By Sandi Latimer
Owners of the property at Valleyview and North Wilson Road are working to develop what is being called Great Western Commercial Center not only to retain current tenants, but also to attract new ones.
Richard Burdock, president of RD Management of New York, told the Greater Hilltop Area Commission that his company has put $2 million into the property since purchasing it in 2013 for $7.1 million.
“We looked at it for six months before we bought it,” he said at the May 12 meeting shortly before he returned to New York after a day in Columbus where he met with city and community leaders about the development of that corner.
Current occupants are the Western Opportunity Center operated by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, the Restaurant Depot and Imagine Schools Great Western Academy.
Work is focusing on the old Kroger store where Burdock said both exterior and interior renovations are being done.
“We’ll be doing some parking lot repavement and then move on to the strip center on the side,” Burdock said.
RD Management operates a small office in the strip center, but Burdock said there are still vacancies.
“By upgrading the property, we’re hoping to attract new tenants and retain the current ones,” he said.
He also has plans to develop the front of the center, and “we hope others see what we are doing and will follow us.”
In answer to a question from commissioner Keith Chaldis about prospective tenants, Burdock said his company is seeking mixed-use occupants.
“We are open to all kinds of business, whatever the market demands,” Burdock said.
Once the strip center on the side of property is renovated, the company will begin work on the front that would also include some landscaping.
RD Management also sought a letter of support from the commission, but the issue was tabled so members will have time to study the request.
Commission chairman Lane Newcome said he had received a sample letter from RD Management and forwarded it to members for their opinion.
Geoff Phillips said he was hesitant to support such a letter because the letter can be used for other purposes while Greg Large said he opposed the commission supporting a commercial enterprise.
Newcome said his idea was to table the request and Ricardo Mendez said that would give commissioners time to think about it. Nancy Rhynard encouraged her colleagues on the commission to visit the area to see what she called “quality renovation.”
The question will be brought up at the next meeting June 2.
People who live, work or own property in the Greater Hilltop Area are reminded of the GHAC election June 27 during the Bean Dinner.
Terms of four members are expiring while one other seat is open. Seats held by Newcome, Large, Sherry Cary and Gene Klinger are up for election. The commission is expected to appoint a new member to fill the seat vacated by Tasha Corson who resigned. Commission members will be conducting voting at the Bean Dinner, at the Hillcrest Baptist Church and at the Hilltop branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Nomination forms are available on the commission’s web site at www.TheGHAC.com.