$80 million development could bring hotel to downtown Franklin - WKRN News 2

$80 million development could bring hotel to downtown Franklin

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. -

Downtown Franklin is known for historic charm, but the block between First and Second avenues and Main and Bridge streets is less than charming.

It has several dilapidated buildings and unsightly empty lots.

Franklin City Manager Eric Stuckey told Nashville's News 2 that developers have been expressing interest all across the city and in historic downtown.

"This most recent one relates to the opportunity to maybe bring a boutique hotel and some other residential and retail opportunities to downtown in a block that really could use some redevelopment," Stuckey said.

Harpeth Associates, formed by Roderick Heller and Jay Franks, own 90% of the block between 1st and 2nd avenues north and want to redevelop the area.  

"We are still in the very early stages. We don't even have a direct proposal yet in our development process," said Stuckey. "We are looking forward to working with them through that and will work through the process."

Early Harpeth Associate plans include putting in a 100 room hotel or inn, more than 225 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail and at least 500 parking spaces.

"The vision is to try to tie into the nice look and feel of downtown," said Stuckey.

In a news release, Roderick Heller said, "Our project is based on the vision that Jay and I have for Franklin. We believe that, as the dynamic and diverse economy of Middle Tennessee continues to expand, Franklin increasingly will become the geographic, historic and cultural center of the greater Nashville Metropolitan area. While maintaining its small town feel and retail attractiveness, Franklin can expand its appeal and offerings to resident and visitors alike."

The statement continued, "As long-term owners, we want our project to be viewed 20 years from now as having been a splendid addition to a uniquely attractive place to live and visit and as a catalyst for planned growth."

According to Stuckey, there is still a lot that needs to happen before the project can move forward.

Harpeth Associates is planning to invest over $80 million in the project and hope to begin construction by next spring.

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