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Shovels turn 1st dirt at what will be Ballpark Commons in Franklin

FRANKLIN -- Shovels turned dirt Thursday, June 7 at the groundbreaking for a new development in the City of Franklin -- known as Ballpark Commons. Not only will it host the training center for the Milwaukee Wave, it will also be the home of a professional baseball team.

The $125 million mixed-used development will feature a 4,000-seat stadium (hosting an American Association of Professional Baseball team as well as the UW-Milwaukee Panthers), commercial and retail businesses, restaurants, up to 212 apartments and various entertainment and active lifestyle features including the MOSH Performance and Wellness Village and Luxe Golf Bays, a massive, three-level entertainment center.

"It's independent of Major League baseball. It is Double-A, Triple-A level baseball. A lot of people confuse that with the Chinooks or the Kingfish, which is summer collegiate, so this is a step above," said Mike Zimmerman, ROC Ventures CEO.

The City of Franklin is contributing $23 million to the $125 million development; a taxpayer investment Franklin's mayor hopes to get back.

"We know we'll get the $23 million back. The issue is how quickly we do it. In the time frame we've projected, it works out real well," said  Steve Olson, Franklin mayor.

The development is called the Ballpark Commons, but it will also feature a full-size indoor soccer building that will serve as the Milwaukee Wave's training facility.

"We're going to move from Bookfield Indoor, to here and train here and we will obviously play in the Panther Arena. That's a great spot," said Zimmerman.

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The first phase of construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months, and will also include senior apartments and retail space to follow.

Ballpark Commons development is planned for a spring 2019 opening.