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Facelift to Tennessee's The Factory at Franklin to Include Multi-Use Space

Tue February 21, 2023 - Southeast Edition
WTVF-TV & Holladay Properties


Already a popular destination, The Factory at Franklin is partially open while construction continues to create a series of plazas, courtyards, alleys and other places to gather and socialize. Now, it is home to multiple restaurants, bars and shops. (Rendering courtesy of Holladay Properties)
Already a popular destination, The Factory at Franklin is partially open while construction continues to create a series of plazas, courtyards, alleys and other places to gather and socialize. Now, it is home to multiple restaurants, bars and shops. (Rendering courtesy of Holladay Properties)

The Factory at Franklin in Tennessee is undergoing a facelift as part of a revitalization project started last summer.

On the outside, construction equipment lines the parking lot as crews work toward the goal of reopening parts of the Grand Hall and bar area at the main entrance in April, according to its developer, Holladay Properties in Nashville.

The retail and entertainment complex was originally built as an industrial site made up of 10 buildings but is now a national model for adaptive re-use of early 20th Century industrial structures.

Already a popular destination, The Factory at Franklin is partially open while construction continues to create a series of plazas, courtyards, alleys and other places to gather and socialize. Now, it is home to multiple restaurants, bars and shops.

For instance, the project's developer, Holladay's Allen Arender, said when visitors come through The Factory's front doors, they will find Edley's Bar-B-Que, a popular Tennessee eatery, open just to their left.

It will not be the only place to satisfy your appetite at the complex.

He added the hall will soon host another restaurant under the water tower as well as other eateries within the facility like Otaku Ramen and Jeni's Ice Cream.

Plans also call for a carousel, and outside seating, noted Nashville-based WTVF-TV.

Broadway-Style Theater Could Open This Fall

If all goes well, patrons also will be able to grab a drink and dinner before heading to the box office to buy tickets at the new Turner Theater later in 2023.

"They can actually go to a restaurant and go to the theater — that's Broadway, that's New York," Studio Tenn Artistic Director Patrick Cassidy told WTVF-TV.

After 14 years, the professional theater company Studio Tenn will have its first permanent home at The Factory. In the past, the troupe had to build theater space themselves from the ground up.

"We did it all, it was all a fabrication, all make-believe, right?" Cassidy said. "Now it's for real."

He added that Studio Tenn currently is fundraising for the theater project.

"It is our big goal, not just for the theater, but also we're going to have a rehearsal space where we're going to teach kids," Cassidy explained.

Studio Tenn's Tony McAlister called the new location a game changer for the theater group as the industry was hit hard during the pandemic.

"Now they're coming back, but some [performers] didn't make it, including some here locally," he said. "The barn dinner theater didn't make it, and others struggled, too."

But now, the show must go on.

"It will still be very intimate," McAlister said, noting that the new theater will encompass nearly 330 seats.

His hope is that the curtains will open in October.

Millions Invested Into Updating The Factory

Built in 1929, The Factory was originally the home to stove maker Allen Manufacturing Co., before later being occupied by a succession of other manufacturers, including Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef and Jamison Bedding.

In October 2021, Holladay Properties bought The Factory at Franklin for $56 million and are investing much more into the former stove factory to re-use the site as a retail and entertainment venue. The site is located at 230 Franklin Rd., south of Nashville.

Construction began last June on its first phase of renovations that includes re-envisioning the Grand Hall and keeping the complex's historic charm, according to Holladay Properties.

Centric, a Nashville architecture firm, was hired to turn The Factory's 310,000 sq. ft. into an energizing, inviting destination — approximately 150,000 sq. ft. of which will be devoted to retail and restaurant space.

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," he said when Holladay bought the property. "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."

The developers plan to open 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.

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, Tenn."




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