Earth movers have begun work on the site of the new United Dairy Farmers convenience store and gas station in Ross Twp., and construction shouldn’t be far behind.
It has been a long process — the township and store struck a deal two years ago — but it appears the new UDF could be open for business by late summer or early fall, according to Ross Twp. Administrator Bob Bass. He said UDF officials indicated it would take four six months for construction, barring any complications.
UDF hasn’t shared when actual construction of the building will start, but plans have been submitted to the Butler County development department, and Jim Fox, a manager there, said UDF could have building permits in hand within a month.
There have been delays for the new convenience store and gas station that is slated for the site of the old Venice Castle restaurant at the corner of Ohio 128 and Cincinnati Brookville Road. Namely, UDF needed to purchase additional land to satisfy Ohio Department of Transportation requirements for access to the property.
Since the site sits on a major thoroughfare, Trustee Ellen Yordy said UDF had to keep revising plans to meet requirements.
“It’s nothing we’ve done or UDF hasn’t done,” Yordy said. “It’s just like any other building, they have to jump through the hoops. We want it in so we’re glad they are doing that. You’ve got to follow the rules.”
Last September Tim Kling, director of real estate for UDF, said the company has developed a new prototype for its stores, and the one in Ross Twp. will be the sixth of new designs built.
The UDF will be the first piece of the Venice Downtown Redevelopment plan, a blueprint for future development that trustees unveiled two years ago.
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The plan envisions older houses being redeveloped into offices for professionals such as lawyers and accountants. New retail shops, restaurants and possibly a park/recreation area are also part of the plan.
Jana Harmon, who co-owns Venice Pavilion Antiques across the street, said only time will tell if the UDF is a good anchor for Ross’ downtown. She said there are already several gas stations in the area, and for ice cream, Flubbs opened two years ago.
“I’m a little concerned about the traffic flow,” Harmon said. “I think once we see how it’s going to work then we’ll know. There are wrecks here, not always, but they come very close a lot.”
UDF purchased the old Venice Castle property from the township for $600,000. Kling said the company spent about $800,000 buying land for the new store.
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