A proposal to build a new, two-story Giant Eagle on the site of the current Bexley City Hall was announced this week by Mayor Ben Kessler and local developer Frank Kass. The initial plan calls for the city to move its offices into available space in the Bexley Square Center at 2212-2240 E. Main St.
While more details are sure to be forthcoming on the plan, we wanted to reach out to Mayor Kessler to get his initial thoughts on what could potentially be a transformative development for the suburb of Bexley.
CU: What do think this type of grocery store could add to Main Street?
Mayor Ben Kessler: Consistently, one of the top requests I get for new uses for Bexley is a high quality neighborhood grocery store. We’ve prioritized this use in our development work, and the plan we are currently pursuing is a by-product of that focus. While the use is certainly a top priority, it is also important that the use integrates well with the fabric of Main Street. Bexley’s Main Street has a traditional, classic feel and a strong pedestrian environment, so we are looking for this store to be built up close to Main Street and have a positive connection to Main Street’s pedestrian core.
CU: This store would obviously be something new for Bexley, but it may also be unique for central Ohio in general – is there an existing grocery store in the area you think it compares to?
BK: My sense is that this more urban Market District concept will be akin to a larger version of the new Hills Market downtown (it’ll be about 2-3x its size) meets the Kingsdale Market District (it’ll be about a third it’s size). The two-story design will lend a very interesting and urban feel to the development.
CU: Bexley is facing the same financial issues that a lot of our land-locked suburbs are going through – would this project go a long way towards solving them or will more infill development be necessary? Can we expect more announcements like this in the future?
BK: This project certainly helps, but it by no means is an end-all cure to Bexley’s struggle to open up more revenue-generating development space. The underlying concept here is to take a lower density tax-exempt use (city hall and service garage) and replace it with a higher density use that is tax productive and provides a positive amenity to the community. We look forward to continuing to see Bexley embrace infill development concepts, and I definitely see more on the horizon.
CU: Is the Main Street streetscape project still on track to happen this summer?
BK: Yes – we are moving forward with our streetscape project. By this fall we’ll have seven landcaped medians in unused center turn lane portions of Main Street, brick paver intersections at key intersections along Main, and a streamlined signage program with less visual clutter and higher quality streetscape fixtures.
For more discussion on the Bexley Giant Eagle development, CLICK HERE to visit our messageboard.
For more information on Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler, visit www.bexley.org.
Bexley City Hall Photo by Walker Evans.