The developers of a hotel project in downtown Franklin are ready to break ground.
The original groundbreaking was set to be in January, but now the $90-million hotel, apartment and retail project on 5.4 acres that nearly cover the whole square block bound by First Avenue, Second Avenue, Bridge Street and Main Street will break ground this month, the developer announced Wednesday.
In May, last changes were made, when developer Harpeth Associates asked to bump the size of the four-story hotel by four rooms, from 115 to 119, and gained approval from the city’s planning commission in March and passed a first reading at April’s BOMA meeting.
The high-end hotel, 150 apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail and 3,606 square feet of office space will be anchored around a central five-deck parking garage. Of the 601 spaces, 214 spaces will be public, 152 spaces will go to the hotel and 235 spaces leased to the apartments. Construction will begin this year, with the hotel and garage set to be complete as early as 2018.
It has now been two years since the project gained its first approval in the planning process. In May 2015 the Historic Zoning Commission gave its approval. CEO Roderick Heller bought the first lot– there are 10 in the project’s footprint– four years ago.
Harpeth Square has also started taking reservations for the apartments, which will be three-story buildings and make up much of the facade along Bridge Street, First Ave. and Main Street. Shops will be on the first floor facing Main Street toward First Avenue.
They breakdown into 14 three-bedroom, 71 two-bedroom and 65 one-bedroom units.
The hotel, which will front Second Avenue, will be a Hilton’s Curio, which produces unique, high-end hotels, in partnership with Atlanta’s Valor Hospitality. Its head, Euan McGlashen, is known for developing the Cape Grace hotel in Cape Town, noted by many travel sites as one of the best hotels in the world.
“In the U.S., most reservations come over a brand system,” Heller said. Having a brand also facilitates financing, and a brand can help negotiate with travel aggregators.”
The two existing buildings in the project’s footprint – 198 East Main Street and 121 Second Avenue – have already been leased until 2019 and 2020. Depending on the market conditions, Harpeth Associates might redevelop those properties.