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Williamson County Workplaces Embrace Connectivity Through Design

Planning aims to make office commutes a walk in the park

By Bill Lewis on May 9, 2018

Franklin, TN
Franklin / Courtesy of Highwoods Properties

In Williamson County’s newest commercial developments, a trip to the office might include a stroll past an amphitheater, and your coffee break might be spent in the quiet surroundings of a park.

Modern mixed-used developments include combinations of many features, from green spaces to opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment, all in one location. It’s a concept that brings new levels of convenience to corporate offices, since so many amenities are just steps away.

Some developments, like Berry Farms on Franklin’s south side, include a variety of residential opportunities ranging from upscale single-family houses to convenient, maintenance free living in townhouses and modern condominiums, within walking distance of offices and retailers.

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Examples of new forward-looking mixed use developments and corporate campuses include Hill Center Brentwood, Franklin Park and Ovation.

At Hill Center Brentwood, the mix of restaurants, shops and office space along with green spaces, a plaza and plenty of parking create a true town center for the city of Brentwood as well as a sense of place to be enjoyed by employees and the entire community, says Jimmy Granbery, chairman and CEO of H.G. Hill Realty Company.

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More Convenience

Employees at the center enjoy connectivity to several office parks, including Maryland Farms and CityPark. Nearby Maryland Way Park and the Maryland Farms YMCA offer recreational and fitness options. Restaurants at Hill Center Brentwood and within walking distance allow employees to enjoy lunch with other workers or to meet friends and family after work for dinner.

The tenant mix also offers many amenities for employees to take advantage of without having to get in their car. In addition, H.G. Hill Realty Company’s partnership with Hytch, a ride share incentive program, gives employees the option to utilize premium parking spots and earn incentives when they share a ride. 

“Mixed use developments offer more amenities within a smaller footprint, which eases traffic congestion and helps employers recruit and retain employees. Employees have access to green space, restaurants, shopping and health and wellness options. It simply makes sense from an employer and employee perspective,†says Granbery.

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At Mallory Green, a mixed-use Class-A office development at the corner of Spring Creek Drive and Mallory Lane in Cool Springs, corporate office workers can stroll to their choice of more than 45 restaurants. The development will include hotel rooms as well as protected green space with a stream and walking paths.

Crescent Communities’ One Greenway Center and Two Greenway Center are LEED certified five-story buildings in the heart of Cool Springs. Conveniently located near shopping, dining and many of Williamson County’s most desirable residences, they offer the opportunity to live, work and play in a convenient setting.

Crossroads at Cool Springs, located at the intersection of Liberty Pike and Carothers Parkway, offers 180,000 square feet of retail space, vital in an area with extremely low vacancy rates. With space of national and local retailers, Crossroads is intended to complement the nearby Ovation development.

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Focusing on Connectivity

Ovation, situated at the corner of East McEwen Drive and Carothers Parkway in Franklin, will bring together hundreds of thousands of square feet of space for offices, residences, hotels, retailers, restaurants and entertainment. Thomas Land Development owns the mixed-use portion of Ovation, where residences, hotels and retailers will be situated. Highwoods is developing and managing the office portion, which has already attracted a major employer.

“The Mars Petcare U.S. headquarters is under way, with a targeted delivery date in the spring of 2019. Mars will be in 224,000 square feet of office space, two connected buildings, at Ovation’s East End. If you’ve driven by Ovation recently, you’ll see construction is really coming along,†says Highwoods spokesperson Danielle Mishkit.

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The Franklin Park development in Cool Springs is on a 71-acre site that includes park land and an outdoor amphitheater. It will over time feature five office towers as well as residences. A novel feature is the rooftop terrace.

Employers are attracted to mixed-use developments that help them recruit and retain talent, says Dave Wells, president of Franklin Park developer Hall Emery.

“The park was developed to meet the needs of a changing workforce. For example, we designed larger, more activated common areas for people to collaborate. We also included more amenities that are focused on wellness, with club level fitness facilities and outdoor walking trails that connect to the Franklin greenway system. Having the ability to work out at work and creating common gathering places for people to connect and collaborate are the key elements,†says Wells.

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Major tenants

Franklin Park

Franklin American Mortgage

Schneider Electric

CKE Restaurants, UBS

Berry Farms

Ramsey Solutions

Alfa Insurance

Lee Company

Tennessee Baptist Convention

Publix supermarket


Mars Petcare U.S. headquarters

Hill Center Brentwood

Bailey Southwell & Co, a partner-owned investment bank

LBMC, accounting and finance, human resources, technology, information security and wealth advisory services

TMPartners architectural design

First Tennessee

Merrill Lynch

AC Hotel by Marriott

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