Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners Inc. plans to develop two industrial buildings totaling 500,000 square feet at 3617 W. Oakwood Road, in Franklin's new business park.
It is the second industrial project in the works for the 520-acre business park, located south Oakwood Road, west of 27th Street and north of County Line Road.
According to plans filed with the city, the two buildings are to go up southwest of Oakwood Road and the future Hickory Street. Through an affiliate, Wangard plans to construct a 200,000-square-foot building on the northern half of the site and a 300,000-square-foot building on the southern half. The second building could be expanded to 400,000 square feet.
Wangard notes in its filings the business park is now being created to take advantage of a new I-94 freeway interchange at Elm Road. The road will provide direct access to the freeway from the business park.
"The 'Oakwood Industrial' project takes advantage of the new interchange and will allow us to develop the large light industrial, office, and/or distribution missing in Franklin," Wangard states.
Burton Metz, president of investment and acquisitions of Wangard, said construction could commence this spring or summer, beginning with site work. He estimated the buildings could be finished in about nine months. But construction would not start as soon on the southern building, as the firm has to mitigate wetlands on the site, he said.
Metz said Wangard first became interested in the site about 18 months to two years ago. He said it is in an ideal location for industrial uses, not just because of the new freeway interchange. It's also a quick drive from downtown Milwaukee, the airport and the state border with Illinois.
"It's ideal from a logistics operation as well as employees getting to that spot," he said.
What's more, there are not a lot of 100,000-square-foot-plus industrial "boxes" on the market at the moment, he said, especially ones with modern infrastructure and good transportation access.
Metz said his firm has talked with prospective users for the buildings, but no one has officially signed on yet. He said the interest has come from both local and regional companies.
[caption id="attachment_518273" align="alignnone" width="1264"] Site plans for the two Wangard industrial buildings in Franklin's new business park. Credit: Kapur & Associates Inc.[/caption]
Wangard is working to secure state and local approvals. It has filed an application with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and will present its plans to Franklin's Environmental Commission for review. Calli Berg, Franklin director of economic development, said the commission should review the plans when it meets later this month, though an official agenda had not yet been posted.
Progress has been made in recent months on the development of the business park. Berg said a new lift station has been built, and underground utilities have been installed where Hickory Street will eventually be built.
She said the next step for the city is determining whether to rebuild Elm Road or create Hickory Street first. That will depend in part on what the immediate needs are for the proposed projects in that area.
Another project involves four lots on 80 acres south of Wangard's project site. Landowner Scott Biller said three 150,000-square-foot industrial buildings will be constructed on three of them.
Biller said Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate has agreed to buy two of the lots from him to construct a pair of industrial buildings. He estimated that construction work on those will begin sometime this spring.
A roughly 40,000-square-foot office building is tentatively planned on the fourth lot, which sits where Elm Road terminates at the future Hickory Street.
That building is still at least a year away from construction, he said. Biller himself will be leading that project, likely working with another development partner.