November 15, 2016

Nashville Business Journal
by Adam Sichko

Hyatt is aiming to open a business-class hotel as part of a mixed-use development in Franklin that would also feature something rare in that part of the market today: top-grade office space available to rent.

A 122-room Hyatt House would join a 175,000-square-foot office building as some of the pieces of the proposed Mallory Green project, according to plans on file with the city of Franklin. The Hyatt House would be one of two extended-stay hotels in the project, along with a 119-room Staybridge Suites.

If built, the project would mark the Middle Tennessee debut for developer Al. Neyer LLC, which is based in Cincinnati and is one of many newcomers eager to leave their mark on Nashville’s boom. Seven months ago, the company aborted plans to buy Franklin’s A-Game Sportsplex and convert it into office space, amid controversy surrounding a lawsuit that two club teams filed against the athletic facility’s ownership. Al. Neyer was not a party to that lawsuit.

For Franklin, the Mallory Green development would accelerate the building boom seen on our Williamson Watch development map. While it’s not quite the volume Nashville is witnessing, Williamson County is undergoing an overhaul of its own, with developers drawn to its stature as the fastest-growing county in the state and the region’s longtime corporate headquarters hub — one that is adding jobs at a faster clip than any other county in the nation, according to the latest federal data. That economic activity has soaked up all but the last drops of available office space from the county, blocking companies that are trying to grow or relocate there (99.1 percent of the office space in Cool Springs is taken, according to real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield).

Franklin’s planning commission is set to vote on Al. Neyer’s plans at its Nov. 17 meeting. A potential second phase of development would create another equally sized office building. Al. Neyer is not pursuing city approval for that just yet.

Plans filed with the city list the hotels’ owner as Dakota Legacy Group, of Fargo, N.D. Previously, Rob Gage, the top local executive for Al. Neyer, said his company would partner with a national hotel developer to work on the Mallory Green project. Currently, Dakota Legacy Group is building limited-service hotels in Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; and Largo, Md., according to the company’s website.

The hotels and the office building would all be five stories tall, according to plans.

Al. Neyer is under contract to buy the 18-acre site at 3375 Mallory Lane from Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE: DRE). The purchase price hasn’t been made public. The companies expect to close the deal before the end of this year, and Gage has said he intends to begin site work shortly thereafter.

The office building will cost about $50 million to create, Gage has said. The status of financing is not yet known.

The office building is scheduled to open in early 2018, and the hotels should be on a similar time frame, Gage said.