An aging strip center along a well-traveled strip of state Route 315, just north of Interstate 270, will get a long-planned update after the purchase of the Olentangy Valley Centre by Continental Real Estate Cos.

Columbus-based Continental paid $5 million for the center, with plans to tear down an office building on the south end of the property, making room for a 100-bed senior-living center.

The latter will be completed in partnership with Indianapolis-based Traditions Management.

The Hills Market, Rusty Bucket and other tenants will remain in the strip center to benefit from the updates. Another office building at the north end of the property also likely will be torn down eventually so retail can be added, said Frank Kass, founding partner of Continental.

Kass said the land available for the senior-living facility, which will have both independent- and assisted-living options, was the main attraction for his company in buying the approximately 10-acre property that sits on what has become a busy travel artery between Delaware County and Columbus.

The site of the office building to be torn down for the senior-living operation was approved by Franklin County for a zoning change to housing nine years ago, under a previous owner.

The facility will be one of eight Continental is developing with Traditions, including locations in Granville and Lexington, Kentucky.

The 1970s-era center, located in Sharon Township directly across Route 315 from the Worthington Hills neighborhood, has long been anchored by the Hills Market, a local grocer, and a Rusty Bucket restaurant. Two owners over the past dozen years have proposed updates to the center that ultimately didn't happen. Consequently, the property hasn't received a major update in years. The two office buildings are largely empty.

The location and demographics of the center are attractive, though, Kass said. He said it's been "nothing but my phone ringing" since Continental moved to acquire the company last month. He said the retail at the center is "fairly stable," with just a few vacancies.

mrose@dispatch.com

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