“Success breeds success,” says Matt Largen, president of the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce and formerly the county’s economic development director. “We’ve been successful for years. This is seen as a low-risk area for development because of the success other developers and companies have had in the area.”
In addition to luring top companies such as Nissan North America, Williamson County has also attracted high-profile developments. The Berry Farms development on the south side of Franklin is an example of recent major projects that exemplify Largen’s “success” formula.
Located near the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park at the Peytonsville Road interchange of Interstate 65, Berry Farms is a mixed-use development on a 600-acre lot near what is considered the southern gateway to Franklin. Phase 1 of the development, which will include office, residential and retail use, is under way.
“As growth continues down 65 South, Berry Farms becomes even more important from a strategic standpoint,” Largen says. “This is land that can be developed 10, 15, 20 years out.”
Growth is also apparent in the county’s technology sector. High-profile examples include M*Modal, a health-care technology provider of advanced clinical documentation solutions; Windstream Communications, which provides broadband Internet, phone service, and digital TV for residential customers as well as data-related service for business; and Radsource, a provider of specialized MRI interpretations that has launched a software-development side of its business that provides PACS (picture archiving and communication system) to health-care systems.
ProtonPACS, as the new component is known, “is definitely where we’re focusing our resources,” says Jaclyn Carney, senior director of business development for Radsource. “We have more than tripled our revenues in the last year.”
Largen says the area’s largest technology employers won’t necessarily be of the high-tech variety.
“I think the technology sector is not concentrated in just one or two companies,” he says. “It’s spread throughout corporate operations in Middle Tennessee. They may not be a big-tech name, but certainly technology employment is going to become even more important than it is now.”