Why this Louisville-area private-equity firm has taken a liking to Nashville
By Marty Finley – Reporter, Louisville Business First
New Albany-based private-equity firm Patoka Capital LLC has grown fond of Nashville after helping bring a franchised Wild Eggs restaurant to the city.
The investment firm, known for its Xscape Theatres cinema chain, also is one of several partners in CityLinks, a condo project that has been announced for downtown Nashville.
Dan Von Behren, managing director and CFO of Patoka Capital, said that project should break ground in early 2017 with an 18- to 24-month time frame.
Patoka Capital has not disclosed its investment in the 71-unit luxury condo project, but Von Behren said Patoka is one of several investment and development partners that are working with Houston-based developer Meeks & Partners on the $50 million development.
CityLights stands out, he said, because the luxury living complex brings a lot of residential space per unit to downtown Nashville. The average price of the condo units, which range between 1,800 square feet and 3,400 square feet, is about $1 million, but Von Behren said some of the lower-end units are in the $500,000 range. The high-end penthouses will sell for more than $3 million, and residents will choose from two, three- and four-bedroom units.
A restaurant also is planned for the development, though Von Behren said the concept is still being sorted out.
According to a June news release, amenities at CityLights will include a rooftop terrace with a sky lounge, a swimming pool terrace, a green roof, an exercise facility, a full-size club and game room and a conference room.
Patoka Capital became a major investment partner in Wild Eggs after reaching a deal with the founders, Eggheadz LLC, now known as Wild Eggs Holdings Inc. Since that agreement was struck, Wild Eggs has added new locations in Cincinnati and Indianapolis and a franchised location in Jeffersonville.
Von Behren said Nashville is a great market for Patoka Capital because of its rapid growth, and he said the company was looking for other investment opportunities as it was expanding Wild Eggs there. This project stands out because Patoka Capital's major portfolio investments tend to lean toward the retail sector.
"The demographics fit really well," he said.
The CityLights project comes as Patoka Capital finalizes plans for an expansion of the popular Xscape Theatres movie cinema location at Blankenbaker Station Business Park off Interstate 64 in Louisville.
Earlier this year, I reported that Patoka is upgrading the East End theater by adding two movie screens, 450 additional seats and about 300 new parking spaces. The additions represent a sizable expansion of the facility, which currently has 14 screens and stadium-style seating in all of its auditoriums. It seats about 1,600 people now.
The two new screens will double the number of "Xtreme" screens at the theater, according to Patoka CEO Chance Ragains. Xtreme screens are larger than normal, about 72 feet wide, with high-end digital projection equipment.
Von Behren said Monday that the project is on track and that the new theater rooms and parking should be ready for use by the second quarter of 2017. He expects the expansion to fill a substantial need as the theater has quickly grown in popularity.