By Andrea Cordle
Star Cinema, a small Grove City movie theater, closed its doors in 2014 and since that time, the building has sat vacant. Now, a developer is interested in the property.
At the Sept. 5 meeting, Grove City Council passed an ordinance to allow the city to enter into a community reinvestment area agreement with the company to redevelop the property.
Mark Catalano, with Fairway Realty, a real estate agency based in Upper Arlington, said there is a conceptual plan to construct an apartment complex on the site currently owned by 7 Star Entertainment.
The community reinvestment agreement would provide the company with a 15-year, 100 percent real property tax exemption for the assessed value of new structures constructed at the site. This community reinvestment area was established in the mid-1980s to encourage economic development or commercial and industrial development that would result in job creation and retention.
According to the legislation, the company and the city want to execute the community reinvestment area agreement to provide for the development of the project site, which would create and preserve employment opportunities in the city.
Even though council unanimously approved the agreement, not all council members were on board with the conceptual plan.
Councilman Steve Bennett said the area, located along Stringtown Road, is commercial and he does not believe apartments would be a good fit.
“I do not want to swap commercial for residential,” said Bennett.
Catalano said the real estate trend all over the country is mixed use development.
“Residential property will only strengthen the viability of the retail in that area,” he said.
Councilman Ted Berry pointed out that council was not voting on a development plan, just the reinvestment agreement.
“Down the road, I am going to expect you to offer green space,” Berry told the potential developer. “We are going to need to make sure the people who live in that area have recreation and green space.”
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said this proposal is mixed with good news and bad news.
“This is a property with history,” said Stage. “I am interested to see how it will proceed.”
Catalano said the real estate company is interested in the Kmart site that sits adjacent to the vacant movie theater, however, Kmart has no plans to leave its location in Grove City.
In other news, council will consider legislation to prohibit the cultivation, processing and retail distribution of medical marijuana in the city.
Last year, Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law, which allows individuals to use medical marijuana once they receive a recommendation from a physician and win approval through an application process with the state. The bill also gave municipalities the ability to adopt restrictions.
Council is expected to vote on the measure at its Sept. 18 meeting.