Commercial real estate broker Larry Sims was appointed to the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board last spring to replace former Murfreesboro City Manager Roy Lyons, who had left the board.
“It’s been educational,” he said. “(Chairman) Bill Jones does a great job running it.”
Sims said he brings a conservative, cautious voice to the industrial board, and believes he can offer a logical approach.
The Murfreesboro Post recently conducted a question-and-answer session with Sims about industrial development and real estate.
Q: Tell me the state of the real estate market.
Sims said real estate is the hottest he has ever seen it and it reminds him of the last bust of 2008 because the city and county are approving too many lots.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in real estate?
Sims said the county is having trouble keeping a planning staff, likely because of a heavy workload.
Q: What is the hottest part of town?
Sims said safest are for developers to have success is in the Interstate 24 corridor historically, and now Interstate 840.
“If you get too far away from that, you could be hurt if the market shifts. It can happen quickly.”
Q: Because of land use rights, aren’t there constraints on what the city and county can do to limit over-development?
Sims: “The city can’t put the brakes on development if your land qualifies. They can’t stop it. They can make it hard; they don’t want to admit it.”
Q: Tell me about your company and your current deals.
A: Sims Commercial Realtors & Auctioneers has been handling a 3.6-acre estate that he is helping convert into 10 lots near Northfield Boulevard and Sulphur Springs Road. He is also helping with a 30-acre tract next to Hop Springs Beer Park on John Bragg Highway. That site will be turned into two lots with trails suitable for horse riding.
Sims, a 41-year-veteran of the industry, said he is always learning something new, which helps whenever the market changes. He said he still finds it helpful to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers trade shows.
Q: Do you have any observations on the commercial real estate market?
Sims said he was surprised that The Avenue sold every outparcel. Another situation that has surprised him is the number of medical jobs in Murfreesboro and how that draws residents. Growth in Middle Tennessee and Nashville is a significant driver of new people moving into Murfreesboro and that is driving significant demand for local real estate.