New retail space on table in DeWitt

DEWITT — A proposed new three-story building in DeWitt would be the first new structure built in the downtown district since The Crossroads Inspired Living and Garden Café in 2009.

Connor Murphy, along with his parents Mike and Nancy, offered the city $10,000 to purchase the empty lot at 911 Sixth Ave. in DeWitt last month to potentially construct a 22-by-100-foot structure that would include space for retail, offices and residential occupants.

The DeWitt City Council considered the purchase at last week’s meeting following a public hearing that produced no comments. However, it was tabled due to some details needing to be worked out with the city’s building official, TJ Appleby, including rules regarding a shared wall.

Connor Murphy said the location is of high interest to him and his family due to its proximity to Murphy’s Pub, a business they own and operate. They are looking at multiple properties in the area for a possible business venture. Nothing, Murphy stressed, is set in stone.

“We are looking at quite a few options, and there is an equal chance for each of them,” Murphy said. “We aren’t at a point where we will choose one piece; we may even end up with nothing.”

If the Murphys were to purchase the lot in downtown DeWitt, Lindner said, building codes would need to be followed strictly, as the building would share a wall with 907 Sixth Ave., which is owned by Art Barber, according to the Beacon Schneider online database.

“We’re working through it,” said DeWitt City Administrator Steve Lindner. “It’s building code and fire zone-type issues. What type of construction or fire suppression is enough to meet the code?”

A shared wall requires a fire wall and specific kinds of construction.

“We’re working with [contractors] now,” Lindner said. “They want to know what the requirements would be so they can determine their costs. They will work out most of that and a full understanding of the construction requirements.”

Murphy said that if the family decided to go with the Sixth Avenue lot as the location for a possible business venture, the building would be a three-story structure with a basement and include residential, retail and possible office space.

“It’s s not an extension of our current restaurant, brewery or pub,” he explained. “We are currently looking into a new business idea along with the possibility of someone renting out a storefront … I can’t give a whole lot of details on a new potential business, as those ideas are still developing.”

Murphy said he and his family believe DeWitt is the right place for a project like this, if it does indeed come to fruition.

“We’ve seen the success of this businesses and the success of the city of DeWitt,” Murphy said. “DeWitt has an awesome population that is going to go out and support the local businesses. The economy is unlike other small cities in our area.”

In other business, the council also:

– Authorized a loan agreement for a $6.3 million bond issue that includes money for the library expansion, 2019 street reconstruction project in the 10th Avenue corridor and a match on Phase II of the South Sixth Avenue paving project that was completed last fall.

– Approved a one-lot subdivision on the north end of Scenic Ridge Road in northern DeWitt. Springbrook Country Club will sell a single lot to Jered Birt. The lot has access to utilities. Per the planning and zoning commission, the developer must install a 10-foot sidewalk easement and a cul-de-sac.

– Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. during the March 18 council meeting to solicit comments regarding the plans, specifications and contract for the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library expansion.

 Approved a change order to the South Sixth Avenue pavement project that deducts $6,644.93 from the job’s overall cost. The new total price tag for the project is $854,176.02.