Highland Heights Committee Supports Osborne GetGo Project
Members make recommendation to City Council.
Highland Heights Economic Development Committee members wanted to make a statement by expressing support for the proposed Shoppes at Brainard Crossing development.
Lance Osborne plans to develop 25,000 square feet of retail space using part of the old Catalano's grocery store building. There would also be a 5,500-square-foot GetGo convenience store and a gas station. Giant Eagle officials agreed to drop plans for a car wash.
"I knew it was a big concession on their part," Osborne told committee members at a recent meeting.
In order to proceed with the project, a zoning change needs to be approved by voters to allow a gas station on land zoned for local business. Osborne submitted petitions to get the issue on the ballot, but city Law Director Tim Paluf said the issue can only be on a November general election ballot, unless council takes action to approve it for the March 6 primary.
Mayor Scott Coleman said that's unlikely, since council only has one meeting - on Jan. 3 - before the filing deadline with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Members of the Economic Development Committee are hoping to encourage council to take action by its recommendation of the project. Committee member Guy Totino said he would speak in support of Brainard Crossing at a council meeting.
"I'm very much in favor of it," he said, adding that the alternative is to continue to have an empty retail space. "They (Giant Eagle) would be very content to sit here with an empty store."
Catalano's closed in 2007. Committee members said some residents want another grocery store there, but that's not going to happen and they'd rather work with Osborne, who developed the Shoppes at Alpha Place, rather than an unknown entity.
"These guys have a track record with Alpha Place," Totino said. "It's above my expectations of what was going to be there."
Osborne has said that if the issue is delayed until November he would no longer have control of the property, which is owned by Giant Eagle, and would not be a part of the project. He said he hasn't discussed a possible extension with Giant Eagle officials.
Committee member Dan Greve said he likes what Osborne has proposed and doesn't like seeing that space vacant.
"I drive by that corner and it drives me crazy, it's a complete eyesore," he said.
Greve added that Highland Heights is not a lifestyle city and residents need to be realistic about what can be developed at the site. Without Osborne's involvement, he's concerned that a tattoo parlor or payday loan place might go in there.
"That's my nightmare scenario. I don't want that on that corner," Greve said.