By Scott Halasz
XENIA — The City of Xenia took a big step toward downtown revitalization Tuesday as demolition of the vacant K-mart building began.
When the dust clears, the city hopes to have a shiny new $5 million shopping center with restaurants and retail to go along with the sparkling new city administration building a few blocks away. The city is partnering with Kentucky-based Brandicorp, Inc., to make it happen.
“I think it’s a rebirth,” City Manager Brent Merriman said after the excavating equipment took down the facade. “It’s a signal that city leadership is going to fulfill its commitment and its promises (for image enhancement and new services).”
The building was constructed in the late 1970s, expanded to 24,000 square feet in 1989 and ultimately closed in 2014. In a state of disrepair, it had major roof and interior water damage and was becoming an eyesore.
A previous redevelopment plan for the site and the adjacent Fulmer Grocery Store — which was to include a family entertainment center and movie theater — fell through after the previous developer pulled out. Brandicorp — which has developed other mixed-use retail sites in Ohio — stepped in earlier this year and entered into a purchase agreement with the city for $800,000.
Brandicorp developer Bill Martin said the company hopes to begin construction next summer.
“We’ve submitted our vision of what the thing should be,” he said.
The preliminary site plan calls for two smaller buildings in front along West Main Street and one bigger building in the back, near where the K-mart building stood. As part of the project, Galloway Street would be extended into the shopping center.
“We’re trying to bring (Towne Square) back to what it once was,” Martin said.
The project is expected to increase the number of downtown amenities, impacting visitation and traffic and keeping money within the city limits, according to officials.
“People leave this community to buy a lot of the goods … and spend a lot of their food and entertainment money,” Merriman said.
The city will also come out ahead on the overall project. City records indicate expenditures (including demolition) totaling $577,979, meaning there is a profit of $222,021 once the sale is consummated. The purchase agreement requires the city to deliver a clear and clean site prior to finalizing the deal. Merriman said demolition will continue next week.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.