Tipp City hires developer to explore options for shopping center

Woodard Development of Dayton has been hired by Tipp City’s Community Improvement Corp. to help explore options for the future of an embattled shopping center and better plan for development of the uptown area near and west of Interstate 75.

The interviews with consultants were held last year following years of complaints about what can be done about conditions at the Tipp Plaza shopping center. It is located south of West Main Street near the Exit 68 interchange with I-75.

The CIC, a nonprofit development corporation with representatives of the city and the community including real estate and banking, was reactivated during the past couple of years. Its funding so far has come from the city, with $125,000 for the contract plus up to $25,000 for incidentals for the initial agreement with Woodard.

Woodard gained familiarity with the community when it worked on developing the former Benkin Building in the city’s downtown. It now is home to Tipp City Pizza.

Council members Kathryn Huffman and Ryan Liddy are members of the CIC. They told council recently that Woodard would look at options for the Tipp Plaza as well as future development of the uptown area, which extends along West Main Street west of the interstate to the county Road 25A intersection.

Among properties of particular interest in that area have been the land at the southeast corner of West Main Street and 25A along with undeveloped properties such as those in the area of Menards on the north side of Main Street.

“The overall goal is to get a sense of unified development within all of those areas. I don’t think Woodard is going to say anything can be guaranteed,” said Matt Spring, city development director. “I think the idea is to at least reach out to the various property owners beyond the plaza to see if there is a way to get them perhaps involved in overall planning process as it moves forward.”A unified development plan would replace what has been a “hodge podge” of development in the area in which “if you had the money and the zoning you can build whatever you want there,” Spring said. The results has been a number of banks and gas stations. “The unified development goal could bring entertainment, drinking and eating establishments … more fun things,” he said.

Brad Doudican is chief operating officer of Woodard Development.

The firm’s role in the Benkin Building project helped it learn more about Tipp City, its leaders and the community overall, he said. That helped motivate the company to present a proposal to the CIC.

As the city embarks on the in-depth study of options, it already has begun to address other long discussed concerns about the entryway to the community at the Exit 68 interchange including an entryway beautification project set to get underway this spring.

“Matt Spring (city development director) and Tim Eggleston (city manager) have been working the levers to provide a response to the community wants and needs. We get to come alongside that, which is great,” Doudican said.

Woodard tends to look at the longer-term vision in its relationships such as the one with Tipp City, he said. “We contractually have a near term horizon to help the city understand some of the opportunities concurrent with that we believe is wise to also look at the long term. We are seeing this as the first of what we hope will be a multiphase partnership. Our goal is a long-term relationship to pursue long term goals,” he said.

Among project benefits for Tipp City is the engagement of the community, which Doudican termed “fantastic.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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