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Historic Oak Street Building To See Retail and Apartment Renovation

Walker Evans Walker Evans Historic Oak Street Building To See Retail and Apartment RenovationPhoto by Anne Evans.
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A prominently located vacant building at the northwest corner of Oak Street and Ohio Avenue is slated to get a new lease on life thanks to a plan from new owners (and Olde Towne East residents) Brad Hobbs and Krista Sparks. The husband-and-wife duo have been contributing to the rebirth of Oak Street for several years now, first with the launch of The Olde Towne Tavern, and later with the opening of the Corner Stone Carry Out, but their personal plans for this new project calls for rehab and not retail.

“At this point we have our hands pretty full with the opening of The Walrus,” explains Hobbs. “We love our neighborhood and we want to see it progress, and we don’t want to see this building torn down. Our main goal is to get the building structurally sound again and present some opportunities for new commercial and residential space for the neighborhood.”

Hobbs says that they have some handshake agreements already in place with possible retail tenants, but no leases are being signed until they can put a new roof on the building and begin to figure out their timeline for renovations. He says that the 4,000 square feet of ground floor space will host between one and four retail units depending upon the demand, and that the 4,000 square feet of second floor space will likely be home to four apartment units in the future.

“The neighborhood is pretty limited right now when it comes to available commercial space, so that’s a high priority,” he said. “Our biggest concern is that we create something that can continue to grow the community and encourage small business growth. Almost all of the businesses on Oak Street are owned and operated by people who live in the neighborhood and we want to continue that with this project.”

While this new project is just beginning, Hobbs added that The Walrus is still moving ahead quickly despite a few setbacks with construction.

We were trying to push to be open before the holidays, but as you know construction is not always on schedule,” he explained. “We’re trying to get open sometime this winter — the sooner the better. We’re really excited about this venue because we think there’s a real void in Downtown options for live music.”

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