Momentum continues on the Downtown Riverfront Development Project by both the public and private sectors. It is tremendously encouraging to see the interest from the private sector. The establishment of the Winans Hometown Store is a great example of the quality development that can and will take place, not only in the downtown and riverfront, but throughout the city, making Piqua a great and desired place to visit or start a business.
The City of Piqua continues to be a catalyst for encouraging both residential and commercial development. Over the past three years, the city has acquired the Mo’s Lounge building (111 South Main), adjacent vacant lots (101 & 117 South Main), the Zollinger building (101 South Wayne Street), the DP&L substation (110 South Main), the Old Laundry building (117 East Water), and the White building (102 South Main). The substation was eliminated and the latter two buildings were evaluated and determined to be of no redevelopment value. Mo’s has been determined to have redevelopment potential as a restaurant, bike/canoe rental, and office space. The Zollinger building is projected to be developed into downtown residential units. Negotiations are currently underway with potential developers for both buildings. The Old Laundry and White structures have since been demolished to make room for new redevelopment opportunities. The city also has an option on the Piqua Granite property with the hopes of relocating the business to a more beneficial site to make room for connecting the downtown to the river.
Keith and Lisa Bowman recently acquired the Piqua Edison Electric Illuminating Company (aka Weaver’s) building at 114 East Water Street and are in the process of restoring the entire structure. At this time, the Bowmans have not decided on the final use of the project but we expect it to be a great addition to the downtown. The Piqua Milling buildings could also play a valuable role in the transition of the riverfront. The property is currently privately owned and our hope is that the owners will convert it to a use to also benefit the riverfront and community.
Over the past few months, the iPiqua Partnership (imagine & invest in Piqua) has been formed to assist in the development of private properties. In addition, the iPiqua Partnership created an iPiqua Fund a non-profit entity to assist the iPiqua Partnership in providing “gap funding” for businesses desiring to locate on the riverfront or in the downtown.
A key part of the Riverfront Development Project is the public lands which includes Lock 9 Park, the Great Miami River Trail, the PATH trail bridge, the Canal Corridor, and the Great Miami River itself. The city has just entered into contract with Gamble Associates to design these public space areas in order to enhance and provide recreation opportunities for special events, concerts, river recreation, kayaking, canoeing, biking, tourism, and additional economic development venues.
Finally, the positive activities occurring with the Riverfront Development Project have helped encourage additional development and upkeep interest in the Downtown District. Currently, Unity Bank and Fifth Third Bank are making interior and exterior improvements to their facilities. New stores have opened such as Harvest Pantry, Mulligan’s Pub, 311 Draft House, Schmidlapp Library, Winans, and Can’t Stop Running. The vacant Fifth Third Bank building on North Main and adjoining parking area on Spring Street are currently being proposed for development after sitting empty for almost 20 years. We are seeing much development interest and expect even more.
We will continue to advance the project for the benefit of the entire Piqua community.