A new tenant for the downtown space that formerly housed the Bistro 310 restaurant could move into the vacant Fourth Street location by late this year or early next year.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission gave approval to its legal counsel, Stan Gamso, on Monday night to begin contract negotiations with Lucabe Coffee Co., a locally owned coffee business that is seeking to open a coffee shop in the 3,774-square foot space at 310 Fourth St. The redevelopment commission serves as landlord for that space.

Tyler and Alissa Hodge, a local couple and owners of Lucabe Coffee Co., brought a proposal before the redevelopment commission Monday calling for a new downtown coffee shop that would sell specialty coffees, teas, sandwiches, pastries and other baked goods.

Lucabe Coffee would charge approximately the same amount for its products that high-profile national coffee chains would charge, but the Hodges said the extra perks they plan to offer to customers would make their coffee products a better value. For example, a double shot of espresso would be standard at Lucabe, while competitors usually charge an extra fee for more than one shot, the couple said.

The Hodges’ proposed floor plan allocates room for a children’s play area, as well as a nearby dining area where parents could sit and enjoy their food while still staying close to their playing children.

The space also would have a spot for local musicians to play for customers, and the couple has plans to commission a local artist to paint a mural within the restaurant. Baking classes and tastings also would be offered, as well as free brews at any time for all first responders.

The interior of the coffee shop would have an industrial look to it with a lot of light and open spaces, the couple said.

The Hodges brought a crowd of about 30 people with them to show their support for the new downtown coffee shop concept.

However, Rachelle Cole with Gramz Bakery, 409 Washington St., questioned the Hodges on how they thought they would distinguish themselves from other similar businesses already in the downtown area.

Alissa Hodge said she viewed Gramz’ niche as baked good products, particularly cake baking, but said Lucabe would put the majority of its focus on specialty coffee brews.

“Coffee would be the star of our show,” Hodge said.

Commissioners gave unanimous approval to allow Gamso to begin contract negotiations with the Hodges for a new lease on the 310 Fourth St. space. Once the contract has been negotiated, the commissioners also gave commission president Sarah Cannon permission to execute the lease without an additional meeting.

Tyler Hodge said he expected it would take about six weeks for he and his wife to secure all of the necessary funding, and then about another two to three months to get the shop set up.

Bistro 310 vacated the space in December 2014. The restaurant originally opened in 2004 in the old Commons Mall and reopened at 310 Fourth St. in 2009 after being closed for a year-and-a-half.

Licenses on tap

In another matter dealing directly with attracting new businesses downtown, redevelopment commissioners gave unanimous approval to a recommendation to the Columbus City Council to increase the number of available three-way liquor licenses within the riverfront district from 10 to 15.

Redevelopment director Heather Pope said 9 out of the 10 existing licenses already have been awarded, and the 10th could be awarded soon. Because of the ongoing growth of the riverfront district, Pope said the city wanted to take a proactive step to support that growth.

Three-way liquor licenses allow the sale of beer, wine and liquor at restaurants.

The redevelopment commission also approved $300,000 for the city to become the funding partner of a $550,000 road improvement project at the west side Woodside Industrial Park.

The improvements will focus on County Road 450 South at the entrance of the industrial park, the existing Faurecia Technical Center and the planned Faurecia expansion, as well as the intersection of State Road 58 and International Drive. Updates such as road widenings, new signal installations and drainage improvements will be made in that area.

Jason Hester, executive director of the Columbus Economic Development Board, said the city had received a $250,000 grant from the state Infrastructure Development Grant Fund to cover the remaining cost of the project.

Meeting highlights

Contract negotiations for 310 Fourth St.

Lucabe Coffee Co., Columbus, has proposed a business plan to open a specialty coffee shop in the vacant space at 310 Fourth St. The redevelopment commission gave approval to commission attorney Stan Gamso to begin contract negotiations with Lucabe Coffee Co. and to execute a lease with the coffee company.

Riverwalk  updates

The commission approved up to $53,000 for additional work on the Riverwalk project — $48,500 for a geomorphic study into the implications of removing the low head dam on the East Fork White River, and up to $5,000 for the research, application and administration of a grant to remove the dam.

Woodside road improvement project

The commission agreed to be the funding partner for the Woodside road improvement project by garnering $300,000 toward road widenings, signal installations and drainage improvements along County Road 450 South and State Road 58. The remaining $250,000 will be covered through a state grant.

Three-way liquor licenses

Commissioners will send a favorable recommendation to the Columbus City Council to raise the number of available three-way liquor licenses in the downtown area from 10 to 15.

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.