Developers pick hotel partner for downtown Franklin project

Brentwood duo chosen for $36M part of $85M plan

The team behind an ambitious proposal to redevelop several blocks of downtown Franklin has chosen two former Opryland Hospitality Group executives to handle the construction of a hotel.

Jay Franks and Rod Heller unveiled their plan for the $85 million Harpeth Square project this summer, saying they were in talks with a number of hotel developers. They’ve now settled on Brentwood-based Senate Hospitality Group, which plans to build a $36 million 120-room upscale hotel at the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue. (The renderings to the left and below are from July’s public meeting.)

Senate is led by Dave Jones and Glenn Malone, who led Opryland Hospitality in the late 1990s and early 2000s, developing the Texan and Palms properties for what is now known as Ryman Hospitality Properties. Since then, they also have developed a Westin-flagged hotel in Memphis’ Beale Street Historic District.

“Dave and I know that a beautiful, culturally fitting boutique hotel is a needed asset in Downtown Franklin,” said Malone, Senate’s COO and CFO. “We’re pleased this first step in the development process is underway and our company is eager to offer unforgettable, high-quality accommodations to the visitors to this area.”

The new hotel, which is expected to open its doors in early 2016, will include a day spa and a fine-dining restaurant. Franks said the property will give visitors “an overnight option that is consistent with the charm and appeal that attracted them to Franklin in the first place.”

The broader plan for Harpeth Square will be discussed next week at a joint meeting of Franklin aldermen and planning commissioners.