Friday the 13th was a lucky day for Hamilton’s CORE Fund.
That’s when the Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts (CORE) Fund closed the sale of its first commercial property, finalizing an agreement to sell 254 High St. to Sara’s House Home Decor and Gifts, which has occupied the building’s street-level retail area since May 2014.
The non-profit fund, which is working to renovate buildings in the city’s core and return them to productive use, had previously sold residential properties in German Village, said Director Mike Dingeldein.
The Sara’s House building sold for about $300,000, representing the amount CORE had paid for the building plus renovations to residential areas of the structure, he said.
“It’s tremendous, because now we can recycle that (money) into a new project,” Dingeldein said.
“We are getting close to closing on the Fifth Third building” at 2 S. Third St., Dingeldein said. “And we’re turning our attention looking forward onto the Main Street properties that we own. Our focus right now is going to be to stabilize the properties that we’ve purchased on Main Street.”
The fund also is renovating two houses in German Village, at 401 N. Second St. and 407 N. Third St.
“It is different” owning the building, said Sara’s House owner Sara Vallandingham, who has moved her family into the building’s upstairs floors since the sale.
She and her family used to live in Fairfield Twp.’s Walden Ponds golf-course community, “even though we felt very connected to this space from the shop perspective,” she said.
“If feels like a big responsibility to own such a large property, but it’s really a dream come true,” Vallandingham said.
Counting the properties on Main Street, CORE now owns seven commercial properties after the sale of the Sara’s House building, and eight residential properties, after the sales of 350 N. Second St. and 309 N. Second.
“The projects always have relied on recycling the money to go to the next project,” Dingeldein said. “So the ones that move off the books help recycle the money to go into the ones that are going into construction.”
The CORE Fund receives its money to operate from four investors: the Hamilton Community Foundation, the city of Hamilton, First Financial Bank and U.S. Bank.
The organization’s purchasing and renovation efforts — along with signs on CORE-owned buildings that announce they’re being readied for their rebirth — have created a positive atmosphere about the business corridors on High and Main Streets.
“I can’t wait to see this area in a few years,” Hamilton resident Tristan Curtis of Mt. Pleasant Blacktopping Co. said this week as he and others worked on a new parking area and plaza along Main Street just east of North D St. “It’s already come a long way in the past few years.”
Vallandingham is very hopeful about the future of High and Main streets: “There’s such excitement and momentum, and when you see plans being executed, and completed and accomplished, I don’t know how you can’t be encouraged. I have a lot of faith and hope that this kind of thing is going to continue to happen.”
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