16
Mar
By   – Senior Reporter, Nashville Business Journal
 Updated 

A developer is pursuing an immense mixed-use project in Franklin’s Cool Springs commercial hub, a project so large it would ring the entire roundabout at the crossroads it would call home.

Franklin-based The Parkes Cos. Inc. plans a development named Avalon that would contain 510 residential units and nearly 500,000 square feet of commercial space. Proposed features include almost 300,000 square feet of retail space, smaller amounts of restaurant and office space, a 530-seat movie theater, a potential grocery store and a day care, according to documents filed with the city of Franklin.

If built, the development has the potential to kick the evolution of Cool Springs into another gear, much the same way as two nearby mixed-use developments. As seen on our Williamson Watch map, all three represent some of the newest attempts to create an urban environment in suburban Cool Springs, which is the region’s longtime premier corporate office hub. Williamson County boasted the fastest job growth in the nation for five out of six quarters during a stretch of 2015 and 2016. The county also is the fastest-growing in Tennessee.

The 54-acre Avalon site, at McEwen Drive and Cool Springs Boulevard, is less than a half-mile from the Ovation and Bigby projects. Bigby is big in its own right, at $150 million and headlined by office space. Ovation dwarfs Bigby, covering nearly 150 acres and costing well more than $1 billion to build as designed — including almost half-a-million square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and nearly 1,000 residential units. While Ovation co-developer Highwoods Properties Inc. (NYSE: HIW) is under construction on the new U.S. headquarters for major Franklin employer Mars Petcare, Ovation’s other co-developer — Stan Thomas, of Atlanta — has faced and successfully averted five foreclosure auctions scheduled within the past 10 months. Thomas has not begun construction on his half of the Ovation site, where everything but office space is planned

Avalon’s plans include 122 town homes and 388 multifamily units, which could be apartments, condos or a blend of both. Plans also call for 73,000 square feet of restaurant space and 63,000 square feet of office space.

Officials with the city of Franklin are set to review the Avalon plans at an informal workshop scheduled for March 22. No further information — such as the project’s cost, financing and timeline — was immediately available. Calls to officials with Parkes were not returned.

County records indicate that entities tied to Parkes paid $1.6 million for the property in 2003. The bulk of the site wraps around a city fire station.

At a different site on McEwen Drive, west of Interstate 65, Parkes plans to build a Marriott-brand Element hotel.

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