For the past five years, Andrew Steffens has been guiding one out-of-state developer’s entry into the Nashville market. Now, he’ll be helping a different newcomer developer make its own debut.
Florida-based Ram Realty Services has hired Steffens as a regional director of investments. Steffens will run Ram Realty’s new Nashville office, which represents yet another new stream of real estate investor funds flowing into Nashville — looking to capitalize on the region’s robust population growth and an economy touting the smallest unemployment rate of any large U.S. metro area.
"They’ve studied Nashville, they believe in the fundamentals, and they know they want to be here long-term," Steffens said in an interview on April 23.
Since April 2013, Steffens had been with Alliance Residential. During his tenure, the Phoenix-based company developed about $200 million of apartment complexes — one complex each in Germantown, the Gulch and on Eighth Avenue South. That figure doesn’t include the apartment development Steffens teed up for Alliance on the site of the former Stock-Yard Restaurant, across the street from the Nashville Sounds ballpark. All told, that’s almost 1,200 apartments, making Alliance Residential one of the more active apartment developers in the market.
Steffens described Ram Realty as "a bigger sandbox to play in." One reason is that he won’t focus only on Nashville; he will look for deals as far away as Atlanta, which is a four-hour drive.
Steffens also will be focused on multifamily deals and retail-driven deals as well. For both, Steffens said he’s seeking opportunities for new development and also potential acquisitions of existing properties. He said he’s looking in Nashville’s urban core and in the suburbs as well.
"There really is no ceiling" on what Ram Realty might invest, Steffens said.
Ram Realty is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The 40-year-old company also has offices in Charlotte and in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Ram Realty says it has raised three private-equity funds, a format that means Steffens won’t need to be recruiting potential investors to whatever he has in the works.
"It means the money is there for us to go find good, solid, profitable real estate investments," he said.