FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Restoration of the 73-year-old Franklin Theatre received a big boost Tuesday.
Money has been holding the renovation progress back, but that hurdle was cleared when a $3.2 million construction loan was signed.
First Farmers and Merchants Bank of Williamson County will handle the construction loan for the restoration of the historic theatre, located in the heart of downtown Franklin.
"Today was a huge deal because it's a culmination of three years of work," said David Garrett, president of The Heritage Foundation, which agreed to purchase the property in 2007. "We've raised money, but it's paid over three years, so you have to get a loan during this time as the payments come in from the pledges."
The plans call for a new balcony, new bathrooms on the main floor and offices above a second theatre next to the main stage and screen.
The theatre will host movies and live music performances.
Garrett said while people passing by may not have noticed much progress on the property just off the town square, things are moving along.
"Anytime you do a project, you want it to be quicker, but we wanted to make sure it's done right," he said. "We weren't going to do a bad addition. We wanted it, when finished, to be a project everyone in the community would be proud of."
Chuck Isaacs, senior commercial relationship manager for First Farmers and Merchants Bank, told News 2 this is an important project for him, personally.
"We just feel... I want my kids to be able to go to the same theatre I went to," he said. "It's just a great project."
Now that the loan has been finalized and the organization has the $3.2 million, the construction phase will be thrown into high gear.
An official groundbreaking will be held next week.