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'This area’s jumping': Downtown Clarksville sees redevelopment renaissance

Shelby's Trio
Posted at 6:02 PM, Feb 20, 2023

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When you talk about Downtown Clarksville, most people think about historic Franklin Street, and rightfully so. But just down the road, another portion of the downtown area is going through a major redevelopment.

"We’ve been known for years as a city of steeples," said Rudy Johnson of Rufus Johnson Associates in Clarksville.

As a Clarksville native, Johnson can easily tell you where things used to be. As a longtime architect, he can also tell you what things are about to look like.

"It’s a good time to be in Clarksville, that’s for sure," he said.

Johnson asserts that Downtown Clarksville is in the midst of a renaissance.

"I feel very blessed to have been a part of making a lot of this redevelopment take place," he said.

He helped design the new 5,000-seat F&M Bank Arena and Ford Ice Center that opens this summer.

"Austin Peay’s going to play their men’s and women’s games here — both," said Johnson.

Across the street is Shelby's Trio: a three-story development that features two restaurants and the city's first rooftop bar. Behind it, Hilton plans to renovate the old Riverview Inn and add a shopping district.

"This is just going to be a catalyst of even more development," said Johnson.

In addition to those projects, there's one still in the early phases of development that could change the city's skyline forever. The proposed Millan Center will be a 10-story mixed-use development that's not only the tallest building in town but also the first of its kind.

"It’s a 340,000-square-foot building," said Rylan Kean, Director of Business Development for Millan Enterprises. "We don’t have anything like this from a standpoint of living in our downtown."

The high rise will feature residential, business and retail space that takes up an entire city block.

"Coffee houses, wine bars — areas where you can have social gatherings and spend time with each other," said Kean.

It's the kind of development that could be a game-changer for Clarksville.

"It’s just really saying you don’t have to leave to get that experience," said Kean. "We have that, and you can call this home, and we can maybe even steal some of the people in Nashville to come this way — but overall, we’re just saying, 'this a great place to be.'"

For natives like Johnson, it fulfills a dream beyond what even he saw coming.

"This area’s jumping. It’s great. Our town is jumping," said Johnson. "All the things us oldsters were hoping for way back when are coming to fruition."

Within Shelby's Trio, Trattoria di Cat and Skyline 500 are open. Joe's Garage is slated to open soon.

The new F&M Bank Arena and Clarksville Ford Ice Center is scheduled for a grand opening ceremony this summer.

The proposed redevelopment of the Riverview Inn into a Hilton Hotel and shopping district does not have a projected grand opening date set.

The Millan Center is awaiting a groundbreaking ceremony. No word yet on a projected opening date.