Groveport to explore other ways to nurture small businesses in town

0
361

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Workers are shown here on a steamy August day tackling the job of getting the foundation ready for the new Rarey’s Port building at 674 Main St. The Rarey’s Port and Wert’s Grove buildings are known as The 1847 Main Project and the city of Groveport is the developer for both sites. The 14,145 square foot Rarey’s Port building is expected to be completed by late March 2022. Construction of the 12,184 square foot Wert’s Grove building, 480 Main St., is expected to be completed by April 2022. The two new buildings will be two-story brick, mixed-use commercial buildings.

Groveport city officials decided to try a different approach to a proposed small business entrepreneurship program.

Now that some restaurants are on board for the two new commercial buildings planned for Groveport’s Main Street, city officials had considered using the second floors of the Wert’s Grove building, 480 Main St., and the Rarey’s Port building, 674 Main St., as “business incubators” to nurture new, home grown businesses in an entrepreneurship program.

However, at the Aug. 22 Groveport City Council meeting, council postponed indefinitely an ordinance to contract with Cultivate to implement that program.

Groveport Economic Development Director Jeff Green said the legislation was postponed because, after some discussion, city officials decided they need to get the buildings constructed and tenants moved in before moving on to the next stage.

In the mean time, Groveport City Councilman Ed Dildine said the intent is to come back with “something different” to create and grow small business in town and that the city could use existing spaces, such as at Town Hall, the Recreation Center, and other city owned properties as places to offer an entrepreneurship program.

When asked how the second floor spaces in the Wert’s Grove and Rarey’s Port buildings will now be used since they will not be currently used for the entrepreneurship program, Green said, “Since the second floors of both buildings must be government use due to the financing structure of the funding for the buildings, we are working to identify what uses would best be suited for the second floors. The buildings are being built as a shell and finishing the first floor for the restaurant tenants is the primary objective. There’s really no affect on the cost of construction because we never planned for Miller Valentine to finish these spaces anyway.”

Green said the city has received inquiries from existing businesses interested in the second floor spaces of the two new buildings, “but because of the financing structure we have to treat the second floor spaces as government use. We feel the entrepreneurship center can fall under that use.”

Green said the goal is to continue working with Cultivate on the entrepreneurship program, but only offer a training and technical assistance program for now.

“We’ll negotiate a new contract (with Cultivate),” said Green. “Cultivate has had a great deal of success in the region for several years. We have visited their incubator in Grove City many times and have been really impressed with the facility and the program and wanted to replicate it here.”

When asked if the city has received any interest from potential entrepreneurs about the program, Green said, “Not yet because we haven’t started promoting the program.”
City officials believe the entrepreneurship program would boost small business growth in town rather than just letting small businesses take root on their own.

“The city has offered several small business training programs through the years,” said Green. “The programs go through every aspect of starting a small business, including the risks. Many people determine that business ownership isn’t for them and others learn there’s more to owning a small business than they realize and they’re better equipped to succeed.”

About the 1847 Main project
The Rarey’s Port and Wert’s Grove buildings are known as The 1847 Main Project and the city of Groveport is the developer for both sites.

Construction has started on the 14,145 square foot Rarey’s Port building with completion expected by late March 2022. Construction of the 12,184 square foot Wert’s Grove building has also begun with completion expected by April 2022.

The two new buildings will be two-story brick, mixed-use commercial buildings.

The cost to construct the two buildings is approximately $7.6 million. It is funded by a combination of non-tax revenue bonds and tax revenue bonds. According to Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr, non-tax revenue bonds equal taxable bonds and tax revenue bonds equal tax-exempt bonds. He said the project will be funded by general obligation bonds, which are bonds from the bond market and are not property tax bond issues that would be voted on by the residents.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.