November 21, 2016

Nashville Business Journal
by Adam Sichko

A developer in Franklin is aiming to capitalize on the spike in home values across Williamson County by creating residences priced a notch or two below those top-of-the-market prices.

It’s a tactic akin to what some urban apartment developers are doing in Nashville, as rents there have surged to all-time highs. Now, Franklin-based Bristol Development Group plans a similar approach with a development the company is pursuing on land it just purchased immediately south of downtown Franklin.

Franklin is the county seat of the region’s longtime corporate hub, reflected in the several-billion-dollar construction boom seen on our interactive Williamson Watch map. Today, Williamson County is the fastest-growing county in the entire state — and one that’s also adding jobs at a faster clip than anywhere in the nation(neighboring Rutherford County ranks fourth in that department). All those factors, coupled with the county’s highly rated public school system, have ensured Franklin homeowners have reaped the benefit of the region’s boom. The monthly median sale price in the county has dipped below $400,000 just twice in the past two years, according to stats from the Williamson County Association of Realtors. Last month, the median sale price was $435,000.

The forthcoming 40 units from Bristol Development will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet or more. Bristol Development is targeting list prices that start in the low $300,000 range, climbing as high as the mid-$400,000 range, according to Scott Black, a senior vice president at the company.

Black contrasted the size and price of Bristol’s housing with the larger and more expensive home sales more common in Williamson County.

“We’re trying really hard to be attainable. The idea is delivering something under that [median] mark, in downtown. That can be very attractive to a lot of people,” Black said. “It opens us up to a broader market … because we’re not shooting for that 3,000-square-foot home buyer. We’re trying to make something that is cost-effective for someone who wants to live downtown.”

Bristol Development, via an affiliated entity named Avondale Park Partners LLC, paid about $1.3 million on Nov. 18 for 5.5 acres, mainly at the address of 302 Avondale Drive. Plans call for 25 town homes, 14 duplexes and a single-family home.

In August, the city approved a zoning change that would allow residential development, nixing the property’s previous industrial designation (a sign of the changing times in Franklin).

Bristol Development needs the city to approve its final plans before work can begin on-site. Black is hoping construction can start in the first quarter of next year.

Franklin Synergy Bank loaned Bristol Development money to buy the land, according to newly filed public records. Black said a final budget for the project is still being decided.

Bristol Development, formed almost 20 years ago, has developed a number of multifamily projects in Nashville, Brentwood and Franklin, as well as about a half-dozen states.