Transforming former giant brick grocery warehouse goal for Xenia

Xenia is trying to find creative ways to get funding that could rehabilitate one of the biggest buildings in this Greene County city’s downtown — the former Eavey grocery warehouse.

The Eavey building is nearly 90,000 square feet. It has been completely vacant for about 10 years and mostly vacant for decades before then.

The Eavey Building was built in 1908 and served as a wholesale grocery warehouse for Eavey and Co. It was purchased at an auction in May 2016, by Jennifer Dunn and her husband.

“The building is a blank canvas,” Dunn previously told the Dayton Daily News. “We want to approach the project with as much transparency as possible and understand the type of uses that Xenia needs to make the project successful.”

Xenia is seeking for state and Greene County funding to rehabilitate the building on West Third Street.

“Although it’s in its early planning stages, it would be instrumental to the revitalization of downtown,” said Ryan Baker, Xenia’s community development coordinator.

Greene County commissioners recently approved a new municipal grant program called the Greene County Community Investment Program. The grant program will give $750,000 annually to Greene County cities, villages and townships. This grant program is designed to provide financial assistance to jurisdictions for the development of sites and infrastructure designed to attract and sustain small businesses.

Xenia City Council on Thursday approved for an application for this project to be made to the county program.

The Eavey project is also actively seeking grant funding including a JobsOhio Vibrant Communities grant for $1.9 million and state and federal historic tax credits for about $804,000. Getting the Greene County Community Investment grant would help with these other grant applications, city staff said.

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“This is a major redevelopment project and it would be a great, amazing facility, and something that’s transformative for that part of town,” Baker said. “But the city does support the project.”

Current plans for the future redevelopment project call for the building to become a mixed-use facility which will house, in part, a community workspace, event and meeting facilities, and food and beverage service entities. The building is right along the bike path and not far from the Xenia Station building and splash pad. Across the street is Devil Wind Brewing Company.

Work to be done on the building includes brick rehabilitation, roof replacement, new windows and doors and fixing the electrical and plumbing systems.

Xenia is applying to get $200,000 from the county for the Eavey project.

Kristie Tidd, manager of the Greene County Department of Development, said the community investment grant is designed to help Greene County communities bring in more business. Three other municipalities have applied for the $750,000 available funding.

Tidd said the county has had a lot of inquiries about the new grant, so she expects more applications in addition to Xenia’s to come in.

“We’re going to be evaluating projects with a rubric. Does this project bring potential spin off development? What has the community said about it?” Tidd said.

Sugarcreek Twp. has applied for funding for an I-675 feasibility study, Cedarville has applied for funds to improve the village community center and village offices and Silvercreek Twp. has applied for funds to buy a chest compression device.

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