Helen L. Lawrence

February 21, 2012


Staff Writer

Powell City Council made official Tuesday a lease agreement with the Powell Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), the entity overseeing the new business incubator in the city’s downtown.

The building at 44 N. Liberty St. is the former Liberty Township fire station and is city property. It has been newly renovated as a business incubator and conference center space and meant to encourage fledgling small businesses by offering low-rent office space and support services.

Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the lease agreement with the Powell CIC, the organization spearheading the incubator and other economic development opportunities, along with Historic Downtown Powell Inc., the nonprofit responsible for the revitalization and promotion of downtown Powell.

The agreement leases the building for $1 a year and lets the Powell CIC oversee the future tenants in the space, said Gene Hollins, Powell law director.

The adjacent city parking lot remains outside the lease agreement, although the tenants and visitors will use some of the spaces.

Powell councilman Don Grubbs asked that information be included in the agreement about the responsibility of snow removal.

It is likely that the city will be responsible for the removal of snow from the sidewalks, Hollins said.

Grubbs also expressed concern about the tenants purchasing insurance and whether that might pose a hardship on the upstart businesses.

The amount agreed upon was relatively low, $500,000, said councilman Jim Hrivnak, so he didn’t anticipate a problem.

The incubator is intended to encourage future entrepreneurship and offers management training during the first few years. Upon “graduating” from the incubator program, the businesses must sign a contract to remain in Powell for a set amount of time.

There are four offices spaces available, and the search is on for tenants. Several have expressed an interest in the spaces, many from the technology-based field.

Monthly rent starts at $550 and includes access to professional mentoring and training resources, as well as office resources including Internet, administrative staff, dedicated phone lines, utilities, use of a color copier and printer, conference center and kitchenette, landscaping and refuse and snow removal. Fiber optic data access is also available on an individual basis.

Those interested in a tour of the facility or in an application for the incubator program should contact Historic Downtown Powell Inc. program assistant Drew Farrell at 614-396-3336 or send an email to