broadway. Local partners on the project include:

  • Chartwell Hospitality, a Franklin-based hotel operations and development company, to co-own and operate the 14-floor luxury hotel;
  • Parks Realty, a Nashville-based real estate agency, to lead condominium sales;
  • The Nashville office of Jones Lang Lasalle for office leasing;
  • Atlanta-based Cooper Carry as the lead architects of Broadwest;
  • The local offices of Turner Construction Company and Hoar Construction as general contractors;
  • Nashville-based Premier Parking to oversee the parking component.

The project could carry a price tag upwards of $500 million.

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Legal Practice Tip: Slander of Title – Clouds on Property Owned by Public Officials

What are your rights if a false lien is filed against property you own

On May 21, Gov. Haslam signed into law Public Chapter No. 1042 which immediately created a cause of action providing for remedies for the successful challenge of the validity of a lien against a property. The real property owner that prevails in challenging the validity of a lien or a slander of title proceeding may recover:
  1. The owner's reasonable attorney's fees; 
  2. Reasonable costs incurred by the owner to challenge the validity of the lien; 
  3. Liquidated damages in an amount equal to ten percent (10%) of the fair market value of the property not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); and
  4. Any actual damages incurred by the owner.
The provisions of the act do not apply if the lien is based on a loan agreement which lists the property as collateral to secure repayment of the loan. The statute became effective on signing.
 
What if you are a “public official?"
 
A separate act was signed by the governor on May 1, which took effect on July 1. Public Chapter No. 913 provides a way for “public officials” to administratively challenge the filing with the register a cloud on an interest in real property by way of an affidavit by the official which sets into motion a process to remove the cloud. This procedure is reasonably complicated but may provide the local and state officials with alternative methods for removing the clouds in a more expeditious and less expensive way and may force the hand of individuals filing such false claims.

Joseph "Joe" Kirkland is an attorney and senior escrow officer at the East Memphis office of CloseTrak, Closing & Title Services. Kirkland is active in the Tennessee Land Title Association (chair of the standing Legislative Committee 2017-19, director of the Board of Directors 2018-19) and the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Real Estate Law Section.
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Cameras Catch Airbnb Guests Illegally Entering Neighbor's Home

Four men illegally entered a woman's South Nashville home last Friday while she was cooking dinner for her young daughter, WKRN News reports. The men were staying at an Airbnb on 9th Circle South in Edgehill, where they hopped over a barrier separating the third-floor balconies of the properties, breaking into the house of Amy Allen. Allen was notified of the intrusion by her security system, which also filmed the ‘bnb’ burglars in action. Allen said she called the police and began looking through her surveillance video when she discovered that the guests from next door had been in her home previously and had stolen a bottle of alcohol.
 
Airbnb rentals remain a contentious topic in Nashville, leading the city to establish a designated hotline to field complaints about short-term rental properties. Since September 2017, Metro Codes has received 1,581 calls on the complaint hotline.

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Remote Online Notarization and Electronic Notarization Now Possible in Tennessee

On May 15, Tennessee became the 6th state to enact legislation permitting the Remote Online Notarization (RON) of documents. Under Public Chapter No. 931, qualified notaries public will be allowed to electronically apply notary seals and additionally, to perform notarizations for individuals via two-way audio-visual communications.  
 
The act now defines “Appear” “Appearance” and “personally appear” to include: appearing before an online notary public by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication that meets the online notarization requirements under rules promulgated by the secretary of state; these will include the standards that must comply with online notarization and “credential analysis” and “identity proofing” to ensure the proper identity of the party to be witnessed and preservation of the notarization act for a period of a minimum of five years.
 
The act also contains definitions for terms such as "Credential analysis," "Electronic document," "Electronic notarial certificate," "Electronic seal," "Electronic signature," "ldentity proofing," "Online notarization" and "Remote presentation," among others. The Tennessee Secretary of State will be administering and promulgating the rules for the orderly conduct of electronic notarizations and remote online notarizations. Public Chapter No. 931 will become effective on July 1, 2019.

Joseph "Joe" Kirkland is an attorney and senior escrow officer at the East Memphis office of CloseTrak, Closing & Title Services. Kirkland is active in the Tennessee Land Title Association (chair of the standing Legislative Committee 2017-19, director of the Board of Directors 2018-19) and the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Real Estate Law Section.
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