By Rick Palsgrove
The development of Groveport’s downtown historic core along Main Street is an ongoing process.
Most recent action
In February, Groveport city workers demolished the small office building that once stood in the middle of the former used car lot at Main and College streets. City workers also removed the car lot signage, some of the posts and cables that border the property, and the concrete parking blocks to get it ready for future potential development. Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall has stated the asphalt paving on the property will most likely be removed this spring and grass planted when weather permits.
In 2018, the city of Groveport purchased the property at 490 Main St., which previously was the home of Stebe’s Sales Inc., a used car business that operated there for many years. Groveport City Council approved contracting to buy the .492 acre property for $250,000.
Groveport Finance Director and Assistant Administrator Jeff Green said the city is advertising for requests for proposals for development of the site and that a sign advertising the property as an opportunity for business development was placed on the site near the corner of Main and College streets.
The city’s plan is to enter into a long term lease or purchase contract, with conditions, with a potential developer for the site
“This is a primary property in the city’s downtown,” Hall said. “A long term lease or contract with conditions allows the city to control the site’s future use and the types of development that can occur there.”
Green said there is a desire to develop the site for some type of retail or restaurant, though there is nothing definite in the works at the present time.
Alleys border the site to the west and north. When asked if the alleys could be upgraded with new pavement and drainage improvements in anticipation of new development, Green said, “It depends on the development, but some improvements would be likely.”
Green said there are no plans to make the site a parking lot or to turn the site into a small park.
Downtown development timeline
For approximately the last 18 years, Groveport city officials have taken steps to re-develop the city’s historic downtown core along Main Street. The following is a timeline of what has transpired so far.
•2002 – City buys the two former gas station properties at the northeast corner of Main and Front streets for $305,000. The city’s public works department demolished the structures.
•2004 – City purchases the former ceramics shop and doctors’ offices at 716 and 728 Main Streets for $230,000. The buildings are demolished at a cost of $7,300.
•2005 – City purchases properties at 651, 653, and 657 Main St. for $235,000.
•2006 – The city demolishes the buildings at 651, 653, and 657 Main St. at a cost of $16,500 after it was determined it would cost $360,000 to rehabilitate the structures.
•2013 – Owners of the business at 649 Main St. purchase the 651, 653, 657 Main St. parcels from the city for $13,000 for possible expansion of their business sometime in the future.
•2013 – Plans are made to build the Ace Hardware store at 726 Main St. The city agrees to lease the remaining green space acreage just west of the store to Baltimore Land Mgt., LLC for $1 per year for 50 years with the goal for future development.
Green said, according to the original lease, the developer (Baltimore Land Management) has two years to complete construction of the second building. It also allowed for a two year extension.
“When that extension expired in February, 2019, BLM indicated to the city that it intends to commence construction in 2019 and asked for another, shorter extension,” said Green. “The extension, granted by Groveport Community Improvement Corporation, calls for construction to begin by the end of 2019, with building completion no later than September. The agreement is currently awaiting the signature of the developer. If the terms of the extension are not met, the lease agreement is void and the property reverts back to the city.”
According to Green, BLM, through their lease agreement, controls all but one of the parcels that comprise the green space.
“The city retains control of a small parcel on the corner of Front and Main, with plans to develop a small pocket park, once construction of the second building is complete,” said Green.
•2013 – The city budgets $1 million to construct the large municipal parking lot, sidewalks, bike path, and landscaping near the Ace Hardware and the undeveloped grassy site extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets.
•2015 – Ace Hardware opens at 726 Main St.
•Various plans and proposals were made over the years for developing a “Groveport Town Center” project on the grassy area extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets, but as of yet no project for this site has been confirmed. In the mean time, the site is being used for the city’s annual summer farmers’ market.
When asked if there has been any potential businesses expressing interest recently in the green space land at Main and Front streets, Green said, “Not in the green space per se, but there is interest in space in the completed building on that space.”
•2018 – The city purchases the former used car lot property at 490 Main St. (the .492 acre property on the northwest corner of Main and College streets) for $250,000 and city workers demolish the 324 square foot office building on the site in February 2019. Signage is erected to market the site for business development.