The city of Lebanon has dropped its lawsuit against the owners of a building eyed for two years for redevelopment as a microbrewery and restaurant.
But for now, the former shoe factory at 120 E. South St., will sit with a safety fence blocking access and broken windows boarded up.
“City management has been very helpful for our overall vision,” Nate Alexander said last week. “We are at a standstill until the permit is received.”
Last week, after broken windows in the building were covered with plywood, the city dropped a lawsuit in Lebanon Municipal Court pressing one of the companies that the Alexander family uses to manages its properties to comply with the city code.
In January 2018, after the city noted code violations at the building, the Alexanders unveiled plans to spend “upwards” of $10 million on the property, now on the southern edge of Lebanon’s new Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area. Construction was to begin last year.
The city’s tourist train station is across South Street from the former factory, also near where plans are moving forward to extend a multi-use trail through downtown, past the Golden Lamb Inn and the first stores in the family’s growing retail chain in the downtown business district.
“The City continues to work with the developer in an effort to see this project move forward and enhance the economic vitality of Downtown Lebanon,” Lebanon City Manager Scott Brunka said in an email response to questions about the status of the permitting process.
Already the Lebanon Planning Commission has approved plans for exterior improvements, including a deck, landscaping and replacement of 367 windows wrapping around the building’s three floors. The Alexanders want to do this work once the interior has been renovated, Brunka added.
County building officials, who handle permits for Lebanon, await a response on five issues in the building plans for what Alexander indicated was the first of three phases in the project.
The first phase would include renovations and development of a restaurant and brewery and the area behind the factory, Alexander said.
“The building interior renovations can proceed once the Shoe Factory developer has provided the building department with the information necessary for them to complete their review of the interior renovation plans per the Ohio Building Code,” Brunka added.
Last week, banners for Stryker Construction were displayed outside the South Street property, along with a sign for ARC, the family’s recruiting business. Alexander declined to comment on plans for the future phases and whether the ARC office could be part of them.
“Stryker will start once the permit is received,” Alexander added in a series of text responses. The family plans to act as general contractor and hire subcontractors “on an as-needed basis.”
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