On Thursday the Franklin Plan Commission will review plans for two of the three development projects proposed recently by Milwaukee-based Mandel Group and Franklin-based ROC Ventures.
Plans for the projects have been refined since they were first unveiled in October.
The biggest project up for review on Thursday is temporarily being called "The Retreat." Planned for a vacant 51.6-acre site southeast of West Loomis Road, at 8301 W. Loomis Road, the project has a residential and a commercial component. The residential component consists of 358 dwelling units, including 344 apartments in 10 buildings (some 2-stories tall and some 3-stories tall) and 14 townhouses. The commercial component consists of three outlots along Loomis Road, covering a total of 2.5 acres.
Amenities planned in the project include pickleball courts, a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse and pool, putting green, a fire pit, bocce ball courts, a pavilion, community gardens and trails. More than 57% of the site would be preserved as green space.
“The Retreat represents a first-of-its-kind, a wellness-focused, mindful habitation that enhances the natural environment and creates spaces to connect, wander and explore,” Mandel Group says in its project submission to the city. “The master planned community converts this historic fill site into a peaceful, suburban residential retreat interwoven into preserved and enhanced ecological features. Redeveloping this site allows the environmentally significant features to be preserved, enhanced and publicly accessible. The master site planning creates the opportunity for new commercial development along Loomis with a serene residential experience behind it.”
Milwaukee-based Continuum Architects + Planners is the design firm for the project.
The Plan Commission will also review plans submitted by Mandel Group and ROC Ventures for a three-story apartment building southeast of Rawson Avenue and Ballpark Drive in the Ballpark Commons development in Franklin. Ballpark Commons is the mixed-use development, led by ROC Ventures, including and surrounding the Rock Sports Complex.
The building at Rawson Avenue and Ballpark Drive would include 78 luxury apartments and 5,643 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
“Roughly 6,000 square feet of commercial and retail uses are ideally positioned along Ballpark Drive on the first floor. We have had on-going discussions with two retailers for the (commercial) space,” Mandel Group said in its submission for the project to the city. “A high-end craft beer and wine operator with sizeable retail operations will occupy roughly 4,000 square feet and adjacent outdoor patio space. An existing Franklin salon will relocate their operations to the balance of 2,000 square feet.”
In addition to the commercial space, the 28,819-square-foot ground floor would have 20 apartments, an entry/lease room, a club room, a mechanical room and circulation areas.
Amenities planned in the apartment building include a fitness center and the first-floor clubroom with indoor/outdoor bar space adjacent to a resident swimming pool.
Madison-based JLA Architects is the design firm for the project.
In its filings with the city, Mandel Group indicated it will be seeking tax increment financing for both projects. Mandel Group indicates it will seek “developer financed” tax incremental financing agreements for the projects, in which the firm would obtain all required debt and equity to finance them and increased property tax revenue generated by the projects would be used to pay for the city’s subsidies.
The TIF funds are necessary because of issues with the project sites and because of a “value gap” in which the construction costs for the projects are expected to exceed the future value of the developments, Mandel Group said in filings with the city.
The site for The Retreat has several thousand cubic yards of miscellaneous fill material deposited onto it over the years, which may require environmental mitigation and permitting from the state Department of Natural Resources, Mandel Group’s filing with the city indicates. Also, there will be soil and groundwater mitigation requirements due to adjacent wetlands and the ground water table, the firm said.
The site at Rawson Avenue and Ballpark Drive will require environmental remediation due to contamination, Mandel Group says. In addition, the firm says the site’s topography is challenging due to a 20-foot grade change across the site.
Construction for both projects is expected to begin in October of 2023.
[caption id="attachment_559573" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Rendering of building planned at Rawson Avenue and Ballpark Drive, from JLA Architects.[/caption]