Changes are coming to Springboro this week to make room for its performing arts center

The Springboro site of a future performing arts center that will anchor a commercial redevelopment will see big changes beginning Monday, as demolitions clear the way for construction to begin soon.

“We’ve been anxious to get started,” said Jerad M. Barnett, president and CEO of Mills-Barnett, the company collaborating with the city on Wright Station, the commercial redevelopment at the Springboro’s central crossroads.

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Construction on the $4.5 million center, which will house a theater, the local chamber of commerce, a theater company and dance studio, is expected to begin in November and take nine to 11 months, according to City Manager Chris Pozzuto.

“The former K-9 building/old Post Office as well as the former Lawn Impressions buildings on the northwest corner of the property (at Ohio 73 and Ohio 741) will be taken down to make way for the new Performing Arts Center (PAC),” according to a newsletter posted by the city.

Mills-Barnett is to pay for this demolition, Pozzuto said.

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The developer is also designing the first retail building in the six-acre development, on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Main Street, Ohio 73 and Ohio 741 in Springboro.

The former Springboro IGA and an adjoining strip center, as well as a former Shell gas station, have already been demolished in anticipation of the redevelopment, on the corner of the reconstructed intersection.

Former service stations on the northeast and southwest corners were also taken by the city for the intersection project.

Barnett said he expected to present the design of Wright Station’s first building, for restaurants, retail and “potentially some medical office,” to city officials by the end of October.

He predicted construction on the building and arts center would then begin and envisioned seven or eight buildings on the current site. No residences are anticipated in the first phase.

“Construction of the access into the development and internal roadways will also begin around the same time,” the newsletter said.

Cassano’s is expected to be among the restaurants opening in the development. The chain operates a restaurant on Main Street, just north of the redevelopment.

“Long term, we’d like to include that into the project,” Barnett said.

Last month, Councilman Stephen Harding said, “Cassano’s loved that location. They don’t want to leave.”

Pozzuto said it was unclear where Cassano’s would wind up.

Mills-Barnett now owns the former medical office of Dr. Connie Ball - the final building in the former Springboro IGA Plaza to be acquired for the project.

“She’s looking at a number of opportunities” including a location in Wright Station, Barnett said.

The building housing Scotty’s Barber Shop, 80 W. Central Ave., is not part of the redevelopment, Pozzuto said. Barnett didn’t rule out the barber shop winding up as part of latter phases.

Demolition of remaining buildings had yet to be determined.

“The building that houses the Center Stage Dance Studio and the building closest to (State Route) 73 will remain on the site (for the time being),” Pozzuto wrote in an email.

Mills-Barnett is “also continuing to modify the site plan to include more parking as well as decrease the overall density of the development in response to resident feedback,” according to the newsletter.

Lawn Impressions is now operating at 3407 Pennyroyal Dr. in Franklin Twp. Barnett said this cleared the way for demolition and then construction.

“We’ve got to get started on what’s in front of us right now. We’ve got to build some momentum,” he said.

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