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TIF District Proposed for Ballpark Commons

Franklin development plan

A study is recommending that Franklin, WI officials approve a $25.8 million contribution in the form of tax increment financing (TIF) to fund a development that will include an independent league ballpark. 

This spring was marked by progress for the potential mixed-use development being pitched by Mike Zimmerman, which will include a ballpark for an American Association team. In March, the Franklin planning commission recommended the project to the Common Council, which in April gave its approval to the conceptual plans.

The ballpark is a part of Ballpark Commons proposal, which calls for additional development that includes a year-round indoor sports facility and little league fields for The Rock Sports Complex, apartments, and potential lodging, retail, and dining space.

On the whole, the project is projected to amount to a $120 million investment, with $25.8 million coming from the city. According to a city-commissioned report from Ehlers & Associates, this cost would be paid back through the approval of a TIF district, meaning that all property taxes generated within the development would go towards paying off the public contribution.

It is up to the city to weigh this funding model, but reports so far indicate that there is local demand for a project of this type. More from the Milwaukee Business Journal:

The city hired Melaniphy & Associates Inc. to conduct the market study to gauge whether the project could succeed, and how much government financing it may need. The Chicago consultant also was an adviser on the early stages of the Drexel Town Square mixed-use development in Oak Creek.

Melaniphy’s report called the project “an aggressive undertaking” but recommends the city move forward on the project.

“I would say this is another big step forward for the development as the independent market study conducted by the city confirmed most of our market analysis and certainly the key drivers,” Zimmerman said.

The city study concluded there is demand to support the stadium.

“We recommend the developer focus on outlot development including a sports bar, theme restaurant, fast casual restaurants and family entertainment center,” the report said.

The Common Council will review the recommendations of Ehlers & Associates during a session on Tuesday. Should it move forward, the TIF District could be approved by September.

RELATED STORIES: Franklin Ballpark Plan Moves Forward;  Franklin moves forward with new ballpark planning; Initial approval sought for new Franklin (WI) ballpark

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