Real estate developer Meg Epstein, Founder & CEO of CA South, who was born in California, but calls Nashville, Tennessee home, has over a decade of experience creating efficient, modern lifestyles for people in their homes and neighborhoods. Epstein founded CA South in 2015 with the idea of bringing to Nashville her sense of design and style of building honed from her days in construction in the state of California.
NAWRB: What inspired your move from California to Nashville?
Meg Epstein (ME): Love actually! My husband had moved from Nashville in 2012 from San Francisco after visiting for one weekend, and when I met him he lived here. I was of course equally entranced with Music City after having visiting him and seeing all the opportunity here so followed him.
NAWRB: What do you attribute to your business’s continued growth and success in the past six years?
ME: Hustle and perseverance. The real beginning of my business started by me cold-calling for months until I got my first $35M commercial deal funded by a contact I got online. It has scaled-up quickly from there by finding the right people to work with, getting rid of the wrong ones, being organized, creating an in demand product, and being aggressive about every detail of the development process.
ME: I work in the South. As soon as I say I am a developer or manage a fund, people quickly think I work with my Dad or my husband and ask me about the interior design, or assume I am a sales agent. It doesn’t bother me; I just know to expect it. And my investors and backers clearly believe in me, so it’s easier to care less when you are successful. I support several groups that foster women in business, including an Entrepreneurs’ Organization I co-founded with a female thought leader in Nashville called Braintrust (ourbraintrust.org).
NAWRB: What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on?
ME: A waterfront condo project in Nashville that is the first of its kind. It has been an uphill battle, but is unlike anything in Nashville as the waterfront has gone completely underutilized. After several years, it is scheduled to break ground Q1 2020. Also memorable is my first project to complete that is 95 percent sold as it received the Certificate of Occupancy this last week. It got press because we figured out how to allow short-term rental to home owners, which took a lot of coordination, but it is creating an emerging asset class: (https://www.wsj.com/articles/landlords-often-oppose-short-term-rentals-these-developers-court-them-11569317400?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1). This project is returning over 175 percent IRR on equity investment, so highly exceeded our expectations.
NAWRB: What goals do you have for CA South in the future?
ME: Close my first fund in 2020 Q2, and open a second fund. Have $500M AUM in OZ funds and another $500 AUM in commercial opportunistic development by year end 2021; this is in line with our current growth rate. Scale to other South Eastern markets with similar demographic trends as Nashville. Eventually, create a cryptocurrency platform that optimizes blockchain technology and crypto investment in real estate.