Nashville investor Ben Willingham just sold his Collins Avenue retail building to an affiliate of the Riese Organization, a New York restaurant group, for $23.8 million.
The deal covers 624 Collins Avenue, a two-story commercial building that measures 8,445 square feet. It was built in 1922 and is leased to Club Monaco, a mid-priced clothing chain owned by Ralph Lauren.
The transaction came through a complicated web of deeds: two entities controlled by Willingham sold the Riese affiliate a 94 percent interest in the property for $22.56 million.
Then, Willingham sold the remaining six percent interest in two separate deals to Patrick Maxell and Georgeanne Chapman, two Nashville residents, for $1.24 million. The intermediaries then transferred their interests to Riese for the same dollar amount.
Riese, headed by Dennis Riese, financed its purchase with a $10 million loan from New York Community Bank. The organization is known for its expansive restaurant holdings in New York, most of which are fast food or fast casual.
That could be changing, however. According to a 2013 profile of the group in Crain’s, the Riese Organization is looking to expand into upscale restaurants after filling its coffers with $85 million from a Times Square property sale.
A request for comment to Riese was not immediately returned.