The old Delaware County jail could be transformed into a restaurant and inn if a local company's bid on the structure is accepted.

Delaware County on April 5 received two bids for the purchase of the former jail, 20 W. Central Ave.

County Director of Facilities Jon Melvin said Michael Cox bid $156,000 and Roxanne Amidon bid $10,050.

The county set no minimum bid for the building, which served as the county jail for more than 100 years at the northeast corner of Central and Franklin streets in Delaware's Downtown Historic District.

The bids will be reviewed by the county commissioners, who as of last week had not scheduled discussion of the bidding results.

Melvin said the commissioners have the option of rejecting both bids.

Melvin said Cox is an area attorney, and Amidon's bid identified her as being with Roxlton Holding LLC, Delaware.

Cox did not return a message by press time.

Melvin said Amidon's research showed the building would require a minimum renovation investment of at least $500,000. Amidon "brought in a lot of people to look at it," he said.

Amidon said those examining the jail on her company's behalf included an architect and a representative of the State Historic Preservation Office.

"Our interest first and foremost is to preserve the history of the building," she said, adding the $500,000 to $550,000 investment estimate is the cost of ensuring that preservation and doesn't include the costs of establishing a business there.

She said Amidonian LLC, the company she operates with her husband, Charlton, focuses mainly on residential design and renovation and has completed projects around Delaware.

Roxlton Holding is a purchasing agent, she said.

Their plan for the jail building, she said, is to establish a restaurant and inn with spa services in the residence and part of the cell block. The balance of the cell block would be renovated for tour groups initially, and possible expansion of the restaurant later. Graffiti drawn by prisoners would remain in the cells.

The restaurant would be on the first floor; the inn and spa would be in four bedrooms and two women's jail areas, all on the second floor.

A letter accompanying Amidon's bid lists details of her and her husband's plan.

They said they are working to find appropriate restaurateurs as a tenant or partner.

Candidates are being sought through the Ohio Restaurant Association, Delaware City Business Development Director Sean Hughes, local landlord Joe Diamond and others.

Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply has created a kitchen layout and cost model for the needed equipment.

They also have received "a dozen letters of support from immediate neighbors to the old jail, and residents throughout the Northwest Neighborhood."

She said the jail property comes with 18 parking spaces, and nearby county spaces are public on evenings and weekends.

"We were surprised when the jail came up for sale," she said. "We thought about it and decided, 'Why not us?' "

The county has maintained the building well, Melvin said.

Its boiler was replaced last year and the roof was upgraded five or six years ago.

In recent years, the building has housed the Delaware County Law Library and offices for the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Melvin said those offices will be moved to other county buildings if the old jail sells.

Delaware County Historical Society records show the jail was built in 1878 and is the third jail building at the site. It was used as a jail until the 1980s.

County spokeswoman Jane Hawes earlier said the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, which bars demolition and certain structural changes.

Melvin earlier said the historical designation qualifies the building for tax incentives if a new owner rehabilitates it.

The potential sale is part of a county effort to consolidate offices following construction of a new downtown courthouse and the acquisition of the Delaware Area Career Center's north campus.

The county will take possession of the DACC site in 2019. It sits on 64 acres off state Route 521 in Brown Township.

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