The Factory at Franklin

Holladay Properties, new owners of The Factory at Franklin, intend to create “a little city” at the Franklin complex. Work will begin on the Franklin Road side of the campus, with a refashioned entrance and outdoor activity/dining space.

The Factory at Franklin has been purchased for $56 million by the Nashville office of Hollady Properties, which said it plans on investing much more into the former stove factory to create what it believes will be a national model for adaptive re-use of early 20th Century industrial structures.

Built in 1929, The Factory is a complex of 10 industrial buildings 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.

“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,” said Holladay Properties’ Allen Arender.

Joining Holladay Properties in the redevelopment of The Factory is Arender’s long-time development partner Ronnie Wenzler, an executive director of Cushman & Wakefield. Arender and Wenzler have considerable experience developing historic structures like The Factory, having created contemporary spaces from a mattress factory, a furniture store, a blacksmith foundry, state government garages and a 1960s era shopping center.

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. 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.

They are planning to offer curated shopping, dining and entertainment, 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 said. “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. Among Centric’s adaptive reuse projects in Nashville are the Trolley Barns and Stocking 51 office buildings.

In addition to office space, retail and restaurant space will occupy 150,000 square feet of the 310,000-square-foot complex.

The new owners said they hope to unveil the “new” Factory next fall.

“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.”

“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,” Wenzler said. “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.

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