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Extra City Funding Sought for Ballpark Commons Project

Routine Field rendering 3

Citing unexpected costs, ROC Ventures is asking Franklin, WI to contribute an additional $5.2 million to the Ballpark Commons development project. 

Located in Franklin, a suburb of Milwaukee, Ballpark Commons is a mixed-use development that will be anchored by Routine Field–the upcoming home of the Milwaukee Milkmen (independent; American Association) opening in 2019. Franklin has approved $22.5 million for the project, but ROC Ventures–led by Mike Zimmerman–has requested an additional $5.2 million to cover unexpected development expenses.

Under the proposal submitted by ROC Ventures, Franklin would approve the additional funding to help cover the costs. In turn, the city would recoup its investment through the addition of another property slated for development to the project’s tax increment financing district as well as increased sizes for select Ballpark Commons’ structures. The Franklin Common Council, which would have to approve the request, voted Tuesday to hire Ehlers Inc to review the proposal. More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The firm this year began constructing new roads, sewers, a methane venting system and other infrastructure, as well as the development’s signature baseball stadium and a retail/office building.

Roc Ventures is seeing an infrastructure cost increase in part because of “a substantial increase in the scope of the project” since the initial city financing plan was approved in 2016, Zimmerman wrote in an Aug. 23 letter to Franklin Mayor Steve Olson.

Zimmerman’s letter also mentioned “additional requirements of several governmental agencies, including the City, and WE Energies.”

Finally, construction costs are facing general increases because of higher regional demand for such services, the letter said.

Ballpark Commons is set to be built out over multiple phases, with the first round of development including a sports performance center, restaurants, office and retail space, and Luxe Golf Bays. The Milkmen are currently scheduled to play their first game at Routine Field on May 24, when they host the Chicago Dogs. In addition to the Milkmen, Routine Field will also be home to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s baseball program.

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