By Andrea Cordle
Pizzuti has a vision for the Town Center.
Representatives from the Pizzuti Company offered up that vision to Grove City Council during an Aug. 26 special meeting.
James Russell, Pizzuti chief operating officer, said the goal is to attract young professionals and empty nesters to downtown Grove City. He sees a Town Center bustling with activity – a place people will live, shop, work and just hang out.
“We are really trying to create the Grove City brand,” said Russell.
The plan presented to council, and the public, includes repositioning City Hall and using that building to house at least one restaurant, along with retail and office space.
According to Shannon Hamons, the Pizzuti Columbus region vice president, two restaurateurs have already expressed an interest in moving into Grove City if the redevelopment plan gets the green light.
Behind where the current City Hall is located, would be an open space, with a water feature. Adjacent to that, would be an apartment complex geared toward the young professional.
Russell said the complex would include 72 one-bedroom units and 48 two-bedroom units.
“We don’t want another suburban apartment complex,” said Russell. “We want something unique to Grove City.”
The plan adds pedestrian connectivity, so all this would be easy walking distance to the new library. The bigger picture plan includes pedestrian access from all these points, over to the Beulah Park property, which is owned by Penn National.
“Other communities would die to have a space like Beulah located right by the Town Center,” said Russell. “Folks will want to be here.”
The Pizzuti representatives want council to approve a resolution supporting the redevelopment concept. Once they get the support from city officials, they can begin working on the development plan.
City leaders supported the idea.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said he is pleased with the new vision. He said this is a $14 million project in private investment.
“I’ll take it any day,” said Stage.
Councilwoman Melissa Albright said big development projects have happened along Stringtown Road and near State Route 665.
“It’s time for the downtown to have that great project,” she said.
Council president Ted Berry said the project is exciting and the Town Center needs that diversification.
But one council member had mixed feelings on the proposal.
Steve Bennett said it is difficult to believe that the 20 or 30-something crowd would pay around $1,000 a month in rent to live in a studio apartment. He said the plan seemed premature.
“It’s not everything for everybody,” said Bennett.
The councilman said there are many unanswered questions, like how much will this project cost the city.
According to Berry, council is expected to see a resolution of support for the redevelopment concept on the agenda at the next council meeting, Sept. 3.
Once council votes on and approves the concept, Pizzuti could start work on the specifics of the project, including cost, parking and construction.