Last updated: February 20. 2014 4:00PM - 2057 Views

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The site at 351 S. Sandusky St. has seen good times and bad.

In 1974, a Holiday Inn stood there. Its building became the Delaware Hotel after the hospitality chain left town, and Delaware Hotel was a successful concern for a number of years. Not only did it host visitors, it also was a favorite location for a variety of events.

Years passed and hard times arrived. In November 2007, the hotel was shut down briefly for safety violations. Inspectors returned the following September and said they found structural damage to the building, smoke alarms that failed to operate in almost all the rooms, food scraps in vacant rooms and bathrooms without functional ventilation systems. The patrons were ordered to leave and the hotel shut down again, this time for good.

The building was heavily damaged by an arson fire the following July. In the following year, the city and county used $1.1-million in Ohio Neighborhood Stabilization Grant funds to buy the site and the building was demolished.

Fast-forward to the present and Riverside Landing at Delaware Place now stands at the site, providing affordable senior housing. Four developers were interested in the project and Miller Valentine Group was selected. Developer Denise Blake said, “We started looking in Columbus to establish a presence, and we looked for growing communities where we could be new and bring value. We started looking where there would be a good target population, came to Delaware, and we started keeping an eye on the hotel site. We kept at it, being able to demonstrate the need for senior housing in the Delaware market.”

Riverside Landing’s one-bedroom apartments and villas quickly found residents, leaving only two-bedroom apartments available.

Miller Valentine now plans a new senior housing project at the site, Delaware Place II.

The proposed 26-unit, 3-story building would include 8 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom units. The structure would resemble the four-story Riverside Landing building.

Miller Valentine will partner with Community Action Organization of Delaware, Madison and Union Counties Inc. on Delaware Place II. The nonprofit agency states on its website that it is “actively working to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for people, families and our communities.”

Community Action Executive Director Rochelle Twining said affordable housing “at one time had a very bad connotation in people’s minds. It’s important that a community always recognize that there are people at both ends of the spectrum in terms of income and age who also need safe, decent affordable housing. We can be proud of this project.”

Delaware City Council passed a resolution approving the project. The city plans to seek Ohio Housing Finance Agency tax credits to help finance the construction.

Many had a hand in the success story that has transformed 351 S. Sandusky St. from a condemned and smoldering hulk to Riverside Landing at Delaware Place.

Delaware County’s government and the developer played vital roles. At the vanguard was Delaware’s city government. The embers from the arson blaze had hardly cooled when the city developed the first version of a plan to acquire the site and see it redeveloped. Without that resolute determination, 351 S. Sandusky St. might be an empty lot today.

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