Melrose Theater project lands financing, breaks ground

Long-planned development will include residential, retail, reuse of theater space

Franklin-based Parkes Development Group and Nashville-based Fulcher Investment Properties announced today they have finalized financing and have broken ground for their long-awaited Franklin Road project in the Melrose section of Berry Hill.

Principal Real Estate Investors, led by Travis Johnson, is providing the financing, terms of the financing were not disclosed in a press release. Jim Gunn, with Vista Commercial Mortgage, facilitated the effort.

The seven-acre project (the site for which is seen in the upper half of this photo courtesy of Google Maps) will include 220 luxury apartments and the adaptive re-use of the historic Melrose Theater building, which is located at 2600 Franklin Road.

Parkes Development Group, led by Joe Parkes Jr., and Fulcher Investment Properties, overseen by Ed Fulcher, have been planning the project since the 2010. Previously, and in the mid-2000s, a different entity razed a bowling alley on the site in the hopes of undertaking a different type project but failed to make it materialize.

In February, Fulcher and Parkes paid $4.7 million for the seven-acre site and created Melrose Partners for the undertaking (read more here).

The project will include the rejuvenation of the 1942 Art Moderne theater building. Two apartment buildings with 86 units will be attached to the existing center’s side and rear, with 134 apartments added directly behind the building.

“Our construction company was founded across the street in 1978,” Parkes said in a release. “We used to celebrate obtaining a job at the Sutler and to have the opportunity to bring this building back to life and add a great apartment community is what makes our business rewarding.” 

Parkes said the partners anticipate the theater lobby housing a restaurant with the existing in-line retail being expanded to include shops ranging from 1,200 to 4,800 square feet. The 60-year-old Melrose Billiards, located in the building’s lower level, will stay.

“That’s a Nashville institution and as long as they want to stay we want them to stay,” Parkes said.

Nashville-based EOA Architects is coordinating the design work for the theater and retail space, while Humphreys Partners Architects is using its e-Urban design for the multi-family effort.    

“The barrel vaulted movie theater and former Scene Three sound stage will be turned into a spectacular 7,000-square-foot resident amenity area,” Fulcher said. “The adaptive reuse of the former theater will create a place for residents to enjoy that is unlike anything else in town.”