New restaurant planned for East Main


Tim Hortons plans to build a restaurant on the site of a vacant church, the most extensive new development on East Main Street in years.

According to city documents, Tim Hortons wants to buy and raze the former Story-Hypes United Methodist Church, 2000 E. Main St., if its variance requests to create more parking and allow more room for a drive-through operation are approved by the Springfield Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday.

East Main Street has had various recent improvements — mostly rehabilitations and redevelopments of places such as Taco Bell and McDonald’s.

“(But) this would be the first new development in the last couple years in that corridor, specifically as it relates to the Eastern Edge Corridor Plan,” said Bryan Heck, Springfield planning and zoning administrator.

The corridor plan was adopted in 2008 and is a land-use plan for East Main Street to promote growth and business friendly commercial development while maintaining historical and residential areas.

The new Tim Hortons fits particularly well with the plan as it involves tearing down a vacant property that is now unsightly, Heck said. It also calls for more than 28 percent of the land to be used for green space and beautification.

“The city always encourages new development, specifically when it involves vacant property and vacant structures that have been vandalized and deteriorated to the point where redevelopment is not feasible,” Heck said.

The former church has been vacant since November 2010, said Jeff Mullinix, pastor for Faith United Methodist Church, which owns the property.

“It has been almost 1.5 years since we first received the offer from Tim Hortons,” Mullinix said. “A lot of the hang-up has been the zoning. Tim Hortons is ready.”

The land sale is contingent on the approval of the two variances requested, Heck said, and the city has been working with Faith United.

The restaurant chain’s corporate office didn’t respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment.

Tim Hortons is responsible for tearing down the building as part of the sale, Mullinix said, while Faith United is paying to remove the asbestos.

Residents surrounding the church said since the building has been vacant, people have broken in and it looks dilapidated.

“I hope (Tim Hortons) boosts the area up and cleans it up,” said Jim LeValley, a nearby resident. “People are tired of picking trash up.”

Belmont Avenue resident Dave O’Dell, said people have broken into the building and said no one in the neighborhood has known what to do about it.

A Tim Hortons “will probably make it better. It’ll be good having something right there,” on the corner of North Belmont and Main Street, he said.

Local commercial real estate company, Midland properties has listed the 18,000-square-foot property for $495,000, according to its website. Midland owns surrounding parcels as well, said Pete Noonan, a partner at Midland.

“As you look at that area, you see many of the likely users of that kind of property already there,” Noonan said. “So will Tim Hortons bring in, by their presence, additional ones? I don’t know, but I do think it will be a positive addition to the area.”

Noonan said selling commercial property has been a challenge of late, mainly because of the economy.

“I would not say that the area is so much of a challenge as the fact that it’s always that we’ve just been through a tough economic time when there has been a limited activity, as far as commercial development is concerned,” Noonan said. “And Springfield is always a bit of a challenge, in terms of development.”

Liz Nelson, owner of Thin Lizzy’s at 11 N. Belmont Ave., has run her business on the corner of Main Street for 14 years and has experienced the same kind of issue.

“Any time you utilize a building in a business area, it’s a plus,” Nelson said of Tim Hortons. “But we still have several (vacant) buildings around here. The economy is still what it is and it’s hard to start a new business.”

Noonan also said some zoning requirements on that stretch of East Main Street, part of the Eastern Edge Corridor Plan, have been somewhat challenging as well. Noonan has been working with Tim Hortons for some time to work some of those issues out.

In June, Tim Hortons requested to rezone the area — a residential zone — to accommodate a restaurant. Now it needs to wait for variances to allow for a drive through and 19 parking spots.

Noonan said if the variances pass on Wednesday, it will allow Tim Hortons to do more architectural planning and get building permits. The Board of Zoning Appeals meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St.

Noonan said after that, he can sell the building to Tim Hortons. He expects that to occur in the spring.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio
Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio

At least one local manufacturer is celebrating the Trump administration’s move to slam down new tariffs on imported goods. Whirlpool Corp. said it is adding 200 jobs after the administration imposed a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, a penalty aimed squarely at rival manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG...
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs

The Kroger Co. announced it is actively recruiting experienced retail, digital and technology professionals for corporate and store management roles across stores. “We want retail and digital and tech talent to know that we’re hiring,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s group vice president of human resources and labor relations. The...
Regional airport adds new Starbucks, other new dining options
Regional airport adds new Starbucks, other new dining options

John Glenn Columbus International Airport is adding another Starbucks location and several other new dining options for travelers. The airport added its fifth Starbucks location near baggage claim, operated by global restaurateur HMSHost. Other new dining options will open in Concourse C in the second quarter of 2018, the airport announced. Donatos...
Staff cuts and bankruptcy: 7 things we learned about retail last week
Staff cuts and bankruptcy: 7 things we learned about retail last week

The retail industry is shaking things up in the first month of 2018. Gander Mountain reopened some stores under a new name, while Amazon narrowed the list of contenders for its second headquarters in North America. Here’s what happened last week in retail: Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, announced an initial list of retail...
It’s back. Graeter’s partners with brewery again for ice cream beer
It’s back. Graeter’s partners with brewery again for ice cream beer

Graeter’s Ice Cream and Kentucky-based Braxton Brewing Co. have partnered up again to bring back the highly popular Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Milk Stout beer. The Cincinnati-based ice cream company will re-launch its Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip flavor beer with Braxton with a few changes to the original recipe. The new batch will have...
More Stories