Brewery developer gets refund from city

A Franklin city board is refunding the investment of a developer who was unable to complete a project to open a brewery and restaurant in the former city hall building.

Members of the Franklin Redevelopment Commission approved giving Phil Warrenburg $10,500, and the board would take back the former city hall building.

Warrenburg and the city board had made an agreement about two years ago to invest $260,000 into the building, where he planned to open a brewery and restaurant. Warrenburgh invested $10,000 into the building, along with more money for other expenses related to the business, and the city board invested $250,000 in tax dollars.

Since then, that money has been used to do work to the building, including new windows and doors, paint, roof repairs and brick work, but Warrenburg is unable to finish the project for personal reasons. He asked for the city board to end their agreement and take the building back.

As part of that request, Warrenburg also asked for his $10,000 investment to be refunded. The board approved that refund 3-2, with members B.J. Deppe and Keith Fox voting no, and saying the refund was setting a bad precedent for the city.

Now the city board will need to decide what should happen next with the building. Members of the redevelopment commission have heard from people that are interested in the property and are asking them to work with the city to have some plans and possibilities by the board’s meeting next month, board member Bob Heuchan said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.