September 1, 2016

Nashville Business Journal
by Adam Sichko

Tony Harris is hoping his upcoming development in Franklin will be a lifeline for small and medium-sized companies, at a time when an historically low amount of office space is available to rent.

Harris expects to start construction within two months on the first of two buildings, which contain a combined 36,000 square feet. As of mid-year, just 1 percent of the 6.6 million square feet of office space in Franklin/Cool Springs was available to rent, according to stats from real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield. The average top-grade Class A space was renting for more than $30 per square foot, a record price.

Harris and his fellow investors believe the demand is there, and they say they’re seeing evidence of it — already negotiating letters of intent with prospective tenants. This is among the comparatively smaller-scale projects popping up in Williamson County, as seen on our Williamson Watch map.

“It is crazy,” said Harris, owner of Brentwood-based Avenue Construction LLC. “There’s just not a lot of opportunity for these smaller square footage tenants. These are tenants that may be overlooked by larger building owners.

“We are seeing there are many Williamson County CEOs that drive by this site every day and have to fight the interstate traffic … and Brentwood too,” Harris added. “A lot of business owners probably would like to hit our site and stop right there.”

Harris, whose company does construction and development work, is one of three investors spearheading the project. The others are doctors Eric Baurle and Craig Freiberg.

The three, via their entity Branch Creek Partners, paid $1.5 million in July for the 14-acre property at 574-580 Franklin Road. Franklin Synergy Bank financed the land purchase.

A cost estimate for the project, and details on the status of construction financing, weren’t immediately available.