Developers sought to bring new business to local community

Developers sought to bring new business to Middletown (WKRC)

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKRC) - New energy and old buildings; one community is trying to get one while using the other.

It's looking for developers to turn vacant buildings into thriving businesses. Middletown has come a long way from the days when a national magazine called it “one of the fastest dying cities in the country.”

Downtown was dead-vacant storefronts. Now downtown is coming back and there's hope if turning old properties into new businesses. Years ago, Middletown had a bustling downtown business district. But over time, businesses moved out and buildings became vacant. Now there are new shops, restaurants and bars. There is new life.

Middletown assistant economic development director Alexis Fitzsimmons said the city wanted developers to breathe new life into properties that were once downtown staples like the old Montgomery Ward store on Main and the studio theater on Central. The city will soon entertain bids.

13 years ago, Jay Moorman bought a corner building for $100 and got a loan from the city. He set up his stain glass business. For years, he was alone. Now downtown revitalization was underway and Moorman has added other businesses including an upscale restaurant to his corner property. He liked what he saw happening downtown.

It’s all part of the plan, to bring downtown back. Turning the old into something new. Middletown will soon be accepting bids for the four properties designated for redevelopment. Bidders will submit a price as well as a business and financing plan.

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