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April 24, 2024

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Developers Purchase The Factory in Franklin to Create a “Little City”

The Nashville office of Holladay Properties, led by Allen Arender, has purchased The Factory at Franklin (230 Franklin Rd, Franklin) for $56 million and are investing much more into the former stove factory to create what the new owners believe will be a national model for adaptive re-use of early 20th Century industrial structures. Madison Wenzler of the Wenzler-Havens team of Cushman & Wakefield’s Nashville office represented Holladay Properties in the sale,  and John Haynes of the Bradley law firm provided legal counsel.

Built in 1929, The Factory is a complex of 10 industrial buildings that was originally constructed for stove manufacturer Allen Manufacturing Co. and was later home to a succession of manufacturers: Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef and Jamison Bedding Company. In 1996, Franklin businessman Calvin Lehew purchased the property and converted it into a retail and entertainment complex.

Joining Holladay Properties in the redevelopment of The Factory is Arender’s long-time development partner Ronnie Wenzler, an executive director of Cushman & Wakefield.

“At The Factory, we will bring together the lessons we learned from our other successful reimagining of historic structures. In every case, we took time to discover the essence of the building and then created a place that made the most of this essence. This same process will guide our redevelopment of The Factory,” Arender said.

The developers said they are looking at this project like creating a little city – with plazas, courtyards, alleys, nooks and other places to gather and socialize, or maybe to quietly collect yourself. They also plan to open up the space so visitors can see the bones of the structures and feel how the 10 buildings relate to each other to create a unique environment.  And they will activate the exterior. Not all of the action will be inside.

But what is inside will be worth experiencing. The developers are planning to offer a truly curated shopping, dining, and entertainment experience, along with a significant amount of office space that can be adapted to many types of businesses.

“The Factory will be a place you can work at all day and then meet your spouse and kids for dinner and a show,” Wenzler added. “And what makes it like nowhere else is that the energy of this newly reimagined little city will be just a short walk from one of the most charming small downtowns in America: Franklin, Tennessee.”

Holladay Properties has retained Nashville architecture firm Centric to help them turn The Factory’s 310,000 square feet into an energizing, inviting destination. Among Centric’s adaptive reuse projects in Nashville are the Trolley Barns and Stocking 51 office buildings.

Leasing of approximately 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the “new” Factory will be handled by Elliott Kyle with Equitable Property Co. and Elam Freeman of Ojas Partners. Office space will be leased by Michael Havens, Madison Wenzler and Ronnie Wenzler.

“We are about a year away from welcoming everyone to the new Factory,” Arender said. “This is a long-term project. As Middle Tennesseans, we want what is best for our community, and that means taking time to do it right. Our vision is to create the preeminent mixed-use hub for Franklin, Williamson County and southern Middle Tennessee that will draw visitors from throughout the region and the nation.”

Arender and Wenzler have an award-winning touch for converting decommissioned industrial buildings into striking contemporary spaces. The Sawtooth Building, a former mattress factory at 2030 Lindell Ave. in the WeHo District, won the Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence, the Metro Historical Commission Preservation Award and was named Redevelopment of the Year by NAIOP – Nashville, Middle Tennessee’s leading commercial real estate development association. .

In collaboration with the city of Nashville, Holladay Properties is also revitalizing Donelson Plaza, a 1960s era shopping center, into a modern town center for the Donelson Community, featuring a new public library and refurbished building facades, courtyards and landscapes around retail and office space, with new apartments on the way.

“The Factory is a large canvas and superlative. It’s exactly the kind of building we have cut our teeth on, a former industrial campus with beautiful bones. With some thoughtful polish and a lot of energy it will be translated into attractive, highly functional contemporary space with a historic vibe that is impossible to create in new buildings,” Wenzler said. “This project is a statement and super exciting for us!”

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.