Heritage Foundation will finalize O’More campus purchase from Belmont University in 2019
Emily West, Nashville TennesseanPublished 2:54 p.m. CT Dec. 18, 2018 | Updated 3:17 p.m. CT Dec. 18, 2018
FRANKLIN — The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County announced Tuesday that it exercised its option to purchase the former campus of O’More College of Design from Belmont University.
The foundation has raised more than $5 million in the last four months to secure purchasing the property. CEO Bari Watson Beasley said the organization will close on the property during the first quarter of 2019.
“This accomplishment is a testament to our generous donors who love Franklin and want to see it continue to flourish,” Beasley said. “Looking ahead to 2019, I will be completely focused on securing additional lead gifts so the entire vision for this project can be implemented in a timely manner.”
In addition to exercising the option to purchase, the Heritage Foundation also announced FirstBank as the key lending partner on the project.
“We are excited to partner with the Heritage Foundation on this iconic project,” Chairman of Middle Tennessee for FirstBank Gordon Inman said. “FirstBank is committed to supporting our local community and this partnership embodies that. The beautiful event center, gardens and educational components will add tremendous value to the Franklin community.”
About the former O’More campus
A county appraisal from 2016 lists the property at $4.78 million, according to Brad Coleman, Williamson County’s property assessor.
O’More campus is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Abbey Leix Mansion on the property was built in the 1870s after the Civil War. Soldiers burned the original home after declaring the family who lived there was disloyal to the Confederate Army, according to historical property records.
In 1979, the campus became O’More College of Design, named after its founder Eloise Pitts O’More. She lived on the campus until her death in 2002.
About the Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has worked to save properties in the area for going on 51 years. Some of its biggest preservation projects include the Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail.
FirstBank has been named as one of Middle Tennessee’s Top Workplaces by The Tennessean for four years running, winning the 2018 Hall of Fame award. To be a Top Workplace, FirstBank met high standards for a healthy workplace culture as ranked by its own employees.