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SOUTH POINT, Ohio — Lawrence County Economic Development officials say the future of a proposed strip mall in South Point depends on approval of state and federal infrastructure grants.

Demolition began last week of existing structures on approximately three acres along U.S. 52 at the intersection of Sandusky Road. Included in the demolition phase are several old apartment buildings and dilapidated houses.

Lawrence County economic development officials have been working with Interstate Realty, the company planning to develop the site into a 30,000-square foot strip mall, to obtain the grants.

“The grants to assist with needed infrastructure for this proposed development have not been officially accepted and approved,” said Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence County economic development agency. “Yes, the developer has began demolition at the site, but this is not a done deal yet.”

Dingus said the state and federal grants would be used for public infrastructure for utilities, drainage and roads. He declined to give additional details about the grants and said information would be released after a decision was made by federal and state officials.

“We remain hopeful and positive and we continue to do preparatory work,” Dingus said.

Fayette Township trustees recently passed a resolution regarding ingress and egress to the site.

“The residents were afraid they were going to make a pass through from old 52 to the project site, but that was never the intentions of the developer,” said Mike Finley, president of the Fayette Township trustees.

“But we passed a resolution that they could not use what used to be Sunset Drive, and I think is now Burton Street, as an ingress and egress to the site. We also helped them with a vacated alley. I think we calmed all the people worried about traffic driving up and down their street all the time and everyone seems to be very excited about it now.”

If the grants are approved, construction is anticipated to start in the spring, according to Brent Roswall, a native of Barboursville and co-owner of Interstate Realty. The company is also developing Tanyard Station in Barboursville and the Herd Stadium Center in Huntington.

Roswall said if the project gets the green light soon, the first phase of the development could be completed by the end of the year.

“It would have approximately 30,000 square feet,” Roswall said.

Roswall says there is already lots of interest from potential tenants to locate at the new commercial development.

Rumors of a new Aldi grocery store, a Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks have circulated throughout the community and online, but Roswall says confidentiality agreements prevent his company from naming tenants at this time.

“If the project moves forward, we hope to make tenant announcements in the future,” he said.

Both Finley and Dingus say the project would provide a significant economic boost to the area.

“This would mean new jobs and more options for this area,” Finley said. “I believe this would also lead to even more economic development for Fayette Township and Lawrence County.”

“This would be a wonderful addition to the area,” Dingus said. “However, I really want to stress again that this project’s future is contingent on getting these grants to assist with infrastructure at the site.”

Fred Pace is the business reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

Fred has been in the newspaper industry for 30+ years. He continues to be excited to bring readers news that only comes thru local journalism. “Being able to share the passion felt by entrepreneurs in our community with readers is exciting,” he said.

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