Hamilton looking to buy 10th Street property to bring development to intersection

Purchase would help build a retail development with an urban feel.

Hamilton officials are moving toward buying a 10th Street property for $165,000 to foster development at the intersection of 10th and High streets.

City Manager Joshua Smith last week told Hamilton City Council about plans to purchase the property at 12 N. 10th St., a two-story wood frame house that is three buildings from High Street. The purchase would help build a retail development with an urban feel on an approximately 0.7-acre group of properties at the northeast corner of 10th and High streets.

“The city of Hamilton has been working to redevelop the corner of High Street and North Tenth Street for the past few years,” Aaron Hufford of Smith’s office wrote in a report to council. “In total, the City owns 10 parcels on this corner, some of which were acquired and transferred from the Butler County Land Bank. Additionally, a local developer owns two adjacent parcels.”

To make way for the proposed new development, a unique yellow building at 2 N. 10th St. — not the one the city is considering buying — would have to be torn down. It used to house apartments.

Hamilton’s Architectural Design Review Board earlier this year rejected a proposal by developer Mark Ayer to tear down the building at 2 N. 10th St. until it could see more final plans for the building with a modern, yet historic feel that would replace it.

Ayer also owns the large strip shopping center across the street with the Donatos restaurant, Family Dollar store and phone shops. He also owns the nearby property where he intends to build a Biggby Coffee shop.

The proposed new building would be constructed close to the street, similar to buildings from a century or more ago. Parking areas for the businesses would be behind the building and alongside it.

A city purchase of the property at 12 N. 10th St. would create a total footprint of approximately 0.7 acres on the city’s High Street corridor “and will help ‘square off’ the property to create a more developable corner,” Hufford wrote.

Under the proposed schedule for consideration of the purchase, council is to consider it next at its May 12 meeting, with a vote expected May 26.

The property now occupied by the house at 12 N. 10th St. “would be the access drive to the development,” Smith told council last week.

The 2 N. 10th St. property is in the Dayton Lane historic district, but city staff could not find an Ohio Historic Inventory sheet for the property.

Because of the “blighting influence” of the building at its high-profile location along a key entrance to the city, Hamilton staff had asked Ayer, who bought the property July 29, to seek permission to demolish the building, which had been a multi-family residence with “a history of code violations and public safety issues while it was owned by the previous owner,” according to a report to the architectural board.

Also, “the property has not had a functioning HVAC system for over a year and the tenants had been living at the residence without a heating system,” city staff wrote.

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