The former Plain City municipal buildings, located at 213 S. Chillicothe Street, have been sold to The Station by West Element. The company will transform the buildings into a coworking space designed to serve local entrepreneurs and small businesses. The parking lot will remain village property and is open for public use.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
The former Plain City municipal building is on track to become a coworking space.
Village Council unanimously accepted a bid Monday to sell the property to The Station by West Element, Ltd. for $500,000.
“Plain City has a history and that history should be preserved,” the proposal from the West Element states. “But, there’s a real opportunity to supplement new with old.”
The purchase agreement includes the two buildings located on 213 S. Chillicothe Street, including approximately 21,932 square feet of land. The second reading of the resolution was waived and it was approved by emergency.
The buyer will receive a 15-year tax abatement “holding the pre-sale assessed value stagnant for a period of 15 years,” according to the bid proposal.
Following a complete renovation of the buildings, they will become an office space “unique to the end use.” Company owners describe the end product as “an incubator space to serve local entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
The proposal noted that the company is “in conversations” with Brick House Blue, a coworking space in Dublin, about bringing a similar space to Plain City.
According to the proposal, exterior reparations will include roof repair, new windows and garage doors, repair or replacement of gutters and downspouts, lighting enhancements and landscaping.
The “interior will be completely overhauled” with new HVAC, IT, electrical, plumbing, flooring and light fixtures. Bathrooms and kitchenettes will be added, along with “up to 14” private offices with meeting rooms and common areas.
The two buildings will eventually be connected by a corridor.
Any remodeling or development of the site “must restore and maintain the existing character and aesthetic of the original historic portion of the administration building,” according to the purchase agreement. All proposed changes must be submitted to the Design Review Board and must adhere to the village’s ordinances surrounding the historic district.
Through the purchase agreement, the village will retain some of the land for separate public and private uses.
Plain City will still own the land directly east of the property, which is designated for a future public parking lot improvement project. In the meantime, the West Element may use the parking lot, but it will also be open to the public.
The garage area of the old administration building will be used for equipment storage for the village for one year, or until an alternate facility is constructed.
Andy Warnock, with the West Element, said he believes the agreement makes for “an ideal partnership.”
“The development team would accommodate the village’s need for storage and public parking, breathe new life into an ailing structure and add desirable office space (and) small business incubation, further enhancing the viability of the village,” he wrote in the bid proposal.
The West Element is owned by Warnock and Rayce Robinson.
Warnock, a native of Delaware, Ohio, has worked as managing director for Lument, a financing company for the multifamily and senior housing industry.
He is a “long-time real estate investor” and property manager, as well as a licensed real estate agent in Ohio. He lives in Hilliard with his wife and four children.
Robinson is an enterprise specialist for Midmark Corporation, a medical device manufacturer. He is a lifelong Plain City resident, who currently lives west of downtown with his wife and their three children.
Both buyers also participate in a variety of charitable causes.
The company’s mission statement reflects a desire to repurpose historic buildings for modern uses.
“Breathing new life into the Village of Plain City by combining the charm of old with the conveniences of now,” it states.
Warnock wrote that he and Robinson have a history of doing just that.
He listed the renovation of Legacy Smokehouse, a barbeque restaurant created in a former antique bookstore and residence in Hilliard, as an example of their work.
Ultimately, he said he believes the transformation of the former municipal buildings will benefit all parties involved.
“Simply put, transactions are best when everyone wins,” Warnock wrote.