Rusty at Factory

"Rusty" will continue to be a part of the Factory at Franklin as the property undergoes changes.

A week after releasing details and a rendering for how the Factory at Franklin’s interior will take shape, the company that owns the property shared plans Tuesday for how the site will look on the outside.

Holladay Properties, a commercial real estate firm with an office in Nashville, purchased the Factory last fall and is in the process of remodeling the interior and drafting plans for the property’s exterior, which will soon be submitted to the city of Franklin and eventually go through the city’s planning commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Factory at Franklin sign

Through a required neighborhood meeting held via Zoom Tuesday, Allen Arender and Benton Smothers from Holladay Properties joined Greg Gamble of Gamble Design Collaborative to present an overview of how the Factory will undergo changes while holding on to the “personality” of the property.

“We’ve tracked and watched the Factory over the years and always felt like this was a tremendous opportunity and a great fit for us and the vision we think we have for the project, certainly recognizing the history and emotional connection that all the community has for the property,” Arender, partner and senior vice president, said.

“We are seeking to set it up for the next 50 years and continue to draw that community to the property, and hear the stories and create memories for the next several decades.”

Among a number of renovations, plans for the outside call for easier pedestrian access, more attractive and “green” parking areas, a couple of restaurants that include patio seating, and the utilization in design of the Factory’s iconic water tower and the standing sculpture known as “Rusty.” 

“When we started looking at the Factory, we were noticing how inwardly focused everything was,” Arender said. “You really had to go inside to do anything. [Our development plan] is the first step of what we see as opening this up to the outside, really creating some new nodes and activating some outside areas that visitors and the community can enjoy.”

Perhaps most significant of the proposed changes and additions are the relocation of the Franklin Farmers Market from the rear of the Factory to a stretch along Liberty Pike near Franklin Road, and the construction of a carousel building within a current courtyard.

Gamble said the proposed location of the Farmers Market will make it more visible within the Factory’s active areas and allow for more convenience in parking and accessibility.


One of Ken Means' creations

As for plans for a carousel building, that’s been a dream of Ken Means’ since he opened his workshop and display area inside the Factory some three years ago. A master carver, painter and mechanical engineer best known for the carousel animals he has created through the years, Means moved with his wife to Franklin from Myrtle Point, Ore., in July 2019, along with an assortment of intricately carved and painted horses, lions, rabbits, roosters and more.

Means’ creations have been a part of Merry-Go-Rounds throughout the world, and now he can envision them on a carousel just steps from what had been his workshop.

“It’s exciting,” he said, indicating the carousel could be ready by June 2023. “But now I’ve got more work to do to be ready.”

In addition to creating three more animals, Means said there are several other steps to operating a carousel that he’ll need to complete. This includes moving the carousel mechanism — a Herschell-Spillman apparatus from 1917 that was once used in the Barnum and Bailey Traveling Circus — from its current location in Corvallis, Ore., to Franklin.

Click here for more information on plans for the Factory at Franklin and to view Tuesday’s Zoom meeting.