Case Study

Stone Bridge Lofts in Goodlettsville, TN

6 min read

A New Model for Living Where You Work

New models of employer-assisted housing are emerging, as exemplified by the Amazon Housing Equity Fund’s investments in developing housing near its major employment hubs, in Seattle, Nashville and Arlington, VA to give access to quality affordable and workforce housing.

In Nashville, Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund is doing its first deal with a private developer there, supplying $32 million for low-income housing in the city’s metro area.

Ground was broken recently for Stone Bridge Lofts, a mixed-use development in the Nashville suburb of Goodlettsville, TN. Evan Holladay, founder and chief executive officer of developer Holladay Ventures, says all of the units will be affordable at 50 to 60 percent of area median income.

“In Nashville, that’s families making just under $40,000 a year to making just around $70,000 a year,” he says.

The ground floor of the buildings facing Main Street at Stone Bridge Lofts will feature more than 11,200 square feet of commercial space.

The Amazon investment is a second-position loan, Holladay says. He says this financing helped the project overcome pandemic-related pricing issues and the cost of construction overruns “and still survive as affordable housing.”

“Stone Bridge Lofts is a great example of the kind of attainable housing our Housing Equity Fund was created to support,” says Catherine Buell, director of Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund. To date, Amazon has invested more than $1.2 billion to create 8,500 affordable homes in its hometown communities, including the Nashville area.

“We are looking to be a resource to support developers, such as Evan and Holladay Ventures,” says Michelle Gaskin Brown, Amazon manager of public policy, at the Stone Bridge Lofts groundbreaking. She calls Holladay “persistent, an innovator and he thinks big.”

The deal was structured as straight affordable housing, not employee housing, though Amazon employees are eligible. “Nothing was required of us to provide housing for their workers,” Holladay says. “They are interested in creating quality affordable and workforce housing in the communities they are already serving.”

The units are spacious one- to three-bedroom apartments (800 square feet for studios and up to 1,300 square feet for three-bedroom units). The project is energy efficient, he says, “with Energy Star certification and we’re building to high LEED standards.”

Construction started in September 2022 and is projected to take 24 months. “We will likely start moving into our first units about 20 months out,” Holladay says.

Goodlettsville is just north of Nashville. “It is a quickly growing, quickly redeveloping suburb of Nashville,” he says, which includes the world headquarters of Dollar General and an Amazon warehouse not too far away.

“We’re on the main strip,” Holladay notes. The state has recently funded a totally new streetscape for a two-mile stretch, “and we’re on the northern end of that.”

The idea, he says, “was to make it more walkable and bring more retail and commercial activity and density in that corridor.”

The project’s commercial units will face that street. In addition, Holladay says, the plan is to partner with a few nonprofits for a wellness center or community space.

The advantage to residents is “they can go downstairs and grab a coffee,” he says.

Besides the Amazon financing, Stone Bridge Lofts has received money from four percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and bonds (National Equity Fund is the investor), HOME funds and German American Bank, which did both construction and permanent lending in the first position.

The affordability is obvious. “It’s crazy to me the difference in what our residents pay for comparable units to the market-rate properties, anything from more than $500 to $800 in rent.” And that’s in Goodlettsville. Compared to Nashville proper, the difference can be about $1,000.

“That income level, $40,000 to $70,000, fits a whole lot of families here in Nashville,” Holladay points out.

He is expecting a tenant mix that includes teachers, firefighters, police, retail workers, Amazon employees and drivers, and other working families.

Stone Bridge Lofts is a great model for the type of communities Holladay Ventures hopes to continue developing. “What we pride ourselves on is creating intentionally designed and developed communities set around impact and supportive services for our residents.”

Not only is the design centered around the residents, but the environment as well.

“We’ll have a solar array on the rooftop of the clubhouse, and we’ll have two battery packs. The goal is to have them in a forward-facing location, right in the center of the clubhouse, and we’re going to create a mini sustainable education center geared towards our younger residents teaching them how solar energy works.”

Total development cost is around $94 million.


Tax credit equity was about $35 million.


German American did $28 million in construction lending and $23.5 million in permanent financing.


HOME funds came to $900,000 and there was also a deferred developer fee.

There will be a touchscreen showcasing real-time energy data there and how it is being used, as well as showing cost savings.

In addition, “we’re doing drought-resistant landscaping throughout the community, hopefully using less water throughout. We’re placing energy-efficient windows, a tighter building envelope throughout, and we’re going above and beyond insulation standards. We’ll have all Energy Star appliances, all low-flow water fixtures and the property will be built to LEED standards. We’re committed to do everything we can that is cost efficient and makes our community sustainable.”

Additional amenities include a business center, a gym, a pool, a playground area, a dog park, a walking trail throughout the back of the property, a community garden and a flat green space that needs to be graded from the current hilly terrain.

City and state offices have signed off on the project. The development has backing from the Planning Commission and City Commissioners of the City of Goodlettsville, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Metro Council.

Holladay Ventures has mainly been focused on Nashville and its metro over the course of its existence, but now plans to expand to new markets across the Southeast.

“We’ve done some acquisitions in Louisville and a development deal we sold in Huntsville (AL).” Holladay is also looking out to new markets, like South Carolina and Texas.

Holladay has over $473 million and over 2,276 units of multifamily real estate developed or invested.  

Mark Fogarty has covered housing and mortgages for more than 30 years. A former editor at National Mortgage News, he has written extensively about tax credits.