By Rick Palsgrove
Steps are being taken to make the commercial development of two vacant properties along Groveport’s Main Street a reality.
The city of Groveport’s 2021 budget includes the creation of two construction funds of $3 million each to be used for two new, two-story brick, mixed-use buildings: one to be built at the northeast corner of Front and Main streets next to Ace Hardware (674-716 Main St. and known as the Rarey’s Port building); and the second at the northwest corner of College and Main streets (480-490 Main St. and known as the Wert’s Grove building). The city is the developer for both sites.
Assistant City Administrator and Development Director Jeff Green said the projected timeline for prospective tenants for the two buildings is late-spring/early summer of 2021. He said the buildings address the community’s desire for new space in the historic downtown suitable for restaurants, retail, and other commercial development.
The Wert’s Grove building will be about 12,234 square feet: 6,056 on the first floor and 6,178 on the second floor. The first floor will have five separate storefronts with the interior space divisible according to space requirements for potential new businesses. Second floor space for now will be open. Parking for 67 vehicles will be in the rear of the building, accessible by Raver Alley to the west and Hickory Alley to the north.
Legislation to rezone the 480-490 Main St. property from community commercial to select commercial planned district is being considered by council for a vote on Dec. 21.
“This is the same rezoning used at the Ace Hardware site,” said Groveport Building Official Stephan Moore. “It allows for more flexibility in design and for more protections for neighboring residences.”
The Rarey’s Port building is tentatively planned to be 14,145 square feet, with 7,017 square feet of space on the first floor and 7,128 square feet on the second floor. The second floor space will be open for now and the first floor have six individual storefronts facing Main Street and the interior space divisible as required. Parking will be in the city’s 92 space municipal lot behind the building and near Ace Hardware.
Patio space is planned for both buildings.
Legislation modifying the existing development plan for the 674-716 Main St. site is being considered by council for a vote on Dec. 21.
At a Nov. 23 public hearing about the properties, resident Charlie Marlatt said he hopes the two buildings will have some historic architectural character.
“A blocked off, squared off building would not look good,” said Marlatt.
Green assured Marlatt that the buildings’ designs are modeled on existing 19th and early 20th century business buildings and homes along Main Street.
“The buildings will not have a strip mall look. They will be full brick and organic to the city’s historic downtown,” said Green.
The estimated cost for the two structures combined will be approximately $6 million.
Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr said money for the two $3 million construction funds for the two buildings in the 2021 budget will be funded by general obligation bonds. These are bonds from the bond market and are not property tax bond issues that would be voted on by the residents.