Topping off a building is a project milestone, marked by the last structural beam or roofing piece being put in place. Today we celebrated the Topping Off at Vertis Green Hills with free lunch for construction workers and Southern Land Company (“SLC”) employees, and the ceremonial placement of a Magnolia tree on top of the building – which will stay on top until the project is finished.

Several SLC leaders spoke to the crowd of over 400, which met on site at the project located at 4000 Hillsboro Pike in the Green Hills submarket of Nashville, TN. Tim Downey, Founder & CEO of Southern Land Company, spoke to the group and expressed his gratitude and support to all the hard-working men and women who have worked on the project. “It’s so wonderful to see everyone here today, to help us celebrate this incredible milestone, and I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to this project,” said Downey.

Bert Warbington, Project Executive for SLC Commercial Construction, also expressed his gratitude and specifically praised the construction team for adhering to the high level of safety standards set forth by SLC. Of the 320,000 man hours put into this project, there has been no time lost due to injury.

What’s the tradition behind a “Topping Off” celebration and placing an evergreen tree on top of a building?

It turns out that this construction celebration has ancient roots. The most widely cited story credits pre-Dark Age Scandinavian cultures, with the practice of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree dwelling spirits of their ancestors that had been displaced, or for cutting trees for lumber to ward off evil spirits.

In those days, everyone pitched in to help a farmer build a new house or barn. The community would contribute their labor until the highest horizontal beam was in place. At that point, to express his appreciation, the farmer would have a party for all his friends. An evergreen tree was placed on the highest point of the structure for good luck, and to indicate to all that the building was nearing completion and a celebration was in order. The practice migrated to England with Scandinavian invaders in the mid to late 8th century and took root there.

Regardless of whether or not the story is true, the evergreen planting symbolizes positive vibes, good luck for future occupants, continued growth, a safe job site, and celebrates an important achievement in a building’s construction. We hope for the same for Vertis Green Hills.

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