A transaction took place this week that ripples in multiple directions and is an important story for downtown. It involves large amounts of money, personalities who are shaping the city, and a strong statement on the current value of real estate. The transaction was between HD Patel and Josh Smith, two names becoming increasingly prominent in the downtown story.
Josh Smith rose from incarceration to become the owner of Master Services, which he sold in 2019 for enough money that he immediately donated $10 million to “start the local prison reform nonprofit, Fourth Purpose Foundation.” The foundation is currently investing $3.3 million to renovate a former hotel at 211 Jessamine Street into a half-way house for released prisoners, to be operated by the Men of Valor organization. (Read that story here.)
He subsequently purchased the building at 304 Gay Street which is now host to Ethan Long, DDS and a 10,000 square foot home that he renovated and began offering for short-term rental. You can see my tour of the home and read my interview with Josh from May of 2021. He also purchased the adjacent empty space at 308 (more of a hole at this point than a lot), with the intention of building a seven story mixed-use building. He delayed the project due to high construction costs and supply chain issues. The purchase price for the two properties in October 2020 was $3,775,000.
Another name emerging in downtown real estate and business over the last year has been HD Patel and his Ephant Group. Last October I reported his 99-year lease of the former TVA Credit Union Building at the corner of Gay and Wall Avenue with the plan to develop the building into two commercial spaces on the first floor, the Sky-Lite Hotel on the next two floors, and a roof-top bar on the top. That building has been subsequently gutted in preparation for construction. You can read the details of the project and his other holdings here.VIEW ARTICLE