WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s home to the Cracker Barrel Headquarters and a famous county fair, where there are three main map dots: Watertown, Mt. Juliet and Lebanon. Those three cities in Wilson County are only growing, with other nearby communities taking shape with hundreds of new residential homes.
Gretchen Fitzsimmons, a realtor with the Ashton Group of RE/MAX Advantage, moved to Mt. Juliet in 2012 and says since then there’s a night and day difference in what the area looks and feels like.
Over the years, the farms of Wilson County have formed into finished buildings, many of which are now homes.
“Oh, it’s changed significantly,” said Tom Brashear, Director of Development Services in Wilson County. “There’s now a lot of growth not only in Mt. Juliet but across the county. That has basically changed the face of Wilson County.”
Brashear knows where change is happening most. He says the area off I-840 and I-40, Central Pike and Stewart’s Ferry Pike, is a very active area with lots of subdivisions.
“We are also experiencing quite a bit of significant growth between Mt. Juliet and Lebanon in the north-central portions of the county,” Brashear said.
Another fast-growing community in Wilson County is Gladeville — which includes a massive development that’s in the process of being built called Raven’s Crest. We’re told it’s a more than 500-lot subdivision that’s going in to make room for those moving to a county some once considered far away.
Now, people are flocking to the area, Brashear said — migrating to Wilson County from all over the country. He says the reasoning is likely politics, extreme weather, and high taxes. Moving to Middle Tennessee for the lower cost of living, lakes and schools.
“I could certainly use a breather but I don’t want to see the economy crash either,” Brashear said, adding that up until about four years ago a busy year would have involved 1,200-1,600 housing starts. In 2021, they’re on track to see about 2,800.
And these homes are rising in price.
“It used to be that the median home price was $315,000 a couple of years ago. Now, I have several buyers that are looking to be in Wilson County in Mt. Juliet, and they want to stay under $500K for a newer house, five years or newer and it is very hard to find under $500,000,” Wilson said.
The higher density at an even higher cost is not sitting well with some.
“Their backyard, the woods, the farms will all be houses one day just like the house they own used to be on a farm or woods so it’s going to keep happening. How long is it going to happen? As long as Nashville continues to grow,” Bruce McNeilage said, CEO of Kinloch Partners.
Nashville housing prices are driving some buyers well outside of Davidson County. News 2 explores the opportunity and the impact in those communities in a special series Moving Out.
Keep in mind, a lot of the growth in Davidson County is pushing outward to Wilson County.
“Were looking at trying to find the places that have the best infrastructure relatively speaking to the rest of the county and best potential for retail or commercial development or job production and try to build our density around those centers,” Brashear said.
It’s a strategy straight out of their 2006 land-use master plan that they’re now looking to revise, all in an effort to make sure everyone wins.