New Fortress Square Shopping Center to Bring National Retailers to Murfreesboro Gateway District

Fortress Square Shopping Center | Dow Smith Company | Smyrna, Tennessee

Dow Smith Company is pleased to announce the recent completion of Fortress Square, a retail shopping center in the heart of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Construction of Phase 1 of the 17,000-square-foot plaza was begun in February 2018 and was completed in just seven months. The Dow Smith team worked closely with Fortress Square owner Steve Beaty of Beaty Properties, LLC and shopping center real estate agent John Harney to complete their project on time and on budget.

Located on Fortress Boulevard near Interstate 24, the commercial retail complex is perfectly located to serve commuters and those living nearby.

Future Fortress Square tenants include Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Mattress King, Stanlick Chiropractic, Blue Ribbon Cleaners, and an urgent care clinic.

"Leasing interest and activity has been really strong since we started building the shopping center," says Harney. "It’s a great location. It’s a very strong market area due to the high concentration of residences and multifamily apartment units nearby."

Seeing the opportunity to help our clients succeed, Dow Smith Company Partner Joey Rhyne was instrumental in helping Starbucks secure their location at Fortress Square. The international café chain would be the main tenant and would feature a drive-through window. Because of Starbucks' corporate regulations, there were numerous hoops to jump through in order to secure their lease agreement. Starbucks has rigorous corporate standards for interior, exterior and site upgrade construction. Rhyne, and the Dow Smith team, played a critical role in communicating these requirements to the architects and subcontractors, working with Harney and Starbucks’ representatives every step of the way.

Time was of the essence with this project and meeting deadlines was critical.

As tenants would not be able to occupy the space nor could our client start collecting rent until construction was complete, maintaining a tight schedule was of utmost importance to our team. Before construction began we made sure our team of subcontractors could not only handle the work, but be available when we needed them. We also ordered materials, most importantly the structural steel package, with long lead times, ensuring it arrived on schedule. It pays to worry early to avoid delays and scheduling mistakes, especially if the project has strict deadlines.

Fortress Square Shopping Center | Dow Smith Company | Smyrna, Tennessee

Additional challenges included the strict building specifications in the Murfreesboro Gateway District. The City of Murfreesboro has established standards for development projects including all commercial, residential, retail, and office spaces. The City’s guidelines ensure the development of high quality buildings, enhance the existing character of the land, and maintain the historic features of each site to reflect the culture of Murfreesboro. Every aspect from parking to drainage and landscaping to lighting are all regulated and must be presented to the City’s Planning Commission.

The complexity of the Fortress Square project required extensive coordination with the design team at Lowen & Associates, LLC and the City of Murfreesboro.

Before construction could begin, the site presented some challenges. A very large amount of rock excavation was required to provide adequate drainage and space for underground utilities. In addition, a comprehensive storm water plan was developed, which ultimately led the team to utilize stone pavers in lieu of asphalt paving in the parking lot. 

The complex details of this project were masterfully handled by Project Manager and Partner Joey Rhyne and Superintendents Gary Grisham and Trey King, as well as the design team led by Jim Lowen at Lowen & Associates, LLC in Nashville, Tennessee. 

"It's really attractive, really nice architecture,” says Harney. “The second phase will have an additional 25,000 square feet." Though Harney states that Beaty Properties, LLC does not currently have a timetable for Phase 2 of construction, it will include additional tenant space and will be constructed adjacent to the current building.

"All projects are important to us, but this one had a little extra interest to us," says President Dow Smith. "It was a high profile project and we have always wanted to work with John Harney. Getting to know and work with Steve Beaty was a true gift. It was a project that was not for the timid as a lot of work in a short time period was required. I am so proud of our team, lead by Joey Rhyne and Estimator and Project Coordinator Dana Mitchell, in preparing an accurate estimate that matched the actual final cost. The flawless execution in construction was all thanks to Joey, Gary Grisham and Trey King."