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Nashville’s parking market leader, which developer Tony Giarratana founded, is now owned by Chattanooga-based River Associates Investments LP.

The parking management services firm founded by developer Tony Giarratana that’s now downtown Nashville’s biggest operator of lots and garages is under new ownership.

Chattanooga-based private equity firm River Associates Investments LP bought Premier Parking through a partnership with the management team led by CEO Ryan Chapman.

The deal comes as 16-year-old Premier has grown from one lot at Fifth and Church to a more than 1,200-employee company managing nearly 400 parking locations in 31 cities.

“We’re at a stage in our growth nationally (where) it made sense to our management team to bring on a capital partner that can provide us the resources to continue to grow and grow quickly,” said Chapman, who remains CEO with other executives staying on.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, River Associates Investments said it funded the acquisition with equity from its seventh investment fund, River VII LP.

Financing was provided by NXT Capital and Northstar Capital. Law firm Bass Berry & Sims advised buyer River Associates Investments, while Butler Snow and The Spartan Group advised seller Premier Parking.

Patten Pettway, a partner in River Associates Investments, referred to Premier as a company that’s highly attentive to customer experience and focused on innovative ways to improve that experience. “Those principles will remain central to Premier Parking while we pursue organic and acquisition growth strategies in targeted markets,” he said.

Chapman was Premier’s majority shareholder before the sale with Giarratana a minority owner. The company, which Chapman joined as an 18-year-old college freshman two years after its startup by Giarratana, has been an active buyer of Nashville real estate.

Reach Getahn Ward at or 615-726-5968 and on Twitter @getahn.

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