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Brewpub approved for former city hall

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A city board approved an initial plan to turn the former Franklin city hall into a restaurant and brewery.

Redevelopment commission members approved the idea and now need to work out details with Old Post Holdings to sell 55 W. Madison St. and determine how much in tax dollars the city board will offer to help renovate it.

The building was built as a post office and was city hall until it flooded in June 2008 and city offices moved in early 2009. The building has been vacant since.

The company would renovate the building for a restaurant on the first floor and brewery in the basement. Old Post Holdings would purchase the former city hall for $10,000 and is requesting up to $260,000 in tax dollars that would be used to repair and update the building. The amount of tax dollars needed could be much less than that amount, Old Post Holdings managing member Phil Warrenburg said.

If the project stays on schedule, the restaurant could be open by the end of this year, with the brewery starting early next year, Warrenburg said.

Redevelopment commission members are paying to complete an environmental study to look for any health or contamination issues at the property. The commission then will work with the company to determine how much the city board will pledge in tax dollars to help with any needed fixes identified in the building inspection and environmental report.

The city transferred ownership of the property to the redevelopment commission in 2011, and the board has been searching for a developer willing to renovate the building for a new use. Board members rejected two proposals in June to turn the former city hall into new retail space or use it for a city court.

Old Post Brewpub’s menu would include items such as soft pretzels, stuffed burgers, and fish and chips, according to the company’s proposal. Lunches would cost $7 to $9, with dinners averaging about $12 to $15.

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