City administrators recommend $74.5 million Franklin City Hall price tag

A conceptual rendering shows a central staircase in the preliminary master plan for a new Franklin City Hall. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2026. City administrators presented three building options Jan. 11, recommending the city choose to build a 78,500-square-foot facility with parking for $74.5 million. (Courtesy Studio 8 Design)
A conceptual rendering shows a central staircase in the preliminary master plan for a new Franklin City Hall. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2026. City administrators presented three building options Jan. 11, recommending the city choose to build a 78,500-square-foot facility with parking for $74.5 million. (Courtesy Studio 8 Design)

A conceptual rendering shows a central staircase in the preliminary master plan for a new Franklin City Hall. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2026. City administrators presented three building options Jan. 11, recommending the city choose to build a 78,500-square-foot facility with parking for $74.5 million. (Courtesy Studio 8 Design)

City administrators on Jan. 11 offered Franklin leaders a potential $74.5 million price to build a new City Hall downtown no later than 2026.

“It is a bit of a reality check about what we have capacity to do but also how we meet long-term needs of City Hall and the community,” Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey said.

At the regular Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting Jan. 11, Assistant City Administrator Vernon Gerth and Stuckey laid out three preliminary options for what construction of a new Franklin City Hall could cost, all slotted for the site of the current City Hall, an 80,000-square-foot facility in what was once Harpeth Mall at 109 Third Avenue N.

Once an option is approved by city leaders, they will vote to authorize spending $1.4 million to create schematic plans. The city has appropriated $24.1 million for the future project and another $8 million to build parking so far. Stuckey said the project could be afforded from about $95 million in projected unused capacity in the city's 10-year capital budget.

A majority of the board offered supportive comments on the concept of the new building as both a more functional space for the city’s 221 employees as well as a better aesthetic fit in downtown.


“I don’t need to be sold on the need to replace this building or it being downtown” Alderman Matt Brown said. “I applaud us for pushing through and applaud the plan to build something new here.”

Alderman Patrick Baggett said the board needs to have a full work session to focus solely on the project.

“I really think we need to have a special work session only on this,” Baggett said. “We need to have some real discussions because I want to know what everyone is thinking as well.”

A city analysis estimates more than 30 percent of the existing building is unusable for city department needs including spaces like wide hallways, not especially functionally configured office space and a large basement storage area, Gerth said.

“We have hallways within offices that are not efficient space, too,” Gerth said. “... Additionally what creates inefficiency is the multiple entrances, and that is a security concern that exists, too.”

The option Stuckey and Gerth said fit best with the city’s capital program capacity while upgrading City Hall to fit the community’s needs would build a 78,500-square-foot building with 204 parking spots in an underground garage. The city's master plan called for a 112,500-square-foot building.

“It provides a complete building,” Stuckey said of the option. “It is not the size we talked about, but it is something I believe will meet our needs in the near term and beyond.”

The other two options offered but not recommended were another option for a 115,700-square-foot, three-story building with 204 underground parking spaces would cost $106.4 million, according to the presentation, while a third option would the 78,500-square-foot building but with a scaled back 137-spot garage for $66.7 million.

Gerth said based on the evaluation of regional construction costs for the project the city expect to be able to build the facility at a cost of $419 per square foot.

City officials began planning toward the design of a new City Hall in 2021 on the basis the current space is inefficient for current city services and the space will grow more obsolete for a growing city.

In two weeks at the board’s Jan. 25 meeting, city administrators will provide an update on the city’s current capital project commitments which includes about 30 projects totaling about $300 million not counting the prospective City Hall rebuild, Stuckey said.
By