A Little Something Extra: The Factory at Franklin Reinvents Itself Once Again

Nov 12, 2021 at 11:07 am by RMGadmin

By Claire Page

Allen Arender, Executive Vice President of Development for Holladay Properties, will lead the renovation of The Factory at Franklin, recently purchased by Holladay. The property, purchased for $56 million; will be an investment of   time and money - which Arender says is a true  redemption story.

One of Allen’s main drives to invest in this property was  because “everyone loves redemption stories, and that is what you have in old buildings like this; stories of rising, falling, and rising again. “That is what The Factory is,” he says:  “Redemption.” 

Allen is no newbie when it comes to restoring older historical properties. While working towards his engineering degree from Mississippi State, he started flipping houses with a friend. Later, he got his MBA at Notre Dame. Since moving to Nashville, fifteen years ago, Allen has accomplished a lot of restorations and remodeling of buildings in the middle Tennessee area, including; The Sawtooth Building, The Guest Building, and the BowTruss Building. 

Allen had been looking for a redevelopment opportunity in Franklin for a while now, so when a mutual friend contacted him to purchase The Factory, it was an opportunity he could not pass up. One of Allen’s goals is to bring new life into what people already see in these amazing buildings. “There is a great opportunity to redevelop and add new life to a building which is  unlike anything else you can build today. You cannot recreate the character here,” he explains.  

Allen has a lot of big plans for The Factory, and “over the next few years, the experience here at the factory will be unlike anything you have seen in Franklin or Nashville,” he says.  With The Factory having close to 300,000 square feet, there are endless opportunities for the building. Within the square footage, Liberty Hall and Jamison Theatre are just two of the spaces for entertainment and events. Allen is anticipating continuing with the history of community involvement and events he says.  “The event space here is a big part  of what drives the rest of the activity. Liberty Hall can hold 1200 people, while Jamison Theatre holds close to 450 people. He would like to see those spaces being utilized 350 days a year.  

Along with the event space, three other main components will make up The Factory: Office, restaurant, and retail space. After the last year and a half of COVID, Allen hopes people will want to show up and be a part of this community treasure. Whether people are coming to work in an office, dine in a restaurant, shop in retail shops, or attend an event, The Factory’s space will offer opportunities to be entertained and involved with the space,  twenty-four seven hours a day. One goal he has in mind is to offer something at The Factory that is unique and special and open businesses that do not exist in any other part of middle Tennessee.

While much attention will be paid to the interior of the building Allen says he  wants to see activity outside of the building as well. “We want to activate the outdoors, for example, with a restaurant underneath the water tower,”  he says. Allen and his team are currently working with the city to restore the water tower and have new paint and a signage . Along with the water tower being restored, Allen is working with the farmers market to expand along Liberty Pike.  

Even though this is a long process, Allen is excited about “when we get it done, people are going to come in and realize that this is somewhere different.” The Factory is ready for its next redemption story, and Allen is excited to make that happen for the community of Franklin.