By RUSSELL VANNOZZI
If early indications are accurate, Heartland Partners president Brian Schiedemeyer might be on to something with his vision for the 231 Public Square project in Franklin.
The 43,000-square-foot redevelopment overlooking Franklin Square will house several office tenants and two restaurants, including a yet-to-be-named rooftop venue that already has residents clamoring for reservations.
“I received a call from a guy wanting to make dinner reservations for ten this coming October,” Schiedemeyer. “He doesn’t even know what the restaurant will be yet, because we haven’t agreed on a lease (with a tenant).”
The commercial real estate developer and general contractor also spoke of a woman looking to reserve the venue for a wedding party months ahead of time. So yes, there is plenty of demand for a rooftop bar and restaurant in Franklin, a town not typically known for its nightlife.
Numerous suitors have expressed interest in leasing the 10,000-square foot rooftop area, but Schiedemeyer is focused on finding a tenant that is “the right fit” for the space, which he envisions as a bar, restaurant and private event venue.
“There aren’t a whole lot of unique places to go to in Franklin,” he said. “And everything in Cool Springs is pretty much a chain restaurant. We’re trying to create something that is a destination location for families and couples.”
According to Schiedemeyer, the rooftop venue will be Williamson County’s first – save for rooftop patio seating at MAFIAoZA’S on Franklin Road. The space can accommodate approximately 500 people and will be open year-round thanks to a retractable glass covering.
“It’s going to have a Nanawall glass system that can be (fully) opened or closed, depending on the weather,” Schiedemeyer said.
The timeline for the project has been anything but smooth. Schiedemeyer and investor Charles Crews purchased the building and land from First Tennessee Bank and began demolition in July 2016.
But rather than leveling the entire structure, Schiedemeyer opted to keep the building’s original concrete frame in place. That move has added complexity to the project, particularly during the on-going masonry work, which must be properly aligned and supported by the existing walls.
“It was a lot of selective demolition,” he said. “We had to cut out concrete beams and columns… the masonry work began last July and will take nearly a full year to finish.”
First Tennessee Bank, which is currently operating out of a trailer in the adjacent parking lot, will move back in the building as a first-floor tenant. Schiedemeyer is currently working on a lease agreement for a restaurant on the same floor.
Other office tenants include E|Spaces, Mizzouri and a medspa company. Schiedemeyer said the building will help satisfy the demand for Class A office space, which meets high standards for amenities, building management, location and parking options.
“The prime location and the lack of supply in the area has made this a very desirable building,” he said. “The average tenant in Franklin needs between 2,500 and 5,000 square feet, but most of the (downtown) office spaces consist of historic buildings that only offer 1,200 to 2,000 square feet.”
The building is scheduled to be open for business the first week of November, well over a year past its original target opening of Summer 2017. Franklin residents will have to wait a bit longer for the rooftop venue to open, although Schiedemeyer hopes to secure a tenant soon.
“Once (a tenant) is identified and secured, we’re looking at a six-to-eight month timetable,” he said. “The rooftop venue will probably open in early Spring (2019).”