LIMA — Another investment project is potentially coming to Lima’s downtown.
Using the buildings located on the northeast corner of Spring and Main streets, Good Food Restaurants President John Heaphy said he is currently developing a multi-business property at that location with the goal of serving the influx of new Rhodes State students and increasing foot traffic in the area.
“We’ve taken these two buildings, and we’ve got an architect firm out of Fort Wayne that’s done lot of downtown development buildings. The plans are underway. I’ve got significant tenants going in the top floor and potential for the second floor and on the first floor and the basement,” Heaphy said.
While Heaphy declined to name those businesses until the development is further along, he said the overall idea is to renovate the buildings and create a line of restaurants and entertainment venues on Spring Street.
Before that can happen, however, one of the potential sticking points Heaphy is looking to address is providing parking for the development, and he’s been working with the City of Lima to solve the issue. Heaphy said he reached out to the City of Lima a few months back to see what role the city could play in helping to push forward his vision for the area, and after discussing what could be done, the two entities eventually came to a potential agreement.
Under the proposed terms, the city would trade Heaphy its municipal parking lot on Spring Street for an undeveloped lot near the Central Avenue and Market Street intersection. Heaphy would also deposit $100,000 to the city to help develop a new parking lot at that location.
In return, Heaphy would have the ability to develop and maintain the city’s old lot to create outdoor patio dining for his newest development at Spring and Main as well as for his Old City Prime customers on the same block.
“I really feel right now, in downtown Lima is the best synergy, the most exciting time in my lifetime that I’ve seen in downtown Lima. I think it’s a great example right now, of a collaboration in public and private sectors working together,” Heaphy said.
Heaphy called the proposal to switch parking lot properties a win-win for both Old City Prime and the city citing additional sales tax for the city, increased energy in downtown and upticks in regional development and income tax.
“There’ll be dining on the north side of Old City Prime with bistro lighting, beautiful landscaping, and there’ll be dining on the south side of Spring and Main outside,” Heaphy said. “So when you approach, you’ll see that active area from Old City Prime over to Spring and Main all the way down to the amphitheater. And I think it’s going to be something unique that downtown Lima has never really seen a concentration of four, possibly five concepts on a block.”
While the agreement has been put on paper, it is yet to be fully realized. Lima City Council will still need to vote in favor of the ordinance, which will be on council’s agenda for next Monday, for final approval.
“We’re excited about it,” Mayor David Berger said. “We appreciate the investment in the downtown, and it certainly does, I think, preview a continuing revitalization of the downtown as a center of commerce and activities, and we’re excited to make that happen.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.