The success of Delaware’s downtown district lies primarily in the variety of food and drink hot spots on the street level. With that, the stories above often go unnoticed. But as downtown Delaware continues to flourish, more investors are looking to revitalize the upper floors to bring a new asset to Delaware’s main drag.
Chris DeVol of Selo Bolno LLC was before Delaware City Council to discuss the renovation of the two floors above the Son of Thurman restaurant, located at 5 N. Sandusky St. DeVol, who owns Son of Thurman, is seeking to renovate the floors for the creation of office space, which he will lease to businesses.
As part of the project, DeVol was granted a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement through a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) Tax Incentive and School Compensation Agreement. DeVol will pay a school compensation pilot payment to Delaware City Schools and the Delaware Area Career Center in the amount of $3,292 per year or $49,386 after the 15 years.
In order to receive the abatement, DeVol has committed to the creation of 20 new jobs when renovations are completed. Those new jobs are expected to bring a total payroll of $820,000 with them.
Delaware’s Economic Development Director Sean Hughes said 20 new jobs being created is a conservative number, speculating that number could be as much as 70 given the space that will be available.
DeVol, who opened Son of Thurman in 2013, said it was how “business-forward” the city is that most drew him to Delaware originally, with eyes beyond just opening the restaurant. He called Delaware “a great place to do business,” and added that after five years, he feels a “kinship” with everyone in the downtown district.
“I enjoy being here, I like it,” DeVol said. “I want to make this building a centerpiece, a showpiece.”
DeVol said he takes pride in having brought jobs to Delaware through the restaurant and looks forward to being able to bring even more through the office space.
Asked what types of businesses he anticipates leasing the space to, DeVol didn’t hesitate. “Definitely white-collar jobs,” he said.
He went on to say that with how fast Delaware County continues to grow and being that Delaware is the county seat, there is a need for more office space that will allow him to be very selective of who he leases.
”It’s another part of the puzzle that makes (this project) all the more attractive,” he said.
One concern raised during the discussion was the added burden the offices would put on a parking situation that is already bad at best in the downtown district for all parties involved. DeVol said he had no designated parking he could offer to his future tenants.