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Harpeth Square presented tonight for first time to BOMA, Planning Commission


An aerial view of the proposed Harpeth Square shows the tentative footprint for an $80-million project that includes a luxury hotel, retail shopping and apartments.

At 6 p.m. tonight in Franklin’s City Hall, representatives of Harpeth Square, a mixed-use planned unit development proposed for First and Second Avenue, will present preliminary plans for a 120-room luxury hotel, high-end apartments, retail shops and parking. 
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet jointly with the city’s planning commission.
Both rezoning issues and a development plan will be discussed for what has been called by preservationists as the “largest redevelopment project in downtown Franklin’s history.”
The project, unveiled to the general public last July at the Franklin Theatre, is the vision of local developer Jay Franks and attorney and preservationist Rod Heller.
Catherine Powers, Franklin’s Director of Planning and Sustainability, said this week the meeting will be under an hour in length.
“This is just an initial conversation (about the project),” said Powers, adding that there may be some questions from planning commissioners and aldermen, but no votes will be taken.
Heller said yesterday he plans to stress three points at tonight’s meeting.
“We are investors not developers,” he said, adding that the hotel will be handled through Senate Hospitality because he trusts and respects the work of principals, Dave Jones and Glen Malone.
Second, Heller noted “the project is being done because we have a vision. We want the best project, not only for Franklin, but we want to do the best because it will be the best financially.”
And finally, “we are approaching this as businessmen. We won’t do this unless it makes financial sense and the project is consistent with our vision.”
Although no action has been taken on the project, Heller said they have obtained approval for future demolition of several properties involved.
This week the Design Review Committee of the Board of Historic Zoning, heard a request by representatives of Harpeth Square regarding a 700-square-foot structure that needs approval from the HZC before it can be demolished.
Several properties on First and Second Avenues have been given the go ahead for demolition by the commission.
But the detached structure, situated in the rear of the property at 134-B Second Ave. North behind the offices of the Heritage Foundation, has not been given the green light for demolition due to its possible historic significance.
The entire property is owned by Bill Depriest, a member of the city’s Industrial Development Board and Williamson County landowner.

A preliminary rendering of the proposed luxury hotel, part of Harpeth Square, shows the view from East Main Street behind the current Landmark Booksellers shown at right.

1st Avenue View

2nd Avenue View

Posted on: 12/19/2013


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