Lebanon looking at development agreement to renovate building

A building on North Broadway that is on a list for possible demolition may be redeveloped for a new use.

The city is working on a development agreement that could prevent the building at 535 North Broadway from demolition. The city has already received state funding through the Warren County Port Authority for the demolition and has already demolished two structures at 525 and 541 North Broadway.

City Manager Scott Brunka said details are still being worked out on the city-owned property and hopes to have a development agreement for council to review in September.

The proposed project would include the new home of Script Coffee, CrossFit Superfly and the Lebanon Impact Club. Representatives from both businesses and the youth organization said they wanted to seek a larger space because they are outgrowing their current facilities.

Brunka said the building was originally built in 1949 and expanded in 1978 and in 1991. It was previously used as an auto body shop, a machine shop, an HVAC company, an auto exterior shop, and a custom engraving shop. He said the city acquired the property in December 2021 in exchange for the former fire station and cash considerations for the Lebanon Brewing Co. project. The 0.31-acre parcel was appraised in June with a current market value of $363,000.

“This will compliment the redevelopment of the North Broadway corridor,” Brunka said.

He said the city master plan said the corridor should recruit businesses geared to a younger market.

Brunka said the market analysis for this area identified the potential for certain types of stores that might appeal to a younger demographic, ages 15 to 24.

ExploreLebanon development project heading for the finish line

The city sought out possible redevelopment proposals in June 2021 and received only one response from Conger Construction. Their proposal was for a Class A office building with limited retail. The city and Conger worked on the project for nine months, but Conger opted not to pursue the project due to market and construction related issues, Brunka said.

Brian Miller, owner of CrossFit Superfly, said they want to see Lebanon grow stronger. He said the organization’s mission is to become a one-stop wellness center.

Miller’s organization already works with the city employees fitness program, the Warren County SWAT Team, student athletes, Warren County Special Olympics and Luke 5 Ministry.

He said the new facility will expand and improve the capacity and flexibility for the community. In addition, the new facility would focus on physical therapy, offering massage and body wellness and senior citizen wellness.

“I’d hate to see it demolished,” said Jacob Shaw of the Lebanon Impact Club. “The bones (structure) are fine and the roof needs repairs.”

He said the Lebanon Impact Club is a non-denominational high school ministry that has experienced tremendous growth since it started four years ago. The nonprofit group serves students countywide through community events and community development projects. It also mentors high school students through spiritual faith.

With the proposed space, Shaw said it would allow the organization to expand to junior high students.

“The new space will open up opportunities and more space where they can feel welcome and comfortable,” he said.

Script Coffee, a local coffee roaster, started in 2019 and is already outgrowing its current space at Sonder Brewing in Mason. The coffee is featured at various stores, such as Whole Foods, and co-owners Jeff Lyon and Stephen Huff said they want to expand the brand into the Columbus, Cleveland and Indianapolis markets.

The company’s vision is to continue to roast their coffee brands and open up a coffee shop with a drive-through that would feature a small food menu, coffee, lattes, specialty drinks and smoothies. Huff said customers can witness coffee being roasted behind glass.

In an email response, Lyon said the proposed project is a “possibility” at this time.

“A lot of details need to be worked out and we have not entered into contract with Brian yet,” Lyon said.

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