Major new industrial development is underway at Interstate 65 Exit 90 in Franklin, according to Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance. The expansion includes construction of new industrial buildings and extension of utilities and improvements to roads by the city of Franklin to accommodate current and future development.
Sunbeam Development Corp. recently purchased 400 acres at that intersection to develop an industrial park, according to Dana Monson, community development specialist for the city of Franklin. “Sunbeam is constructing a 519,000-square-foot building to suit a prospective tenant’s specifications and will be available in first quarter 2021, and it plans to construct one or more buildings per year into the future,” she added. Earlier, Sunbeam constructed a building at Exit 90 now housing Energizer Batteries and its 400 employees, she noted, and another structure for just-in-time use.
Also at that intersection, GDI Construction will build a 1-million-square-foot structure to be completed in late 2021, Monson said. “In addition, Mohr Capital at that location will have an 800,000-square-foot building available to lease next year when its Cooper Tire tenant moves to larger quarters,” she added.
Franklin is building upon the success of the Franklin Tech Park created two decades ago at I-65 Exit 90 by Dennison Properties. Dennison President Mac McNaught said Interstate Warehousing and Aisin Logistics Center were early tenants, followed by construction of Sunbeam’s structures for Energizer and spec use.
“We could not have built the park without the tremendous support of the city of Franklin with annexation, zoning and sewer line extensions,” said McNaught.
McNaught added that the tech park has grown with the city’s use of tax increment funding (TIF) monies to improve the west side of the intersection, making Franklin a more attractive place to locate. He added that tenants being targeted are advanced manufacturers, logistics firms and general industrial businesses.
Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett noted that many companies have contacted him because they are impressed with Franklin’s willingness to invest in itself. The city’s ability to attract employees from a multi-county area and its proximity to major cities in the region also help attract businesses, he added.
“When you get the amount of investment we’re seeing now, employees want to move closer to their work,” Barnett observed. “As a result, we’re seeing growth in housing along with growth in industry.” He added that companies and employees are attracted to Franklin because of its quality of life, citing as an example the Sept. 17 groundbreaking for a downtown amphitheater.
- Total number of acres under development: 400 with Sunbeam, 40 with GDI
- 1,000,000 square feet with GDI and Sunbeam’s 519,000-square-foot building, both available in 2021
- Ceiling heights start at 35 feet for current construction
- Infrastructure at site, capacity improvements underway
- Desired tenants/users: advanced manufacturing, logistics, and industrial
“Speed to market remains a top priority to companies looking to expand or relocate here,” commented Amanda Rubadue, Aspire vice president of economic development. “Companies explicitly ask for existing building product when contacting Aspire. They tell us they are less interested in planned development and land opportunities. Move-in ready buildings enable Aspire to grow our economy and jobs base. They keep Johnson County competitive. And the central Indiana market remains desirable.”
“The development on I-65 at Exit 90 has the potential to make the city of Franklin the next big growth market for industrial development,” Rubadue concluded. “We already know it has an incredibly attractive quality of life and residential amenities, so the foundation is there for workforce success. We need to continue to create new facilities for businesses.”
Interested companies may contact Amanda Rubadue at ARubadue@AspireJohnsonCounty.com or (317) 537-0037.