Reynoldsburg considering purchase of PNC, Happy Dragon properties

Kelley Rodriguez
ThisWeek
Reynoldsburg City Hall

In an effort to “control its own destiny,” the city of Reynoldsburg is considering the purchase of two commercially zoned properties on East Main Street.  

City Council on March 22 weighed two ordinances to approve the purchases of a former PNC Bank property, 7221 E. Main Street, and the Happy Dragon Chinese restaurant, 7332 E. Main Street.  

Reynoldsburg has agreed to pay $2 million for the 1.6-acre bank property and $620,000 for the half-acre restaurant property, according to purchase agreements presented to council. The city will use money from its Capital Improvements Fund, according to the March 22 legislation. 

“It’s about controlling our own destiny,” Mayor Joe Begeny said. “For the first time in a long time, we have the opportunity to determine what types of businesses are coming into downtown Reynoldsburg.”  

Council is expected to vote on the real-estate purchases at the April 26 meeting. 

Officials said the city intends to hold onto the properties about a year to facilitate redevelopment. The city would then sell the land to new owners. 

Redevelopment plans would require approval by the city’s planning commission. 

Begeny said class A office space, medical office and small business “incubator space” are among the types of redevelopment being discussed.  

“The city has zero class A office space,” said Andrew Bowsher, development director. “We consistently lose out on businesses. We don’t have any that are available because we don’t have any at all.” 

This typically would be the type of project funneled through a nonprofit community-improvement corporation, but the city does not have a CIC, Bowsher said. 

At-large councilman Stacie Baker said he supports the plan to buy the properties.  

“I think we have to invest in ourselves,” Baker said.  

Fellow at-large councilman Barth Cotner said developers have been interested in the properties before, only to walk away.  

“What makes us believe we should be in the real estate business?” he said. “How do we know better?” 

Officials pointed to the city’s redevelopment of the former swimming pool and roller rink on Davidson Drive into the $30 million community center YMCA.  

“This is not a new concept for municipalities to get into this game,” Bowsher said. “We’ll have brand-new development in the city with income and tax dollars that we currently don’t have. It’s the city finally taking a step forward and taking matters into its own hands.” 

If council approves the purchases, the restaurant property is expected to be redeveloped first, with construction beginning as soon as next spring, Bowsher said. 

The PNC property is owned by Nance Family LLC and managed by Hadler Realty Company.  

The Happy Dragon property is owned by Jack and Leshan Sun. 

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