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The Franklin Development Corp. is trading this property on Madison Street with the owner for a house it owns on Main Street. Franklin Heritage will take the property on Madison Street, the former Madison Hotel, along with a $50,000 grant and turn the property into a resource library, meeting space and storage. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
The Franklin Development Corp. is trading this property on Madison Street with the owner for a house it owns on Main Street. Franklin Heritage will take the property on Madison Street, the former Madison Hotel, along with a $50,000 grant and turn the property into a resource library, meeting space and storage. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

The Franklin Development Corp. is trading this property on Madison Street with the owner for a house it owns on Main Street. Franklin Heritage will take the property on Madison Street, the former Madison Hotel, along with a $50,000 grant and turn the property into a resource library, meeting space and storage. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
The Franklin Development Corp. is trading this property on Madison Street with the owner for a house it owns on Main Street. Franklin Heritage will take the property on Madison Street, the former Madison Hotel, along with a $50,000 grant and turn the property into a resource library, meeting space and storage. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal


A Franklin historic preservation group wants to turn a former downtown hotel into a new meeting space after receiving the building and a $50,000 grant from a city-formed organization.

Franklin Heritage Inc. is planning to restore the property at 48 E. Madison St., which was the Madison Hotel for about 35 years starting in the 1940s. The group, which has renovated other properties in the city, plans to use the building for a resource library, meeting space and storage.

The Franklin Development Corp., a nonprofit organization created and funded by the city, traded a property it owned at 650 N. Main St. to rental property owner Walter Roach for the Madison Street house. The organization then gave the former hotel to Franklin Heritage.

Franklin Heritage also is getting a $50,000 grant from the organization for renovations. The Franklin Development Corp. also is giving Roach a $50,000 low-interest loan for work on the Main Street home.

Franklin Heritage, which owns the historic Artcraft Theatre, has wanted the Madison Street property since December 2010, executive director Rob Shilts said.

The former Madison Hotel was likely built around the early 1900s and was constructed by the same builders who built the home where the Johnson County Community Foundation is housed on South Main Street, Shilts said.

Franklin Heritage plans to turn the 8,000-square-foot Madison Street building into a resource library, meeting rooms for organization programming or other events, and storage space for some items currently housed at the theater, Shilts said. Much of the $50,000 grant will be used to fix the collapsing porch, make foundation repairs, fix the chimney and replace siding, with the goal of having the first floor remodeled by the end of this year, Shilts said.

Roach purchased the former hotel and had intended to turn it into a bed and breakfast, he said. But he ran into problems with getting permits for the project because the location doesn’t have enough parking to allow for a business.

The Madison Street property also has limited yard space, no driveway and would have been costly to renovate, since it has seven bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a porch that is collapsing, Roach said.

“We were just in a quandary as to what we could actually do with this,” Roach said.

Franklin Heritage was originally going to take the home at 650 N. Main St., renovate it, sell the property and use the profit to buy the former Madison Hotel, Shilts said.

The Franklin Development Corp. was given the North Main Street house by a woman who had intended to fix it up but who ran into financial struggles and couldn’t complete renovations, Franklin Development Corp. president and chief executive officer Craig Wells said.

“We cut out the middleman, and all three parties are really getting what they had hoped for, so I think it’s really good because that means there are two different properties that will get fixed back up,” Shilts said.

Roach plans to turn the Main Street home, which is currently divided into two apartments, back into a single-family unit.

He has other rentals in the area and expects the renovation could be complete by the end of summer.

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