Urbana building awarded historic tax credits

A vacant downtown Urbana building is expected to get new life after the Ohio Development Services Agency announced Wednesday the site will receive more than $30,000 in Ohio Historic Preservation tax credits.

John Doss, who purchased the building at 115 to 117 S. Main St. about a year ago, said he plans to spend about $220,000 to renovate the historic building that his grandfather once owned. Once complete, it will likely include space for upstairs apartments and a downtown storefront, although the plans have not been finalized. The property previously housed the former Little Nashville bar, but has been vacant since 2013.

READ MORE: Champaign County wind farm may move forward after decade-long fight

It will also be the first time historic preservation tax credits have been awarded for a project in Urbana, according to information from the ODSA. It’s too early to say what the final layout will look like at this point, Doss said.

“We’ve got a floor plan done but we’ve got to go through the permitting process to see if we can do what we want to and make sure we still comply,”” Doss said. “We’re sort of still in the beginning stages and probably won’t start until the fall so we won’t know for a couple months.”

Doss’ business, the Dye and Doss Insurance agency, is just south of the former bar. The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides an incentive to leverage the private redevelopment of historic buildings, according to information from the program.

RELATED: Housing market improves in Clark, Champaign Counties

Renovating the building will eliminate one more vacant property downtown and could potentially draw more business and foot traffic downtown, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership. The CEP is in charge of economic development in Champaign County. City officials also wrote a letter attached to Doss’ application, pointing out the credits would help improve the community.

MORE: Health of Clark, Champaign County waterways key to safety, economy

“It adds another dynamic to our downtown to get another building renovated and back in use,” Bailey said. “Each time properties are transferred it’s always an opportunity to have a higher value of property in downtown.”

The project would be difficult to complete without the tax credits, Doss said. Major restoration projects are sometimes harder to complete in communities like Urbana because there are fewer investors interested in renting the property, he said.

“In Columbus you’re doing it because you’re going to make money,” Doss said. “In Urbana you’re doing it because you live there. There’s no big profit at the end.”

DETAILS: Urbana gourmet food business Rothschild Farm sold to Chicago firm

The Urbana project was one of 13 communities across Ohio that received awards for rehabbing historic structures, according to the ODSA. In all, the agency awarded almost $35 million in tax credits to rehabilitate a total of 36 buildings across the state.

In Dayton, the state also awarded credits for separate projects to renovate a vacant building at 1500 E. 5th St., and $5 million in tax credits for the Dayton Arcade-Fourth Street project, which includes three buildings.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Unemployment rates up slightly in Clark, Champaign Counties

The Urbana building needs significant repair, so the tax credits provide important leverage to make needed repairs, Doss said. Doss said some renovations were made in the 1980s, but since then the building has largely gone untouched.

“The cost of these buildings to renovate and bring them up to code is expensive,” Doss said. “We’re not in a big city where they get $14 per square foot for rent. We’re more like $5 so it’s just different. That’s why the tax credit project helps. It gives you the incentive to do it and cuts the cost.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes to Somali woman after employee refuses service, calls police
Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes to Somali woman after employee refuses service, calls police

A woman said she was refused service at a Maine Dunkin’ Donuts after speaking Somali with her family as they waited in the drive thru line.  >> Read more trending news  Hamdia Ahmed, 20, recorded a brief video of the interaction she had Monday with the shift manager and posted it on social media. "You’re going to disrespect...
Man gets life plus 60 years for posing as Uber driver, raping 2 women
Man gets life plus 60 years for posing as Uber driver, raping 2 women

A man who kidnapped and raped two young women in Buckhead while posing as an Uber driver was sentenced Friday to life plus 60 years in prison, authorities said. Gabriel Rendon-Villasana, 33, of Duluth, was found guilty of pretending to be an Uber driver at least twice, persuading women to get into his car when they left bars and then sexually assaulting...
Incumbent facing high school student for 85th District Statehouse seat
Incumbent facing high school student for 85th District Statehouse seat

Next month voters in Champaign, Logan and Shelby counties will have to choose whether to re-elect an incumbent Republican or a newcomer Democrat to the Ohio House’s 85th district seat. Incumbent Nino Vitale, R-rural Urbana, is squaring off against Democrat Garrett Baldwin on the Nov. 6 ballot. Vitale responded to questions for the Springfield...
Exploding toilets prompt recall of 1.4 million flushing systems
Exploding toilets prompt recall of 1.4 million flushing systems

Officials are recalling 1.4 million pressure-assisted flushing systems manufactured between 1996 and 2013 after nearly 1,500 of the systems burst in toilet tanks, causing about $710,000 in damage and 23 injuries. One of the injuries was severe enough to require foot surgery, according to officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency...
Florida firefighter dies while clearing Hurricane Michael debris
Florida firefighter dies while clearing Hurricane Michael debris

A Florida firefighter died Thursday after a tree fell on his tractor while he was helping family members to clear debris left by Hurricane Michael, officials with the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said Gulf County Fire Coordinator Brad Price, 49, of Wewahitchka, died at the scene. Price worked as a firefighter and paramedic in Bay...
More Stories