Hamilton seeking to sell 2 more buildings for redevelopment projects

City officials recently closed a request-for-proposals process for sale of the buildings at 244 Main St. & 16 N. D St., at a key Main Street intersection. PROVIDED
City officials recently closed a request-for-proposals process for sale of the buildings at 244 Main St. & 16 N. D St., at a key Main Street intersection. PROVIDED

After settling on Agave and Rye as the buyer for a building that served as a body shop for more than 80 years, the city of Hamilton is seeking request proposals for two other properties in the city:

  • A brick building at 514 Maple Ave. downtown that used to house a city electric substation. The building is about a block southeast of the McDonald’s restaurant at High Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • The combination of 244 Main St. and 16 North D St., which will be marketed as a pair. Officials have worked unsuccessfully in recent years to market the two buildings, which they feel each are too small to develop individually, but perhaps can be used together, perhaps with an atrium connecting them.

Hamilton’s Community Improvement Corporation members voted last week to sell the former Ritzi Body Shop to the restaurant for $1in exchange for a $2.5 million investment on the property at the southeast corner of Main and E streets.

“Their investment was 2½ times higher than the next closest proposal,” said Hamilton Small-Business Development Specialist Mallory Greenham. “They’re expected to add 50-60 jobs to Hamilton.”

The city bought the 0.62-acre property last summer for $365,000. Ritzi was a multi-generation automobile repair and body shop that operated for 83 years.

Agave & Rye hopes to be open by April 1, 2022, Greenham said.

Other businesses that submitted proposals were Richards Mexican Cafe, owned by Richards Pizza; Rose of Sharon Beauty Empire; Main StrEAT Food Park, which would sell Ramen, popsicles and Philippine foods; and Unsung Salvage.

One company that made a public push for a location was Richards Pizza, which sold Mexican food and other international foods from its Main Street location until 1992, when demand for the Italian food took up too much of the kitchen’s attention.

Richards in February posed the question online, “What would you think if we brought back the original Richards Mexican menu items in a separate restaurant on Main Street?”

“All of them were great,” Greenham said of the proposals. “Honestly, all of them had awesome proposals.”

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