A next-door neighbor is looking to buy and renovate the vacant Grove City Hardware Store in the Town Center.
Matt Yerkes, owner of Quick Square Consulting and Venue 62 at 3995 Broadway, has applied for a grant under the city's Town Center Commercial Revitalization Grant Program to help buy and renovate the vacant Grove City Hardware at 3989 Broadway, located next door to his businesses.
The grant program reimburses local businesses, nonprofits, not-for-profits and building owners for commercial buildings and core area properties' improvement projects.
The former hardware store building is about 8,200 square feet. Yerkes said he envisions having multiple shops and small businesses occupying the space.
"It's a large building," he said. "There's definitely room for multiple businesses."
Right now, the building requires about $400,000 worth of repairs, including structural problems in back. Renovations will take about a year.
"The building is in disrepair," Yerkes said. "It basically needs everything to be replaced."
In addition to renovating the space to bring it up to code and making it economically viable, Yerkes said he plans to maintain the historic nature of the building. Before it was a hardware store, it was the old Mulzer Garage as well as the site of what is believed to be the first car dealership in Grove City. Built in 1915 as a garage and dance hall, it later housed a Ford and Lincoln agency, which prospered until the Great Depression. The hardware store opened there in 1945.
Yerkes said he's trying to piece together a financial package from local, county and federal sources to help buy and renovate the property.
The maximum amount the city awards under the Town Center Commercial Revitalization Grant Program is $10,000 a year.
However, an "exceptional circumstance" can be granted to a project to increase the award if at least three of the following criteria are met:
* The improvement substantially enhances the vitality and appearance of the Town Center;
* It creates jobs;
* It results in the leveraging of additional economic investment and activity;
* It utilizes sustainable building and site design concepts;
* It meets a needed goal or service in the Town Center Plan;
* It maintains and enhances exterior structures and their interior facilities; and,
* It updates the building to meet code requirements.
Under the proposed ordinance, council would authorize an award of $60,000, payable in three equal annual installments.
Grove City Council held its first reading of the ordinance that would grant an exceptional circumstance to the project April 7. The vote is scheduled for Monday, April 21.