Shawnee Townhomes

Nickel Architects' design rendering of the new Shawnee Townhomes

Franklin Housing Authority aims to use newly awarded tax credits to develop new residential units on Shawnee Drive while overhauling its adjacent properties.

The future development — positioned southeast of Jim Warren Park — adds 26 residential units on 2.24 acres along the east side of Shawnee Drive to supplement the Housing Authority’s redevelopment of preexisting Cherokee Place and complement the Chickasaw developments on the west side of the street. The latter is a senior living facility and a larger building of 48 multifamily units. The 26 units planned for the east side will see construction begin after the demolition of eight 50-year-old duplexes consisting of 16 units along with the current sidewalks and parking areas.

The newly approved Cherokee Place redevelopment in the southern corner of the west side of the campus has recently seen its 59 public housing units razed to clear its lots for 100 units in townhomes and multifamily dwellings to begin construction shortly.

The Housing Authority broadens its housing offerings using recently awarded tax credits to add to its 224 low-income housing tax-credit units. This includes $806,047 of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s dissemination of almost $5 million in National Housing Trust Fund grants statewide.

The FHA announced in August it would allocate the awarded funds toward the construction costs of the development in progress at Cherokee Place. The agency has contracted Nashville-based Nickel Architects for design services and James + Associates for civil engineering services. The president of the latter attributes the Shawnee addition to the new funds also.

The 26 Shawnee units to come will include eight two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and six four-bedroom units, which increases the total number of units for the site by 10 and thereby increases density from 7.14 to 11.61 units per acre — a 63 percent hike.

This comes as the City of Franklin has struggled to develop affordable and workforce housing elsewhere such as The Hill across from Bicentennial Park in its Historic Downtown since 2014. That project finally got approval this summer from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a resolution changing the name of the entrance to The Hill property to A.N.C. Williams Way in honor of the esteemed, African-American slave-turned-merchant who retired from his Main Street general store in 1928 as the oldest operating vendor in the area. This is the first milestone in the progress for the future development since the 2018 approval of a rezoning ordinance.

The Cherokee Place development, progressing much more quickly than that of The Hill Property, aims to accommodate families earning at most $26,500 a year. Tax brackets at or under this income level are eligible for housing vouchers, which will be accepted with applications in Fall 2020. Its companion development, Shawnee, has not yet been given a completion date.