Franklin mixed-use development moves forward

This concept plan shows the long-range vision for the public park inside the Kingsbridge development.   Submitted photo
This concept plan shows the long-range vision for the public park inside the Kingsbridge development.  Submitted photo

A mixed-use development proposed on Franklin’s northside inched closer to approval during a public hearing Tuesday night.

Indianapolis developer Platinum Properties Management Company, LLC is planning a mixed-use development, dubbed Kingsbridge, to include up to 230 new homes, a market-rate apartment complex, two commercial spaces and a 28-acre public park.

The two commercial buildings would be built on U.S. 31, with a road between the two leading to the apartment complex and subdivision behind it. The park would be on the westside of the property, according to plans for the project.

The housing development, by Miami, Florida-based Lennar Corp., would be developed first if the project is approved, with the apartment complex and commercial developments to come when partners are found for those building projects, said Dustin Huddleston, a local attorney representing Platinum Properties.

The Franklin Plan Commission in late May voted to annex more than 33 acres into the city, from Johnson County. The property, currently farmland, is located south of the Park Forest subdivision in Whiteland, and south and east of the Knollwood Farms subdivision in Franklin.

The Franklin City Council on Tuesday unanimously OK’d the fiscal plan for the annexation, which essentially says the city could afford to extend police, fire and utility services to the area.

Before the vote, the council had a public hearing. One member of the public spoke against the annexation during the hearing.

Brenda Moore, a resident of the Park Forest subdivision, told the council she does not want more homes and a park in her backyard.

Previously, several other Park Forest residents expressed concerns about the proposed neighborhood, saying they were concerned the homes would compound flooding problems and might drive down the values of their custom-built homes.

The council has not voted yet on the proposal to rezone about 150 acres to a Planned Unit Development (PUD). That rezone only applies to the area that includes the houses and park, as the apartments and commercial buildings are already within city limits and have appropriate zoning.

The Franklin Plan Commission forwarded the PUD to the council with a favorable recommendation. The council will review that proposed rezone at its Aug. 2 meeting, along with a final vote on the annexation into the city.

That favorable recommendation is for the conceptual plan, which essentially says the plan commission approves of the idea for the development. Final approval will come later when the developer submits a primary plat proposal.

The conceptual plan includes three types of homes from Lennar, with starting prices between $275,000 and $350,000.

It includes 60 homes from the builder’s Venture Collection, priced at $275,000 to $350,000, and 170 homes from the company’s Cornerstone Collection, priced at $350,000 to $450,000.

The Lennar homes to be built in Franklin will be similar to Lennar’s Morningside development in Bargersville, and more upscale than Lennar’s Grassy Manor development in New Whiteland, Huddleston said.

Sterling Properties has worked with Franklin Parks and Recreation on plans for the park that would be included, and the parks board recently approved a long- and short-term plan for the development. The long-range plan includes a parking lot, playground, dog park, basketball court, pickleball courts and trails throughout.

Sterling will invest about $1 million in park amenities and put all park impact fee money that would normally go to the parks department directly into the park, Huddleston said.

The PUD will include sidewalks throughout the neighborhood and a path to U.S. 31 from the park, which will eventually connect to an extension of the Franklin Greenway Trail. The trail will connect Kingsbridge and Knollwood Farms to downtown.