Created on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
Public asked to provide input on project
Local developer Jason Duff, who has been snapping up properties downtown and along south Main Street in Bellefontaine, has added another prime piece of real estate to the collection he is in the process of developing.
The former Wingers restaurant building was purchased recently by local developer Jason Duff who is looking for someone to lease or buy the building, but is first seeking community input on what local residents would like to see there. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)
The newest addition to his family’s collection of properties is the 1125 S. Main St. building that formerly housed the once popular sports bar and restaurant Wingers.
He said the plan is to attract a new business, quite possibly a sports bar and restaurant, to the site, but he also wants input from area residents as to what they would like to see there.
“It is my hope that we can position the property so it’s as easy as possible for a new operator to lease or purchase it,” Mr. Duff said in a statement. “I am pretty confident that Bellefontaine is capable of supporting a new American style bar and restaurant, but instead of me deciding that, I am interested in asking the community what they want and (am) committed to working hard to meet those needs.”
To that end, he has started a Web site at newplaceintown.com where visitors can post their ideas about what businesses would work well there.
“This is a social experiment in economic development,” Mr. Duff said. “This Web site is a way we can utilize the collective support of the community leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and our online contacts to recruit new businesses to our area.”
The property is perfectly positioned as a restaurant as the existing kitchen is still intact and all tables, plates, silverware, televisions and other personal property were included with the 5,460-square-foot building.
Wingers, which opened its doors in November 1998, closed in June 2011 after owner Rick Thomas experienced a decline in business there.
The building and adjoining parking for 75 vehicles was purchased at auction for $160,000 and was financed by Mr. Duff’s grandfather James E. Duff, according to the statement.
In addition to the Wingers property, Mr. Duff has redeveloped the former Stage building, where the 600 Downtown pizzeria is now located; revitalized the former Centre City Mall, 130 S. Main St., and filled it with new businesses under the name Main Street Marketplace; and drew Superior Auto Sales to the 1433 S. Main St. property that was once home of the Hunan Dynasty restaurant.
He is also in the process of restoring the 100-year-old Canby Building at the corner of Chillicothe Avenue and Main Street and hopes to draw additional businesses to the three-story historic structure.