Franklin Township retail project picking up steam, adding self-storage and medical space

The owner of a 60-acre commercial development that recently took shape on former farmland in Franklin Township is planning a few new components, including senior housing, a self-storage facility and medical office space.

Named Johnson Fields, the development sits at the northwest corner of Franklin and Southport roads, just south of Dakota Landing Golf Course. It’s anchored by a Kroger Marketplace that opened in 2018.

Indianapolis-based owner Douglas Realty Group recently received approval to add a 100,000-square-f00t self-storage facility, as well as a new medical office building.

Site preparation is under way for the self-storage facility, which is expected to break ground in early 2021. Doug McAuley, principal of Douglas Realty, said the firm is in discussions with several national self-storage operators to secure a specific brand.

He said the overall vision for the project includes at least 12 more buildings, ranging from 2,000 to 24,000 square feet in size. Most of the additional buildings—several of them long strip-style buildings—would be constructed on the north end of the property, behind the Kroger.

“We believe this 60-acre project is a blueprint for additional development in Franklin Township,” said  “I think the township really wants to see larger tracts of land developed in a comprehensive manner … and we’re doing that here.”

McAuley declined to say what the overall investment for the project is expected to be, but he said upward of $40 million already has been put into the development.

The group also plans to break ground next year on a one-story, 16,000-square-foot medical office building, after it has secured tenants. Negotiations are ongoing, McAuley said.

Additionally, the group is in negotiations with a to-be-named senior housing developer to build up to 100 units on the western edge of the multi-phase project.

Douglas Realty is marketing a half-dozen strip mall spaces next to Kroger, as well as two out lots along Southport Road. Current tenants in the Kroger-adjacent shops include Southern Roots Gift Company (which opens this month) as well as a Super Cuts, Papa John’s Pizza, Pet Value, Vegas Nails & Salon and Red Cactus Mexican Grill. McDonald’s plans to occupy a third out lot nearest the intersection of Franklin and Southport roads.

The Franklin Township development has been in the works since 2014, when it was announced Kroger would build a $25 million grocery store on the property.

McAuley said Douglas Realty is also buying additional tracts of land in and near Franklin Township for later development, but said he’s playing those cards close to the chest for now.

“Yeah, we are certainly expanding our land holdings in the area,” he said. “Franklin Township is one of the fastest growing [areas] in Marion County.”

Curran Architecture is the design firm on the Franklin and Southport roads project.

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