ABOVE: The rendering provided by Lionstone Investments of Houston and MarketStreet Enterprises of Nashville shows the existing building at center, top, with the square courtyard. Carothers Parkway is depicted at the bottom of the illustration.
Fueled by the Envision Franklin land-use plan, Houston-based Lionstone Investments and MarketStreet Enterprises of Nashville on Friday announced plans for a major mixed-use development in Cool Springs.
The effort will require up to 20 years to execute and yield multiple buildings and phases. A price tag to undertake the development is not being disclosed.
The two companies, according to a release, hope to transform the 50-acre Carothers Building campus at 9009 Carothers Parkway — primarily comprising surface parking lots — into what will be called East Works District (the site sits just east of Interstate 65). The pedestrian-focused community will ultimately feature Class A office buildings, residential structures, retail businesses, restaurants, hotels and green spaces.
Originally built in 1994 for Ford Motor Credit (later called PRIMUS Automotive Financial Services), the 509,000-square-foot Carothers Building is one of Cool Springs’ largest and first office buildings. The building (seen in the above rendering at center left and with a large, square courtyard) will be the centerpiece of East Works District, and the accompanying 2,000 surface parking spaces currently surrounding the structure will be reinvented with other buildings and green space.
Lionstone, with a collective $6.6 billion in real estate assets under management, purchased the Carothers Building in 2012. It has enlisted MarketStreet — the Metro-appointed master developer of downtown Nashville’s The Gulch — as its local operating partner and master developer of the site to be home to East Works District.
“We are drawing on decades of experience [in The Gulch],” MarketStreet Managing Director Jay Turner said in a release. “But this isn’t about replicating what we’ve done before. East Works District is a new vision for Cool Springs that will feel just as natural and authentic to Franklin as The Gulch is to Nashville. Cool Springs is ready for an evolved and activated pedestrian experience to meet the needs of future residents and a modern workforce, and the Carothers campus is the perfect location for it.”
Lionstone (which in 2004 reportedly paid about $65 million for the mixed-used 2525 West End tower near Vanderbilt University in Nashville) and MarketStreet have assembled a team that includes two Franklin-based firms: Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative LLC and 906 Studio Architects. In addition, Nashville-based Ragan-Smith Associates will provide engineering and sustainability expertise. The three will assist in the rezoning effort.
MarketStreet has submitted a PUD (planned unit development) plan pre-application with the City of Franklin in preparation for eventually requesting a zone change to specific development-mixed-use district.
Lionstone and MarketStreet feel East Works District will provide an opportunity for implementation of “innovative ideas” as described in Envision Franklin and the were discussed in the Zone Franklin public input process.
The property falls within First Ward Alderman Beverly Burger’s district.