Work will soon begin again on the building that used to house Franklin city offices, with the goal of turning the property into a new downtown restaurant.

John and Lesa Talley are planning to open a high-end restaurant in the building at 55 W. Madison Ave., which has been vacant since city offices moved out in 2009.

Members of the city redevelopment commission have been negotiating with the Talleys for months on a proposal for the property. This week, the city board approved a request to sell the building for $1 and for a $300,000 grant, which will be used to upgrade the building.

The agreement also comes with a mortgage on the property, so if the project is not complete by March 2019, the city redevelopment commission gets the property back.

The Talleys have said the building still needs extensive work in order for a restaurant to open.

The money theĀ redevelopment commission is investing is in addition to money previously approved for the project. A plan to turn the building into a brewery and restaurant fell through after the developer spent about $260,000, including $250,000 in tax dollars, to do work to the building, including installing new windows and doors, paint, roof repairs and brick work, but was unable to finish the project for personal reasons. Money for both projects has come from the city’s tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts, which set aside property tax dollars from certain businesses for economic development projects.

Last year, after the city got the building back from the previous developer, the city board again asked for proposals for the property, and the Talleys were one of two bidders to redevelop the property.

Members of the redevelopment commission said the project was a good use of the building, and they were pleased with the plans for the project.

John and Lesa Talley said they appreciated working with the city, and were looking forward to restoring the 80-year-old building.

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