Columbus-based investment and development firm RiverWest Partners will hold a town hall-style meeting this evening in Delaware’s east side to solicit feedback on future development in the area. From 5-7 p.m., residents are invited to Homestead Brewery at the Delaware Public House, located at 59 Potter St., to share their thoughts on possible uses for the five acres located at 15 Flax St. that formerly served as Allied Van Lines.
The meeting won’t contain any fixed agenda, RiverWest Principal Brian Suiter told The Gazette. A presentation of the history of the site will kick off the discussion before giving way to an open floor for residents to weigh in on what they would like to see in the area. Each attendee will be given a complimentary drink ticket, and food will also be available.
“We have some ideas for what we think that the market needs,” Suiter said. “The City of Delaware has done a market study recently that showed sort of what the needs are for the overall market in terms of development, and that’s both retail and industrial, office space and residential. So, we have some idea what we think the market can bear and needs but at the same time, we’re really walking in with a blank slate. We really want to hear from the neighbors before we start to narrow down what that is.”
Suiter said the firm’s belief is that, ultimately, the site will include some sort of mixed-use project that could include retail, residential, and office buildings. He added that he believes the buildings will be “horizontally mixed-use” as opposed to vertical buildings, which he said can “get pretty expensive and pretty hard to do.”
RiverWest is no stranger to projects aimed at revitalizing Delaware’s east side. Last May, the firm announced plans to redevelop the historic CSX rail depot, which it purchased from CSX Transportation in 2019. Located at the corner of East Central Avenue and Lake Street, the rail depot has existed in Delaware for nearly 140 years.
Suiter said of RiverWest’s continued interest in Delaware’s east side, “As we continue to sort of see the benefits and the opportunities in Delaware, there’s really a growth potential that comes there with the size of the city and how quickly it is growing. So, obviously, there’s great opportunity from that.
“But we also saw the east side being somewhat under-invested in the past bunch of years, both privately and publicly. The city has put a lot of time, energy, and money into Sandusky Street and the infrastructure around there, but the east side of town hasn’t necessarily been given that same kind of consideration.”
He went on to say, “We’d love to get as much input as we can from the east side. I think that the dynamic is going to be interesting in the fact that Delaware is growing so much that we’re likely to get people who are from the west side or from the northwest neighborhoods, which is great. We’re happy to have them. But we’re really interested in hearing from the folks who live and work in that east side because I think their voice has been, if not dampened, not very well heard in the last bunch of years. So, we’d really like to hear what their belief is about their neighborhood so we can, hand in hand with them, help to continue to enhance it.”
Following the meeting, Suiter said he hopes to come back to the neighborhood in the coming weeks to present preliminary ideas based on the feedback received at the meeting.
Asked about the progress of the rail depot project, Suiter said the firm is currently going through historical tax credits to put the building on the National Register of Historic Places. Suiter hopes doing so will allow them to receive some state and federal funding for renovations.
Suiter added that the firm is talking with “a couple of users, one of which is sort of the leading horse right now, which would be a restaurant and brewery bar use that would take, potentially, the entire building.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.