Earlier this week, Grove City's City Council agreed with the administration that downtown property was worth more than its appraised value if meant developing a new library.
At its meeting on Monday, April 1, council voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of 3951 and 3959-3963 Broadway for $1 million and 3418 and 3422 Grant Ave. for $292,000.
The purchases are part of the Grove City Town Center redevelopment proposal by the Pizzuti Companies, a project that would see the relocation of the Southwest Public Libraries' Grove City branch from 3359 Park St. to the intersection of Broadway and Grant.
"This, for me, is a long time coming," said Councilman Jeff Davis. "I believe when this is over, it'll mean something special to our community."
Councilman Steve Bennett said it would upgrade the downtown.
"I think it'll be a major shot in the arm," he said.
The Broadway property, owned by Robert L. Foreman, is commercial property that currently houses a number of business and organizations, including the Grove City Kids Association, and City Bike Repair. The most recent county auditor appraisal, conducted in 2011, valued the property at $430,100.
City Administrator Chuck Boso said the city's own appraisal, conducted by the Horner Appraisal Group of Columbus, came in at $875,000.
The Grant properties are both houses, owned by Beth A. Brown and Roberta and Chadwick Adams. The county appraisal came in at a combined $206,500, and the city's appraisal, also conducted by Horner, was $250,000.
The $292,000 authorized by council includes $20,000 to demolish the houses. The cost of demolition is not included in the $1 million price of the Broadway property.
City officials have said the current owners were not looking to sell, and they are willing to pay well above the county's appraised value to move the project forward.
While council has authorized the sales, the deals still need to be closed. The city and library are currently in talks. Both entities previously agreed that in return for the city acquiring the land for the new library, the library would contribute an upfront capital investment as well as an annual debt service with both amounts to be negotiated.
Boso said if a deal with the library is not reached, the city would not continue with the purchase of the Broadway property.
Council President Ted Berry said there would be a special council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 8, to discuss the other component of Pizzuti's Town Center plan.
In addition to the new library, Pizzuti originally proposed the construction four-multi family residential buildings at Broadway and Columbus Street but then updated its proposal to three buildings with 150 single-bedroom and studio apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space at the current site of City Hall, 4035 Broadway.
Council members previously said they wanted to be sure the original proposal was no longer doable before pursing the latest version.