A developer plans to bring a new restaurant to the former site of the West End Grill in downtown Delaware.
David DiStefano, whose firm 2nd Half Ventures also owns the building that houses neighboring restaurant 12 West, said the former eatery at 14 W. William St. needed to be demolished.
"West End Grill was literally falling down," he said. "Their chimney fell on our roof before. It collapsed from the inside.
"So I bought the property because it sat vacant for about a year or so."
Delaware City Council on July 24 approved a 15-year, 100 percent tax property-tax abatement on improvements made on the vacant land at the site. In return, 2nd Half Ventures promised to open a business with the equivalent of nine full-time employees with a payroll of $350,000 within three years of the building's completion, according to city records.
The firm also will pay about $1,170 per year to the Delaware City School District and the Delaware Area Career Center -- about 30 percent of what those entities would receive annually without the abatement in place.
Construction costs for the project have been estimated at $250,000, according to city records.
DiStefano said the new restaurant would share an interior doorway with 12 West, but it will feature a separate kitchen and menu.
"From the street (and) concept-wise, it will be a different restaurant," he said.
DiStefano said the new eatery would be aimed at a different target audience from 12 West, which serves Mexican food. He did not detail plans for the menu when he went before council.
DiStefano said he hopes the project to build the new restaurant takes about three months.
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan said the deal is "very similar" to a tax-incentive deal struck in June between the city and a business owner who plans to open a winery on East Winter Street.
In one key difference, Kirby Ventures received a tax break to facilitate the renovation of the existing building at 38 E. Winter St. for the Oak & Brazen Wine Co., whereas 2nd Half Ventures will oversee a new construction project.
Homan said it "makes a lot of sense" to offer a tax break to a developer looking to fill a vacant lot with a new business.