- By Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
A $3.5 million performing arts center will likely be part of redevelopment at the former Springboro IGA Plaza.
And city officials have even bigger plans for the area.
As it revealed plans to anchor the plaza redevelopment with the performing arts center there, officials acknowledged a larger vision stretching from the intersection into the historic downtown and all four directions.
“We want this to be a catalyst to potentially start redeveloping the entire corner,” Springboro City Manager Chris Pozzuto said during a meeting at city hall.
The city hopes the development will stretch farther west, to include the remaining shopping center next to the redevelopment site, east and west along Ohio 73 from the intersection and south into the historic downtown.
For example, on the southwest corner, where a Speedway previously operated, the city is considering building a curved building coaxing visitors at this “gateway” to turn south on Main Street into the historic district.
Programs would be set up to encourage visitors to move from the redevelopment site into the historic district.
Eventually, the redevelopment is to include land east on Ohio 73, where businesses previously stood, and could also stretch to the former school site southwest of the former Speedway corner.
“We’re going to be talking to the schools. That’s in the future,” Pozzuto said.
Rather than being pushed by the city, future phases will “move at the speed of the market,” Assistant City Manager Greg Shackelford added.
The first building to rise, the arts center, will house the Playhouse South Community Theatre currently located in Kettering.
The Playhouse South Community Theatre currently based in Kettering is to move into the new performing arts center, Pozzuto said.
The community theatre group, which has performed for the past decade in Springboro’s Shakespeare in the Park summer theater program, is to move into the Springboro Center for the Performing Arts, a 2.5-story, 150,000-square-foot building expected to anchor the six-acre redevelopment.
”They are going to move into this building and do community theater,” Pozzuto said.
On Thursday, the city council approved agreements with Mills-Barnett Development. Mills has committed to investing $10 million in the development it is leasing from the city.
The city will spend $3.7 million, including $3.2 million refunded from money set aside for acquisition of right of way for the $10 million crossroads intersection project at Ohio 73 and Ohio 741, Central Avenue and Main Street in Springboro, on roads, sewers and other infrastructure for the development.
In July, the city council is expected to approve a ground lease with Mills for the buildings on the site.
“We will own the ground underneath,” Pozzuto said.
In addition, the council is expected this summer to approve plans for the performing arts center, envisioned as the anchor for restaurants, retail and other development also to be built around a public area in the center of the development.
Mills is expected to complete the performing arts center, to be financed through the Warren County Port Authority, by next October.