Westerville News & Public Opinion

Vacant Knights Inn property

City may spend $300,000 for closed motel

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Westerville City Council might convene for a special meeting during its summer recess to approve funds to purchase the former Knights Inn property near the city's southern boundary.

Westerville Assistant City Manager Julie Colley said the city's economic development agency, the Westerville Industrial and Commerce Corp., on July 22 entered into a "purchase contract agreement contingent upon due diligence," to purchase the Knights Inn property at 32 Heatherdown Drive.

If inspections, environmental studies and "a lot of other things," are cleared by the city, the purchase would cost $300,000, Colley said, and would need to be funded by council at a special meeting scheduled tentatively for 7 p.m. Aug. 12.

Council would have to identify where to obtain the funds and approve the transfer of those funds to WICC.

Colley said the city's recently created Capital Opportunities Fund -- which includes excess funds each year when the city is under budget -- could be used for the purchase, but nothing has been determined.

The 2.8-acre property, which has been vacant for some time, has been identified as a priority for the city. The former hotel structure on the lot is 8,688 square feet, just west of State Street near the Westerville interchange on Interstate 270.

"Obviously it's a vacant property and it's not in good shape and it's in serious delinquency right now," Colley said.

"It is (at) our entrance to the city," she said.

"We've spent a lot of our public dollars on reinvigorating the South State Street entrance and a number of private entities have spent a number of dollars on their property as well.

"So, the entrance to our city is pretty important."

But Colley was quick to warn nothing has been finalized, and a decision has not been made.

"We are making sure that the procedures are in place for us to move forward," she said.

"Right now, we're just trying to get all of our hurdles lined up so that when we pull the trigger we can hit each one of them."

If the process moves forward, the meeting date will be finalized by Aug. 8, when the special meeting's agenda would be made available. Updates will be posted to the city's website, westerville.org, and its social media accounts.

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