Nigel and Megan LeBlanc were looking for a family-friendly neighborhood when they bought their house in Donelson last September. They were happy to know they were moving into one of Middle Tennessee’s most desirable communities.
“This is where we want to raise our family,” said Nigel LeBlanc.
Donelson, long known as a quiet suburb conveniently located a few miles east of downtown Nashville along I-40 and Lebanon Road, has a new identity — Hip Donelson.
The name started as a slogan on a community Facebook page, “but it stuck,” said Andrew Bradley, a Realtor with Vision Realty Partners.
Donelson has become so popular that home buyers, many of them young families like the LeBlancs, are engaging in bidding wars when houses come on the market.
“We put bids on six houses before getting this one,” said Nigel LeBlanc. “There were homes we saw and put in an offer that day. But there were always three or four offers.”
The LeBlancs’ real estate agent, Re/Max Realtor Sharon Kipp, said their experience is not unusual.
“Donelson has been discovered. It’s hot,” she said.
Area packed with amenities
Bradley said that for the past two years, every house he listed for sale has received multiple offers.
“A listing in Donelson is like a check in the bank,” he said.
Bradley said Donelson’s popularity is no surprise, given its long list of attributes. In addition to neighborhoods filled with family-ready ranch houses, they include commuter rail service provided by the Music City Star, recreation on the Stones River, Percy Priest Lake and city greenways, and the region’s largest community farmers’ market. The farmers’ market had 60,000 visitors last year.
The market operates Fridays from May to October in the parking lot of the Ace Hardware store on Lebanon Road. It is the only one in the region accessible by bus and train service, he said.
“I have a client who gets on the train and rides from Mt. Juliet just for the farmers’ market,” said Bradley.
Hip Donelson is more than a slogan, he said. It is the name of a nonprofit organization that promotes community activities and support for local businesses. It even helps locate lost and found pets.
“You get your pet back in an hour,” said Bradley, who helped co-found Hip Donelson several years ago with Frank Trew and Jeff Syracuse, who is a candidate for Metro Council. The organization’s Facebook group has 17,000 members.
Neighborhoods attract families
Trew lives in the house where he grew up. His father built it 56 years ago.
At first, the name Hip Donelson mystified some people, he said.
“People used to ask me, ‘What’s hip about Donelson? Is it hip replacements?'” he said.
It soon became clear that for many home buyers, Donelson was their location of choice.
At the heart of Donelson’s resurgence is the suburb’s quality of life and the availability of affordable ranch houses that attract families who feel priced out of other neighborhoods.
“They start in East Nashville and then come over the river to Donelson,” said Bradley.
As the competition to buy homes in Donelson increases, they’ll have to be persistent. It took the LeBlancs seven tries before they submitted the winning bid for their 2,100-square-foot ranch-style house.
They’re glad they kept trying. The LeBlancs have a young daughter, Marlee Josephine, and another child on the way. Their new neighborhood seems like a place where all the parents look out for one another’s kids.
“Just like where I grew up,” said Nigel LeBlanc. “I’ll let my kids go out and play.”
Original article from The Tennessean by Bill Lewis at 615-262-5862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.