Groveport city officials, residents and project developers gathered Oct. 24 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Ace Hardware and Town Center, the realization of a development that's been a long time coming.
Over the years, several developers have submitted plans for the old canal lands at the corner of Main and Front streets, but none ever made it past the planning phase.
According to Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall, one of the original goals given to her when she took the job was to find a good fit for this piece of land and the community.
"After I was hired, I was given the direction to do something about that parcel," she said, noting that Finance Director Jeff Green had been working on it for several years.
"I'm glad together we found a very good solution," Hall said.
"I think the new Town Center will be a wonderful addition to the community, adding much-needed parking. And the Ace Hardware will be very good for residents. The owners are very community-conscious."
The Town Center project was originally approved in April as a public-private partnership with developer Rick Foreman, who owns two other Ace Hardware stores in Baltimore and Ashville. Foreman is also a former resident of Groveport.
Once the Town Center is finished, it will include public parking, a 10,000-square-foot Ace Hardware store as the anchor tenant, and a 7,200-square-foot, multi-tenant, mixed-use building that city officials estimate could bring as many as 50 new jobs to Groveport.
Madison Township trustees have approved a liquor license for the site, which is located across the street from Groveport Elementary and Groveport Junior High School.
Trustees voted unanimously in favor of allowing a liquor license on the site, based on the proximity of two other restaurants that also serve liquor, Little Italy Pizza and The Birch Tavern.
According to Hall, this is in anticipation of a getting a restaurant to fill some of the new multi-tenant space.
"There's the possibility of a future restaurant in that second building, but we haven't been talking with anyone specifically about that," she said. "We'd just like to be prepared with options once the space is available."
City officials anticipate the project will be completed in the spring.