December 2, 2016

Nashville Business Journal
by Adam Sichko

A Nashville-based restaurant company riding an epic growth spurt has purchased a turn-of-the-century mansion in downtown Franklin.

The real estate arm of Fresh Hospitality paid $1.95 million on Dec. 1 for the Victorian mansion known as Lillie Belle’s, at 132 Third Ave. S., according to newly filed public records. The sellers were William “Bud” Carman Jr. and Barbara Carman, who had operated the home as an event venue.

As we exclusively reported in October, the co-founders of Biscuit Love are eyeing the space for their third location. The food-truck-turned-restaurant, now part-owned by Fresh Hospitality, has a location in the Gulch and is opening one in Hillsboro Village.

Fresh Hospitality owns and operates almost 20 concepts, and its appetite for expansion seems endless. Since August 2015, when we profiled the brains behind the brand, Fresh Hospitality has spent $20.8 million buying real estate throughout Middle Tennessee. In that stretch, the company bought its first Williamson County property and also bought property in East Nashville, SoBro and on Charlotte Avenue.

“We’ve always loved downtown Franklin, and we continue to look for opportunities to invest there,” said Matt Bodnar, one of the partners in Fresh Hospitality.

Bodnar said it’s not clear yet when Fresh Hospitality might open something in the mansion. He said he had “no further update” on the prospects of Biscuit Love potentially opening in the building. That said, Fresh Hospitality purchased the building via the entity “BL Franklin Real Estate LLC.” Based on Fresh Hospitality’s habit of naming purchasing entities based on the concepts that will occupy the space, “BL” would seem to indicate Biscuit Love.

Tom Lochbihler, president at Arrington-based Loch Co., represented the Carmans in the sale.

Simmons Bank loaned Fresh Hospitality $1.66 million toward the building purchase, according to public records.