Construction to renovate two downtown Franklin buildings into a brewery has begun, even
though one building still needs to be purchased.
When finished, the buildings on the west side of downtown will offer craft beers and food and have a unique retractable glass roof over the dining area.
Former Mayor Fred Paris is waiting for final environmental clearance from the state before he can buy the former Sparkel Cleaners at 176 W. Jefferson St. But workers have started demolition in the former Jukebox and Hydro Danceclub building.
In spring 2013, Paris was promised $245,000 in tax dollars from the Franklin Development Corp. to help with the renovation. Paris expects to be able to purchase the former cleaners by the end of
January and have the construction work done by the end of June. A brewery has committed to lease the building but isn’t being named yet, he said.
Paris said he expects to
spend $500,000 to $700,000 total on the renovation.
The project had been stalled for more than a year due to environmental contamination at the former cleaner. During the 2008 flood, chemicals from the dry cleaner spilled in the building. Since then, the state has been working to clean up the property and monitor it to make sure that no traces of chemicals remain before it can be sold. That process has taken longer than expected but is nearly complete, Paris said.
He purchased the former dance club at 188 W. Jefferson St. at the end of November, and workers have started tearing out the dance floor and bar.
The building also housed the Jukebox club before the under-21 dance club Hydro opened for a short stint in summer 2013.
The brewery will have a glass roof, similar to Kilroy’s on Kirkwood in Bloomington, Paris said. Originally he had planned to have outdoor seating on a second-floor terrace above the former cleaners building but scrapped the idea in favor of the glass roof, which could be opened on nice days, he said.
“It’s like a greenhouse. It opens up and lets all the sunlight in,” he said. “It will be unique in Franklin.”