By Andrea Cordle
According to the Pizzuti Company, Grove City should transform its Town Center to increase business and foot traffic. The way to do that – add housing.
City leaders, Pizzuti planners and community members met for a special work session On June 29 at City Hall. They spoke of the plan to rezone the former lumberyard site, which sits adjacent to City Hall, into an upscale apartment complex.
According to Dan Gore, with Pizzuti, the complex would include 120 apartment units in three buildings, along with 151 parking spaces. The floor plans would include 89 one-bedroom units and 31 two-bedroom units. City leaders and planners hope the housing facility will attract young professionals and empty nesters.
Since the apartments would have a higher rent, planners believe this could set off a spending bump in the Town Center. They believe the apartment tenants could add close to $1 million in revenue to local businesses. They also believe this may help attract new business owners to the area.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the financial plan involves Pizzuti taking out $4.8 million in taxable bonds. The company would then be eligible for about $4 million in TIF (tax increment financing) funds. Pizzuti would guarantee a payment of $335,000 per year to the city.
City leaders are in favor of the housing plan, however, one issue kept coming up – parking.
Those who live or work in the downtown Grove City area complain about lack of parking spaces. Some believe an apartment complex would just add to the problem.
According to Gore, there are about 940 parking spaces in the Town Center. Future development would bring that number to 1,091.
“There really is no parking shortage,” said Gore.
The parking issue is not too bad from day-to-day; it is the special events, like the Farmer’s Market, where patrons have the problem.
Council president Ted Berry suggested the city turn the vacant grass lot on Park Street, next to the current library building, into a parking lot.
“It’s just sitting there and it’s not too far from Broadway,” said Berry. “We’ve got to start someplace.”
The Pizzuti redevelopment plan also recommends turning City Hall into a mixed-use building for office or retail space and restaurant space. Government offices would relocate to the library building on Park Street, across from the police department, to form a municipal complex. The library is in the process of relocating to a new facility on Broadway.
According to Stage, the plan to rework City Hall is about five years off.
If the final development plan on the apartment complex were voted through the Grove City Planning Commission, council would have it on the agenda on July 20.