The demolition of the former Springboro IGA building, a local icon at the center of this city for decades, has begun.
Contractors were collapsing the front and northern corner of the former supermarket building Thursday. The project is expected to take three to four weeks.
“It’s going to be strange to get used to seeing that corner without that building,” Springboro City Manager Chris Thompson said last week. “It’s going to be strange to come down 73 or 741 and it not be there.”
The building — as well as the other buildings in the shopping plaza on the northwest corner of the intersection of Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro, and Ohio 73, known locally as Central Avenue — are to be razed to make way for redevelopment of the corner and intersection improvements expected to cost more than $14 million.
A tailor shop at the north end of the plaza was empty Friday and a vapor retailer in the same stretch of the plaza was expected to move out in coming weeks. City officials were working with the owners of the Springboro Flea Market, the last tenant remaining in the main plaza building.
So far, the search for a 15,000 square foot space for the flea market has been unsuccessful.
“We’re trying to help them,” Thompson said.
Last month, the city awarded Disposal Solutions Inc. of Middletown a $108,410 contract to demolish the former supermarket, citing a request from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
The city is working with ODOT and the Warren County Transportation Improvement District to complete about $10.8 million in improvements at the intersection, the central crossroads of Springboro.
The city agreed to pay the Preston family, which operated the supermarket and owned the plaza for decades, $3.1 million for the property. Up to $300,000 is set aside to clean up environmental hazards found on the property, with what is left going to the family.
Meanwhile, the county transportation district has contracted with MAKSolve, a Dayton-based engineering firm, to assess the environmental hazards left behind on the former Shell station on the northwest corner that will also be taken for the intersection.
“When Shell owned the station, they had a leak in their underground storage tank,” Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison said last month. “There’s still apparently some residue.”
The same kinds of problems will need to be solved before an existing Speedway station on the southwest corner and former station where an auto repair shop is operated on the northeast corner can be removed to make way for the expanded intersection.
The intersection and redevelopment are expected to transform the intersection. Once the store and plaza have been demolished and the tenants relocated, the city council and staff will consider how to go about finding a developer expected to create a mix of commercial and residential uses on the property.
“I’m sure that’s a conversation we’ll be having with council in the next couple of months,” Thompson said.