• FCA

Millions in Wasted Tax Dollars -the Promised Timeline



2009

  • the City of Franklin creates a long term master plan to guide growth and future development for Franklin through 2025


2014

  • City officials determine 3 areas to focus on for of large-scale new development, including the Loomis Rd corridor between Ryan Rd and the Muskego border


  • Later, Sean Ryan of the Milwaukee Business Journal reports, “Bear Development was at the table then”


2016

  • In August of 2016, Bear Development buys 164 acres of land on both sides of Loomis Rd, covering most of the proposed development corridor


  • “Bear Development has been looking at the land for two years,” Mills said- There is demand for both single and multi-family housing in Franklin, he said, plus the potential for retail or business park space


  • Bear pays $710,000 for the land


2017

  • The first graphic depiction of what the area build out would potentially look like is created:

  • The focus is on subdivisions, green space, and small to mid-size business and commercial development



2018

  • According to Sean Ryan, of the Milwaukee Business Journal, Bear Development “submitted plans to the city this month for about 50 acres of new office and light industrial buildings”


  • “Mills said a manufacturer is in talks to fill a new building on about 30 acres- He declined to identify the manufacturer because the project is not yet finalized”


  • “The remaining 20 acres would be for relatively smaller users, filling a niche the company sees in the market for companies seeking business park land for smaller projects”


  • Here is the 2nd graphic depiction of what the area would now look like with the proposed changes:


  • At this point we have one straight-line subdivision, a very large green space buffer, several small commercial buildings, and one large manufacturing facility- less appealing than what was first sold, but not yet to the point of alarming concern


  • On October 16th, the Franklin Common Council approves the creation of Tax Incremental District No. 6 (TID6), “for Bear Development for a 145 acre mixed use development"



2019

  • In March, Strauss Brands pays Bear Real Estate $2.1 million for the 30-acre Franklin site- roughly triple the amount Bear had paid for the entire165 acres making up all of TID6


  • In fact, by overlaying TID6 over Bear’s recently purchased land, and agreeing to foot the entire bill for all infrastructure, the City of Franklin managed to increase the value of Bear’s total land holdings astronomically


  • Having already been involved in the development plans of the City several years earlier (far more so than any resident), Bear Development, in 2016, purchased land on the western edge of Franklin, for roughly $4250 an acre


  • 3 years later, after the City of Franklin ponied up millions in unnecessary TIF funds, for an already highly desirable area, Bear sold some of the acreage to Strauss, for $70,000 per acre


  • In roughly 3 years, Bear then made an astounding return of 1,600% on their land investment in Franklin, while not having to invest any more of their own funds


  • On May 20th, Franklin residents finally discover that the large anchor “manufacturer” for TID6, is in fact, a giant slaughterhouse to be built by Strauss Brands


  • The information comes courtesy of Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, not local Franklin officials, or even Strauss Brands


  • Daykin also states the “agreement calls for Strauss Investments to develop a building, or buildings, that would be assessed at minimum value of $5 million by 2021, and $10 million by 2022” -the development would be for meat packaging and distribution operations


  • The company also might add "meat harvesting and processing," according to the proposed agreement, in which case the minimum values would increase to $10 million and $20 million


  • The assessment agreement is needed so the city has some mechanism to recoup the outlay of millions of dollars (TID6) for a development that most communities have already zoned out or would never have any interest in (high polluting, noise and crime, heavy industrial development)


  • The side agreement is signed, and when Strauss tries, but fails to go to the inner city of Milwaukee, the Mayor notifies the local press that “we have a deal” -more than a year prior to the required approval from the Planning Commission or Common Council


  • On Aug 5th, Insight Equities, LLC of Texas (a private equity fund), buys controlling stake in Strauss Brands



2020

  • On February 17th, a new amendment gets added to TID6 increasing both the size (acreage) and financing (dollars available), by the Franklin Common Council


  • By this 3rd graphic iteration, TID6, in the most rural part of Franklin, furthest from the interstate freeway, now looks like this:


  • The green space buffer provided to shield the remaining single subdivision from the original proposal has been cut in half


  • All the remaining land parcels (shown in purple) have been rezoned industrial or heavy industrial, from their original designation as farmlands, and wetlands


  • Although now formally named “The Loomis Business Park,” not a single acre of land is zoned for “business”


  • Instead of small commercial lots, more than half of this new industrial park is now dominated by a giant slaughterhouse on 30 acres, and an auto salvage operation on 55 acres


  • The final tally for the cost of TID6, including interest, will be north of $14 million (for land already purchased by a developer, and slated to be homes and multi-family development)

Next up - Franklin, we need to get serious about discussing the “F” word – no, not financing, or fleecing, but out right FRAUD

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