Middletown’s latest downtown building makeover to include apartments, retail space

A developer is hoping to use a tax abatement to aid a building redevelopment project, the latest of several to happen in downtown Middletown.

Kevin Kimener of MLH Developers is renovating and updating the building located at 1044 Central Ave. MLH Developers is investing about $445,000, which includes $350,000 in renovations and $95,000 in building acquisition.

Once the project is completed, the building will have two residential units and two commercial retail spaces. He said each of the apartments will be 1,200 square feet.

The developer is also envisioning about $65,000 in annual payroll with the two full-time and two part-time jobs that will be created as a result of the project. The construction and renovation of the project is projected to be completed by Feb. 29, 2020.

MLH Developers is requesting a 12-year, 100 percent Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement. That request will be considered by Middletown City Council at its meeting on Tuesday.

In its application, MLH Developers said the CRA abatement would help offset the large capital outlay that is being made, as the current valuation of the property is $95,000.

“Every dollar that can be saved and used most efficiently is essential to the project’s success,” Kimener said. “A tax abatement for 12 years will allow this investment to grow and put money back into the businesses and properties.”

Kimener said he has already leased one of the commercial spaces to a local interior designer and has people already asking about the apartments on the second floor. He said the project will also include improvements to the facade.

“Our intent is to bring back the original likeness of the building that once was the Parrot Bar,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting seeing the photos of what it looked like in the 1930s and 1950s.”

Kimener, who is the husband of Councilwoman Ami Vitori Kimener, said his wife is not part of this development project or his development company, MLH Developers. In addition, he said she will recuse herself from the discussions on the tax abatement request during the council meeting and cannot vote on it.

He said the Ohio Ethics Commission has reviewed the request and cleared it for council consideration. Susan Cohen, city administrative services director/chief legal counsel, requested an advisory opinion on Feb. 28.

The Ohio Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion on March 5 and said Kimener’s company is eligible to be considered for a tax abatement because his wife is not an officer or shareholder in his development company and does not perform any services for him.

City Manager Doug Adkins said the city does not have any concerns about this project or the tax abatement request.

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