Franklin council considers $6M tax break for million square foot building

A tax abatement worth $6 million is under consideration for the first building in a new logistics park on Franklin’s northside.

The park is planned on 275 acres at Graham Road and Paul Hand Boulevard, where Franklin meets Whiteland. The parcel is bordered to the south by existing industrial buildings and is west of existing housing and the Humane Society of Johnson County.

The city’s plan commission approved a proposal to subdivide the parcel into up to eight lots for Al Neyer, a Cincinnati-based real estate development company. In February, representatives of the developer said the plans have not progressed to a stage where they can disclose building size or the type of company that may move into the buildings.

Al Neyer has developed projects in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, but the Franklin project will be the first in Indiana, said Dana Monson, the city’s community development director.

“We are excited to get new developers here,” Monson said. “They work with very well-known, well-respected clients on logistics and manufacturing plants.”

The logistics park will have seven to eight buildings of varying sizes that are still to be determined, plans submitted to the city show.

The abatement under consideration is for a $60 million, one million square foot speculative building, Monson said. No job numbers are shared in the abatement application and there is no specific client or industry listed, so far.

“If this is approved tonight, the company will be back for a more detailed explanation of what this project is going to be at our next meeting,” Monson said.

A potential layout that shows five buildings ranging from 1 million square feet to about 638,000 square feet is included in a drainage report submitted to the city. However, the developer said the plans have not progressed to a stage where they can be certain of the building size or type of company that may move into the buildings.

The building would be in the south corner of the property that is closest to existing industrial developments to the south. The parcel will be bisected by an extension of Essex Drive, a north/south road off of Earlywood Drive that currently dead-ends near Essex Furukawa. The road would be brought north from the dead-end to Paul Hand Boulevard, plans show.

The council approved the first step of designating the property an economic revitalization area on Monday, which paves the way for the potential approval of the tax abatement at the council’s next meeting at 6 p.m. May 16.

Before the council approved this first step, the Franklin Economic Development Commission forwarded the proposal with a favorable recommendation. Council member Shawn Taylor, who sits on the commission, said the company gave a presentation about the future for the property at their regular meeting and a special meeting. After that meeting, they felt good moving the project forward, he said.

If approved for a 10-year abatement, the developer would save $6.2 million, while the company pays $12.5 million in taxes over the life of the abatement. If approved for a seven-year abatement, the developer would save $5 million, while paying $8.8 million in taxes.