(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Jeff Kerr of Kerr Real Estate LLC, was in Columbia City Tuesday evening to share plans for the long-vacant Scott's grocery store building and to come before the Columbia City Common Council to request a 10-year tax abatement on the estimated $4.5 million project which would bring up to 60 jobs to the community.
, at left, talks with South Whitley businessman Joe Kessie.
Jeff Kerr, a representative of Burnham-Kerr Columbia City LLC, a subsidiary of Michigan-based Kerr Real Estate LLC spoke for several minutes, with people hanging on every word waiting for an indication of what, specifically, that project was and at last shared the news many had been waiting since summer to hear officially: a multi-use plan for the retail space anchored by Dunham's Sports.
"Today, redevelopment in a community is more important than it ever has been," Kerr
"In our view (the Scott's building) is an important visual front door," Kerr
praised local officals, saying, "Having worked in so many communities, (local officials) are as good as it gets."
They should be a terrific member of the community," Kerr continued, adding that the anchor store will likely make filling the remaining available space easier.
working hard to attract other restaurants, adding, "...and we think there are some voids in the fashion area.
company has a track record of taking vacant retail space and converting it into useable, non-traditional uses involving offices and education.
"There are non-traditional uses worth considering."
said the location is particularly attractive because of visibility to the highly-traveled US 30, parking design, presence of a stop light nearby and location that's adjacent to retail and industrial areas.
"Those particular real estate dynamics are helpful," he
Kerr Real Estate
is expected to close on the sale of the space in March and begin construction projects on the site, including new HVAC, a roof and facade update.
"The tenant would like to be open as soon as possible," Kerr
later told the Columbia City Council
, citing May as a potential opening time if "things go really well.
The space, he
said, could be fully occupied by 2014.
said representatives with Dunham's Sports
are very enamored with the local community and excited to not only open their business here, but to get involved in the community as well.
After hearing more about the proposed project, including the $1.5 million in building improvements which, according to Kerr
, did not include the aquisition price for the property, the council unanimously approved extending a 10-year tax abatement on the property.