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Old downtown Franklin garment factory targeted for massive redevelopment project

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (March 16, 2016)-- An old garment factory in downtown Franklin is on track to become a residential and entertainment hub. The facility on Wayne Street was built in the 1920s and later manufactured clothing for U.S. military members in World War II.

Now, if the city of Franklin has its way, the garment factory will get a new lease on life.

Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness first presented the project to the Franklin Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday morning.

“I think the character this will bring is something totally different,” said McGuinness.

Old buildings certainly have their charm, and the garment factory is no exception.

In fact, it has quite the Indiana connection, as the uniforms seen in the movie Hoosiers were made there.

McGuinness said the city’s been working with private developers for more than 18 months on the project. The goal is to turn one side of the factory into an event an conference center.

The other side will become condominiums for sale, with the exact number to be determined. Retail space may also be added, along with a parking lot.

“As far as our infusion of capital into a project, with public-private partnership, it’s probably our largest. It’s definitely the largest in the downtown,” said McGuinness.

Total cost involved is estimated at $4.6 million, with at least $1.4 million of that in public money.

McGuinness said developers are still working with engineers and architects on the particulars, but the façade will remain the same, as what was old now becomes new.

“It’s fine with us. Anything that makes everything look better here is just fine,” said neighbor Robert Rogers.

As for why now is the time for such a project, McGuinness said demand for housing and retail space has never been higher in Johnson County, as the Indianapolis metro area continues extending outward.

“I think folks are starting to realize that we’re close to downtown Indianapolis in proximity to a lot of the amenities,” McGuinness said.

The Franklin Redevelopment Commission will have to formally approve the plan for everything to go into motion. The mayor said since it was announced Tuesday, he’s already heard interest from people wanting to buy the proposed condos.