A long-discussed plan to bring new development to the east side of Franklin is beginning with a proposal for a new hotel and apartments.
Plans call for an 80-room hotel and a 120-unit apartment complex on the west end of the property, and the developer has asked a city board for help with the project.
Rob and Amy Richardson, who own City View Farm Apartments in Franklin, want to invest about $20 million to bring an upscale apartment complex aimed at millennials and couples and a hotel from one of three chains — Marriott, Hilton or Holiday Inn. They have been discussing the plans for the property and negotiating to buy more than 11 acres of land for months, they said.
Now, they are asking the city to help with that project.
The couple asked the Franklin Redevelopment Commission for a grant of about $560,000, which would contribute about $50,000 per acre of the land they are buying. The grant, if approved by the city board, would come from money the city borrowed to extend its tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts, and put money toward infrastructure and other projects.
Part of the money was specifically set aside for development on the east side. About half was used for infrastructure work, including a roundabout on Paris Drive. The city is also working on projects to redevelop the area as a gateway into the city, with new pillars, trails, monuments and landscaping.
Members of the redevelopment commission are planning to vote on the Richardsons’ proposal next month, but have said they want to make sure they have some protections in place to be sure the development meets their expectations for that area. For example, the city should have requirements for the type of hotel chain that comes to the property, said Keith Fox, a city council member and redevelopment commission member.
The city wants to be sure that whatever hotel is built there will better the city, and should make that a part of their requirements with any assistance offered, Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said.
Members of the city board also asked about other development that could come to the property in the future, such as on the east end, where the former Red Carpet Inn was demolished. The hope for years was to bring in sit-down restaurants, retail and perhaps a grocery store.
Barnett said he would also like to see retail on that property, but that the city can’t control what is developed there. His top concern is bringing in a name-brand hotel, he said.
That property is not a part of the proposed development, Rob Richardson said. But they would be interested in it in the future, he said.
Retail and restaurants typically follow residential development, he said. So those types of businesses will be more likely to come to the area once the hotel and apartments are built he said.
He did not have a specific timeline for when work would be done, but hopes to start construction yet this year. The hotel will likely be built first, followed by the apartments.
One detail they are still working on is what hotel chain will come to the area, he said. They have an application into one chain, but he didn’t want to say who. The hotel is expected to be three to four stories, and could have a lot for development, such as a cafe or other business.
The apartments will be similar to a complex in Carmel, called The Seasons of Carmel, that has been appealing to millennials. The complex won’t be geared to families, like City View Farm Apartments is, and won’t have three-bedroom apartments, Rob Richardson said.
Currently, plans call for the apartments to be spread out among five three-story buildings, and the property could also include a dog park.
The money from the city will help with the purchase of the property, Rob Richardson said. The city can then have a mortgage on the property, until the Richardsons get a loan for construction, using the land as equity, he said.
But after that mortgage ends, the city can still have requirements for the project, such as the quality of construction, he said.