LIMA — A vacant building in downtown Lima is being converted into an apartment complex that is targeted at young professionals, in an effort to help revitalize the downtown area and provide more housing options for employees who work at the city’s largest corporations.
The Metro Center Upscale Lofts and Business Center, located at 127 to 131 N. Elizabeth St., will feature three floors of apartment-style housing with about five units on each floor. The complex, which used to house a multitude of banks until it went vacant a few years ago, is located near Kewpee and includes the offices of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. It is also within blocks of the Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center and the downtown Square.
The project is by Pursuit 3 LLC, a cooperative between Walter Development and Trisco Systems.
Each apartment will come fully furnished, and the outside of the building has space for more than 40 private parking spaces. Developers have not announced the rent price, though one official said it will be market-based.
On the first floor of the complex, a retail area will feature a variety of potential businesses such as a coffee shop, convenience store, barber shop, beauty and nail salon, laundromat, clothing boutique, yoga/dance studio, gym and more.
Architects are mapping out the Metro Center to develop floor plans for the renovated building. Greg Butcher, a commercial real estate agent at Superior Plus Realtors, said they will be “100 percent ready to move forward” by the end of August. The project should be complete in late 2018.
“By that time we will be ready to entertain leases and everything else,” he said, adding that it will take maybe four months to begin buildilding the units after tenants begin signing up. “This is not a spec project, so we have to get [tenants] locked in place first. If everything was perfect, we’re probably looking at nine months before the first tenants move in.”
Butcher said they are specifically targeting millennials as potential tenants, especially those who are working for large companies such as Procter & Gamble, Lima Memorial Health System, PotashCorp and St. Rita’s Medical Center.
“Corporations have to provide more for their employees today than they used to — not that they’re going to give them free rent — but if you want them to come to Lima, Ohio, you better have a place for them to stay,” Butcher said. “Now we’re finally at the point where we feel we can provide that for them.”
Butcher, who is working on the project with William Walter of Walter Development Enterprises, said the new apartment complex will coincide with other efforts to revitalize downtown Lima. He added that, for the first time in years, there are enough quality restaurants and retail stores downtown to support new housing.
“If we do this, plus some of the other developments, that will lead to more storefronts and that kind of stuff because it is driven from the people there,” he said. “You’ve got to have people on-site for it all to move forward.”
Butcher said he hopes this will be the first step in a long line of other development projects in the downtown area.
“You cannot do the whole area at one time — you’ve got to build on what you got,” he said. “If you fill the housing need, then later on you can do other specialty shops and those type of things.”
After The Metro Center is complete, developers are looking to turn the downtown Enterprise Building into another apartment complex.
“That will be a very upscale apartment complex for some of the doctors and whatnot who are looking for a showier-type place,” Butcher said. “But for now we’re concentrating on this first.”
For details or to sign up as a future tenant at The Metro Center, call Butcher at 419-339-4006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.