Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners Inc. expects to begin construction this month on its first new industrial building in Franklin. Stu Wangard, chief executive officer and board chairman of Wangard Partners, said his firm expects final city approval this week. He anticipates construction of the 235,000-square-foot speculative industrial facility to begin shortly after. The building will be built south of Oakwood Road and west of 27th Street, in a new 520-acre business park the city is creating. The developer plans to later build two more facilities. One would total 300,000 square feet, and the other would be 80,000 square feet. Or, it could build a single 400,000-square-foot building instead. Wangard said whichever options his firm goes with will depend on market demand. Wangard said distributors and certain manufacturers are looking for sites that provide quick freeway access. Franklin's new business park benefits from a newly built Elm Road freeway interchange. The state installed the interchange as part of the larger I-94 north-south rebuild. "A location such as Franklin, which is a short distance to a freeway interchange, is a lot more attractive than a typical building in the middle of an industrial park," Wangard said. "And it's attractive for both manufacturing and distribution." In creating the business park, the city is rebuilding Elm Road and installing new infrastructure. New infrastructure includes a new lift station, underground utilities and a new street called Hickory Street. The business park is seeing development activity already. The first proposed projects include four industrial buildings between 124,000 and 150,000 square feet. Canada-based Saputo Inc. is also planning a 340,000-square-foot production facility right at the southwest corner of Oakwood and 27th Street. Saputo will employ around 600 people there. Wangard Partners has been active in the industrial real estate market. It is developing Highlands Business Park in Sussex, and this spring bought a 100,000-square-foot industrial building in New Berlin.
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