The long view as plans unfold to develop parts of Xenia features more housing for residents and visitors, more restaurants and stores for dining and shopping, and a modernized downtown streetscape.
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Getting there takes time, investment and political will as city leaders work to bring in more amenities to rival other nearby communities where growth has already spawned development and new business.
Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman and Development Director Steve Brodsky attended the International Council on Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas in May. They shared with others photos of development happening around the city, demographics aimed at attracting developers and news clippings highlighting the progress underway and the potential for more.
Merriman said attending the conference was a way to tell retailers about the “positive locations, incentives and demographics Xenia has to offer.”
The ICSC Conference is ground zero for making contacts in the retail world,” he said. “We dramatically stepped up our marketing outreach and campaign at the conference this year, and were successful in making key contacts with retail representatives interested in the fertile Xenia market.”
Some development projects are already taking shape.
The Hampton Inn & Suites on Progress Drive is slated to open by the end of the year.
The 88-room hotel will offer amenities that American travelers will be accustomed to — an indoor pool, conference space, exercise room and lobby with an area for breakfast.
Xenia City Planner Brian Forschner said the new hotel will give travelers the option of staying in the city and closer to events instead of staying at hotels in Beavercreek.
“Xenia has a lot of visitors who come to the area,” he said. “We have the bike trails, which bring in people from all over. We also have several universities nearby … This Hampton Inn is a way for people to stay local and generate a greater impact for our economy.”
Next to the Hampton Inn site, construction is not far behind its neighbor on two 6,000 square-foot retail buildings.
Penn Station will be one of the storefronts in one of the new retail sites, and its parent company PS Dayton is the developer. The property is owned by Deck CD Holdings LLC. The buildings are slated to house a mix of food and retail.
New homes are being built in the Sterling Homes subdivision off Bellbrook Avenue.
City Council has approved plans to build homes on nearly 80 lots for the new section dubbed Sterling Green Crossing. Mone Development has teamed up with Ryan Homes on the project, and the homes will be priced from about $150,000 to $200,000.
“More rooftops” is good for the city, Forschner said, because people want to work close to home and shop locally. An influx of people can lead to new retail and business activity.
“As the Beavercreek area gets more built out, Xenia has room to grow,” Forschner said. “They are platting one section per year and (Sterling Homes) could be built out within the next five years. The builder and developer are already looking for new properties in Xenia for additional growth.”
Primed for new construction
Other projects are getting primed for construction to begin. Details are still being worked out on redeveloping the 5.6-acre former Kmart property, but city officials hope to see construction start next year on the first new buildings there in decades.
Exactly what it will look like and what business or businesses will occupy that space are still unknown.
The city is working on the environmental studies at the 5.6-acre former Kmart property to finalize a purchase agreement with Brandicorp, a Northern Kentucky based commercial real estate developer. City Council approved the sale in 2016 for $800,000.
As part of the agreement, the city paid to demolish the old Kmart building and must handle the studies required by the Environmental Protection Agency, looking at past uses of the property and whether there are any contaminants in the soil.
Forschner said the hope is to see construction begin by next year. The plan is to put in casual-dining restaurants, one or two near Main Street, with a mix of retail or office space.
“It’s going to be more pedestrian friendly,” Forschner said. “It’s going to fit into the downtown fabric of Xenia. We expect it will be a catalyst for downtown, bringing in new traffic and attracting investment as well.”
Part of the overall plan is to make downtown Xenia safer and more accessible to walkers, bicyclists and drivers. While one traffic light has been removed from West Main Street, a new light is planned to be installed at Galloway and Main streets.
“We’re going to reintroduce a street grid, give it less of a seventies era strip center and try and make it feel like the rest of downtown,” said Steve Brodsky, Xenia’s development director.
Alan Liming, president and CEO of the Xenia Chamber of Commerce, a Xenia native who started his first business at the age of 18, said redeveloping the former Kmart property is going to be a catalyst to spur economic growth in the city.
“There’s nothing set in stone yet. Right now there’s no firm commitments … but there are lots of ideas, and it’s going to be really nice no matter what,” Liming said.