New coffee shop, roastery proposed for Lebanon property

A businessman wants to repurpose a commercial property owned by the city of Lebanon at 535 N. Broadway and turn it into a coffee shop and roastery and a space for a nonprofit Christian ministry.

Lebanon City Council will vote Tuesday on a development agreement for the property.

Jacob Shaw met with council members during a work session last week to go over the proposed development agreement in which his company, JCS Broadway Holding, will develop the existing 11,090 square-foot building for commercial and retail use. He has secured the proposed project financing and a letter of recommendation from the Warren County Small Business Center.

Shaw was previously part of a group wanting to redevelop the building, but that person was unable to obtain the financing to acquire the building, according to city officials.

Shaw said he still had interest in the project and obtained the necessary financing for the project, which will also include a new roastery, store and drive-through for Script Coffee which is currently operating at the Sonder Brewery in Deerfield Twp.; and space for the Matthew 18 Ministries, to work with community leaders and surrounding churches to aid in the form of meals, classes, tutoring, and a number of other community outreach programs, such as the Lebanon Impact Club for high school students.

“A portion of the building will not be leased initially and will fit the space to a future tenant depending on how the area develops,” Shaw said. “There are a lot of great projects on Broadway and we’re excited to be a part of that.”

The proposed agreement to repurpose the building includes a sale price of $150,000, which is below the current market value of $363,000 to facilitate development. The agreement would also define the building and site renovation improvements to ensure the building contributes to the vitality of the corridor, more than $400,000 in private investment. In addition, the agreement has a provision that if the project construction is not completed within 12 months of the closing date, the city will have the option to purchase the property back for $150,000.

City Manager Scott Brunka said, “This is comparable to the Bissman Building on Deerfield Road - the use of the building has changed over the years to include a bike shop, two different gyms, a coffee shop, church and small business offices.”

Brunka said the city is also looking at building three pickleball courts on city-owned land at 541 North Broadway, adjacent to the building. He said the pickleball courts are being designed and there is no final cost estimate on that project.

“Based on the community survey that was included in our recently completed Parks Master Plan, additional pickleball courts for our community is one of the top requested recreational amenities,” Brunka said.

City officials said the existing building was originally constructed in 1949 with incremental expansions in 1978 and 1991. The building was previously used as an auto body repair shop; a machine shop; an HVAC company; Auto Exteriors, and a Custom Engraving Shop.

The city acquired the property from Nathan Ridgley in December 2021 in exchange for 20 W. Silver St. property and $40,000 in cash. The property formerly housed Fire Station 41, which Ridgeley transformed into the Lebanon Brewing Company.

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