Downtown to see increase in upper-level housing

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MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – In a continued effort toward downtown revitalization, an exciting renovation project will soon begin on the South East corner of Main and Gambier Streets. Sixteen upper-level loft apartments are being developed in partnership with Knox Community Hospital, Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University. This project is viewed as a pivotal economic development strategy for expanding housing available in the downtown area, while providing three important community institutions with increased housing options for medical staff, faculty and visiting professors in condo-style settings often found in larger cities.

Cornerstone Commerce Centre LLC, the building owner, is donating the second and third floors for this project and The Ariel Foundation is providing a grant for renovation costs and exterior improvements. In the condominiumized plan, the upper floors will become property of the partnering institutions. First floor retail spaces will be maintained by present occupants, while current unleased spaces will become available upon project completion. The goal of this effort is to serve as the stimulus for developing more downtown housing and retail establishments.

Anticipating the loft apartment project will take the better part of 2019, every effort will be made to plan for minimal traffic and parking disturbances on E. Gambier and S. Main Streets. In connection to this project, the vacant property formerly known as The Office, located on East Ohio Avenue, will be demolished in the early part of December. Once The Office site is graveled, this will serve as an interim parking solution over the next several months for downtown business owners and employees who regularly park in allocated spaces along Blackberry Alley, the alley that runs behind where this renovation project will take place. Contractor access, dumpster placement and material deliveries will be concentrated to the parking areas along Blackberry Alley whenever possible. Next year, The Office site, along with the former Hatfield Auto Service site on Howard and South Gay Streets, will become safe, accessible and attractive parking areas in downtown with signage indicating the types of parking available to the general public during the week and on weekends.

Since 2010 more than $40 million in private-sourced funds have been reinvested in the Mount Vernon Public Square to viaduct corridor. The lofts project will be another addition to downtown Mount Vernon community revitalization efforts.

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