Mixed-use town center, apartment developments planned near Ballpark Commons in Franklin

A site plan from Continuum Architects lays out the conceptual plan for The Retreat apartment development along West Loomis Road. (Image courtesy of the City of Franklin)
A site plan from Continuum Architects lays out the conceptual plan for The Retreat apartment development along West Loomis Road. (Image courtesy of the City of Franklin)

Last updated on October 10th, 2022 at 02:01 pm

Milwaukee-based Mandel Group and Franklin-based ROC Ventures have submitted plans to the City of Franklin for three developments near the Ballpark Commons area at the convergence of South 76th Street, Rawson Avenue and Loomis Road.

The plans include the redevelopment of the Orchard View Shopping Center, located southeast of 76th Street and Rawson Avenue, into a mixed-use town center that would include a hotel, ice-skating rink and more than 500 apartments.

The plans also include a mixed-use development called The Retreat, with 432 apartments and some retail, on vacant land southeast of Loomis Road and south of Rawson Avenue, and a 78-unit apartment building along South Ballpark Drive and adjacent to New Perspective Senior Living.

The plans, which are still in a conceptual phase, are an outgrowth of ROC Venture’s Ballpark Commons development in that area, which includes Franklin Field (the 4,000-seat ballpark where the Milwaukee Milkmen and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball teams play), The Rock Sports Complex, Luxe Golf Bays, apartments and senior housing.

The Public Square

Perhaps the most ambitious of the plans submitted by the developers is the one for The Public Square, which calls for razing the aging Orchard View Shopping Center just southeast of the intersection of Rawson Avenue and 76th Street and replacing it with a retail and community center.

The development would consist of roughly 25 acres, including the site of the Orchard View Shopping Center and two additional vacant parcels east of the shopping center, and consist of a center of public amenities surrounded by commercial uses, a hotel, apartment buildings with a clubhouse and public parking.

The concept includes a roughly 50-room boutique hotel, exterior enhancements to the existing Harry’s Ace Hardware, approximately 520 apartment units contained in 4-story buildings with roughly 15,000 square feet of commercial space adjacent to public amenities arranged to create the “town center” setting. Open green space would be available for farmers markets or programmed with a large outdoor screen or small amphitheater for community movie nights and concert series, as well as the ice skating rink in the winter.

Possible commercial development around the center could include a brewery, restaurant and coffee or ice cream shop, according to the plans.

The Retreat

Located at 8301 W. Loomis Road across the road from The New Perspectives senior housing development, The Retreat apartment development would be constructed on 52 acres of existing farmland, which be part of larger development dubbed Franklin Farms.

The bulk of the units would be located within 14 two-and-three-story building that would house 20 to 40 units each. The apartments would be a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units.

The residential development would also include about 16 two-and-three-bedroom townhome units with two-car attached garages.

The retail component of The Retreat would consist of four to five lots that would be served by an as yet to be constructed street that would run parallel to Loomis Road. The idea is to use the commercial lots as a partial buffer between the residential development and the busy roadway.

Apartment building

A proposed four-story mixed-use building would be constructed on a roughly three-acres site at 8240 W. Loomis Road just south of the 149-unit New Perspectives Senior Living Development at 7220 S. Ballpark Drive.

The development would include 6,000 square feet of first floor commercial space. Resident amenities would include a clubhouse, outdoor pool, and underground parking.

Orchard View Shopping Center:

Site for The Retreat:

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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