By KERRI BARTLETTThe Brownstones located in downtown Franklin are among the most solidly built and most expensive real estate properties in Williamson County. Priced at $380-$400 per square foot, the 26 townhomes are built to last hundreds of years, not unlike the historic homes and buildings that make Franklin so unique. The Brownstones located in downtown Franklin are among the most solidly built and most expensive real estate properties in Williamson County. Priced at $380-$400 per square foot, the 26 townhomes are built to last hundreds of years, not unlike the historic homes and buildings that make Franklin so unique.
With “19th-century elegance and 21st-century convenience,” they are modeled after historical dwellings found in Boston, New York and across the pond in England, said developer Bernie Butler, the mastermind behind the Brownstones.
More than a decade ago Butler had a vision for the development at First and Church Street in the historic downtown.
“I wanted to create a place for people to live and enjoy for generations to come,” Butler said. At one time, the only way for people to live in downtown Franklin was to buy an older home, and he wanted to provide other options. A native of southern Mississippi, Butler envisioned a community of brownstones in downtown Franklin based on his experience as an intern for former Senator John Stennis, who owned a Brownstone in Old Town Virginia.
“I always thought that that type of building from the late 1700s and early 1800s would work in downtown Franklin,” he said.
Butler’s vision for the community transcended providing only upscale real estate. He wanted to create a fabric of culture in the community to attract the kind of buyers who bring the energy of progress, enthusiasm and pride to the community.
“I wanted to create synergy in the downtown area to attract people who wanted to be involved in the community and all of the great things happening in Franklin. The location seems to attract Type A, successful people who are making a difference in their communities and who desire involvement.
“When you create an atmosphere to attract these kinds of people, great things can happen.”
The Brownstones attracted one of the most visible residents in Franklin, Mayor Ken Moore and his wife Linda, who grew up in Franklin. After living in the development for seven years, the couple’s stately 5,720 sq. ft. Brownstone is currently on the market for $1,475,000. The couple is moving a street over to Third Avenue into a two-story home that they have renovated; one that’s a bit closer to the ground than their current four-story Brownstone.
“We call it vertical living,” said the mayor. Although the couple loves living in their urban haven with a small-town feel, they always knew that they eventually wanted a ground-level home without the four-story climb.
“There aren’t many properties for sale in downtown Franklin, and when the one on Third came up for sale, we thought it was a great opportunity to buy,” Ken Moore said. “It’s a great environment with great neighbors.
“Linda is a walker, and we walk all over downtown with our dog. The convenience is wonderful. We walk to church, and I walk to work every morning right across the street. We go to the Franklin Theater and then to a restaurant. It’s magical.”
The décor of the Moores’ home reflects the couple’s joint interests in art and culture.
“We are collectors. We love to travel and love art and antiques,” said the mayor. Linda decorated the Brownstone with the help of interior designer Barbara Rushton of Dimensional Spaces. The Brownstone’s décor features antiques, oriental rugs, and plush, homey upholstered furniture with all of the modern amenities as well as a mix of materials including wood, pristine white marble in the kitchen and granite.
“I wanted to create synergy in the downtown area to attract people who wanted to be involved in the community and all of the great things happening in Franklin.”
“I love to mix wood antiques with upholstered pieces. I usually know what I want and wait until I can find it,” said Linda. “One of my favorite pieces is an inlay wooden chest from London that dates back to the 1700s. I found it here in Franklin.”
However, the couple collects antiques and art from all over the nation and world. Once in France, they accidentally left their credit card in a shop and had to retrace their steps to retrieve it.
“That one always makes a great story,” said Ken Moore. The mayor even has a Chinese porcelain collection.
“I just love everything that’s Franklin. When living in Columbia, after Ken retired as an orthopedic surgeon, I told him, ‘I want to go home.’” So the coupled moved back to Franklin in 2005 and have felt at home ever since.
“Great towns have a look, a feel and an energy that connects with you in an instant. It’s in the charm, it’s in the people, and it’s in the way they work and live. It’s something you just know — and it’s something that I knew about Franklin from the moment I first visited more than twelve years ago,” said Butler.
Five three-story and four-story Brownstones are now listed with prices ranging from $979,000 to $1,799,000. They range in size from 3,974 square feet to 5,720 square feet.
For more information, please visit b9development.org.