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Franklin group likely won’t buy, renovate buildings

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A Franklin organization likely won’t purchase and renovate two apartment buildings on North Main Street because a private developer is interested in renovating them.

The Franklin Development Corp., an organization formed and funded by the city, had discussed purchasing and renovating the buildings at 399 and 397 N. Main St.

The board estimated the project could cost more than $500,000 in tax dollars to complete.

“That’s too big of a project for us to take on as a board,” Franklin community development director Krista Linke said.

A private developer is interested in buying both of those apartments, as well as an 18-unit complex to the north and another home on the block.

The Franklin Development Corp. could work to help facilitate a deal and could provide low-interest loans to the builder to help with construction costs, board president John Ditmars said.

The owners of 399 N. Main St., John and Bette Emery, have offered to donate the building to the organization since it was damaged in a fire.

If the developer wants to buy that building, the organization may accept the donation so the owners can get a tax write-off, then sell it at a low cost to the developer, Ditmars said.

Board members still intend to seek out distressed properties and find ways to fix them up, which could include using city tax dollars to pay for renovations.

Board members are continuing to work with the city to identify other homes that would be less expensive to fix up.

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