New Castle exploring economic potential of three town owned properties along Main Street
New Castle’s downtown plan states “little to no commercial, entertainment, or cultural value” currently attracts pedestrians west of the Fifth Street intersection along Main Street.
However, three town-owned properties situated along New Castle’s main thoroughfare could be crucial to the revitalization of the west end of Main Street downtown.
Those properties include an empty lot on the corner of Sixth and Main Street, the Kamm Lot at Kamm Avenue and Main Street and the old ambulance garage also at the west end of the Kamm Lot.
At a work session earlier this week, council directed staff to bring on a real estate consultant to appraise the properties and discuss their marketability.
At this time, the town has not made a decision as to whether it will hold onto the properties or sell them together or individually.
“It’s not necessarily 100% sales tax-driven,” David Reynolds, New Castle town administrator, said. “Sales tax is always a good thing but then just rejuvenation of downtown is another key element.”
Just one of the properties, the old ambulance garage, is currently occupied.
However, that lease expires in May and before any new agreement is negotiated, council wanted to discuss its options for all three properties.
According to the downtown plan, which the town’s planning and zoning commission adopted last year, “the town should promote buildings of at least two-stories” in the area.
Additionally, all three properties being discussed fall within the town’s commercial district.
“What we could see is something that might have a commercial element to it on the bottom floor and then floors above could be residential,” Reynolds said.
According to the downtown plan, residential density would add life to Main Street by generating foot traffic particularly after 5 p.m. and on weekends.
Additionally, residential use on second floors would likely make commercial space below “financially feasible” until a strong commercial market develops the plan outlined.
“We’ve explored this in the past and we want to be cognizant of the businesses already downtown,” Councilman Graham Riddile said. “But, at the same, we want to continue growth down to the west end of Main. We want this to be a win for everyone involved – and we want to take our time.”
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