Toro Development Company And Ignite Realty Join Forces With Highwoods To Develop Ovation

Toro Development Company (TDC), Highwoods Properties, Inc. (Highwoods) and Ignite Realty Partners (IRP) have teamed up to develop Ovation, one of the largest ground-up mixed-use communities in the country currently underway. The project will span 145 acres in the affluent Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tennessee.

In collaboration with Highwoods and IRP, TDC plans to develop a 60-acre parcel at the heart of the property into a unique “third place” for Franklin – a social gathering place where the community comes together outside of their homes (first place) and workplaces (second place). TDC will apply best practices from its work on highly acclaimed mixed-use destinations, including Avalon and Colony Square, to create a vibrant and magnetic community experience at Ovation.

The team will spend the next several months planning the right mix of uses, designing the guest experience and curating the concepts that will create a high-energy mixed-use environment. These efforts include infusing TDC’s signature approach to hospitality, walkability and activations, including resort-level concierge services and a pedestrian-friendly public realm activated with hundreds of community events each year.

The 145-acre site is currently home to Mars Petcare’s North American headquarters, which spans 224,000 square feet and features collaborative office space and a variety of pet-friendly amenities, such as a dog park and doggie daycare. The plan is for Highwoods, which developed and owns the Mars Petcare headquarters, to serve as the master developer for the project and deliver the office component. TDC will execute the mixed-use village and deliver retail, multifamily residential and hospitality.

“This is one of the few sites in America that has the right fundamentals in place to support a dense, ground-up mixed-use development akin to Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia,” said Mark Toro, Principal and Chief Vision Officer of TDC. “Franklin is craving its own third place; a place outside of home and work where people can gather and celebrate life’s special moments. We look forward to working with Highwoods and Ignite Realty to create the third place this community deserves.”

In addition to Mark, TDC is led by a team of development heavyweights: John Kelley, Richard Munger, Vicky Boyce and Carla Cox. While working together at North American Properties Atlanta, the team created Avalon, an 86-acre mixed-use destination in Alpharetta, Georgia. Avalon opened in 2014 and created a new urban model for walkable, mixed-use development in the suburbs. The $1 billion community includes 500,000 square feet of retail, curated with an incredible lineup of chef-driven restaurants and best-in-class retail brands like Apple, Peloton and Tesla, and has been named one of the top 10 retail destinations in the country.

Open Realty Advisors, LLC, a Newmark company, will serve as leasing agent for the project. The Open Realty team, led by Mark Masinter, Chairman of Global Retail, brings expertise in curating exceptional retail experiences at top mixed-use destinations like Legacy West and Music Lane.

“The City of Franklin, primed for its own destination, has experienced record population and job growth over the past five years, and we intend on creating the cultural and gathering hub of the community,” said Masinter.

“We’ve waited to assemble the right team to realize the great potential of our 145 acres, and the time is now,” said Alex Chambers, Highwoods’ Senior Vice President and Nashville Market Leader. “With this team of proven professionals, we are moving forward to build upon the foundation we’ve laid with Mars Petcare to create the most compelling address to live, work and play in greater Nashville. We believe the best and brightest realize their greatest potential together and are committed to creating the great places where this happens. Our plan and team for Ovation will create one of these great places in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the U.S.”

About Toro Development Company 

At Toro Development Company, we believe past results are a powerful predictor of future success. Veteran real estate developer Mark Toro has a track record of delivering outsized returns to investors. His differentiated model combines data analysis with creative thinking and a commitment to community. With multidisciplinary experience, the team at Toro Development Company is uniquely positioned to deploy the best use or uses for each development, or redevelopment opportunity. They know how to build community in a way that creates quantifiable value, something they have proven over and over again, and something that is now more relevant than ever. For more information, visit

About Ignite Realty Partners

Ignite Realty Partners is a development and investment platform created by the founders of Open Realty Partners. We created this platform with a simple focus — develop and invest in the communities where we have worked for over three decades, leveraging our relationships and collective experiences to identify the next opportunities to create transformative places.Our mission is to craft immersive, mixed-use projects, defined by unique retail, dining and hospitality experiences. We believe when a development is thoughtfully executed, the receptors of value creation are limitless.

About Highwoods Properties, Inc

Highwoods Properties, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a publicly traded (NYSE:HIW) real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and a member of the S&P MidCap 400 Index.  The Company is a fully-integrated office REIT that owns, develops, acquires, leases and manages properties primarily in the BBDs of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa.  For more information about Highwoods Properties, please visit our website at