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Franklin Meijer proposal still alive, officials say

Plans in Oak Creek don't signal an ending, though issues still remain

Jan. 23, 2013

Franklin - City officials and a spokesman for Meijer this week said that the troubled proposal for the retailer to build a 190,000-square-foot store at Highway 100 and Loomis Road is not dead, despite the retailer's apparent progress in establishing a similar store in neighboring Oak Creek.

While Meijer has run into state agency issues regarding wetlands and traffic flow in Franklin, the company last week announced it is in the early stages of a deal with Oak Creek for a 193,000-square-foot store to help anchor the new Drexel Town Square property at Drexel and Howell avenues on the former site of Delphi.

Plan still in play

Meijer legal representative Brian Randall on Monday said the Oak Creek plan does not currently affect the Franklin plan. He noted that Meijer continues to seek state Department of Natural Resources approval for building next to Franklin wetlands and that the company most likely will have a formal statement regarding the Franklin store status within weeks.

Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor and Steve Olson, alderman of the district that includes the proposed Meijer site, said they are not aware of a change in the Franklin plan.

"My gut feeling is that Drexel would be a site they would have looked at anyway," Olson said.

The Oak Creek site "is further away from Franklin than some people may realize," he said, estimating the distance is eight miles.

Want tax advantage now

Taylor, pointing out that the Oak Creek proposal is tied to a tax-incremental financing district, said that same type of incentive may not be practical in Franklin.

"The idea has always been to continue to build a current tax base for Franklin, and any advantage to a TIF would not come for about 20 years," Taylor said.

He is willing to sit down to discuss whether the city can help complete the deal through incentives, he said, but added he is not sure whether Common Council members would be willing to approve anything beyond the current plan.

Project history

The Franklin Common Council on Sept. 4 approved the Meijer site and survey plans but required the developer to work out issues with the Department of Transportation and the DNR. While the city said the roadway issues have been settled, the DNR has yet to approve the plan.

It is estimated that wetlands occupy about half of the 33-acre site.

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