City workers will tear down the former Bob’s Car Wash on Second Street this week to open up the property for development.
The demolition work is expected to take about two weeks, said Bryan Burton, city director of public works. Pavement and concrete removal will be done this fall, he said.
In February, the Columbus Redevelopment Commission purchased roughly a half-acre of land at 711 Second St. for $300,000 from car wash owner Robert Cseszko. The acreage is part of 10 acres owned by the city along Second Street, across from Lafayette Avenue and east of the Bartholomew County Jail.
The city had previously attempted to buy the car wash in 2012 for $500,000, an offer Cseszko rejected at the time. The commission had been negotiating with Cseszko for years, said Heather Pope, city redevelopment director, in an earlier interview.
Appraisals in 2015 placed the property value at between $200,000 and $295,000, according to the redevelopment commission.
Cseszko approached the city in 2016 about selling the property, which was formerly a gas station, and negotiations continued through most of last year, Pope said.
“Obviously, at some point, it will be redeveloped, but right now, we don’t know that will look like,” Pope said.
An evaluation of the car wash property and its current condition has been performed, Pope said.
The city paid $6,065 to American Environmental of Indianapolis in September 2012 for an environmental assessment that found minor contamination where gas station pumps were formerly located on the property, Pope said.
The city is working with August Mack Environmental of Indianapolis on the gas pump contamination, Pope said.
August Mack is also working with the city on contamination matters at a former creosote plant site at 53 Lafayette Ave., Pope said.
The 2015 appraisals of the car wash site said 400 tons of contaminated soil were at the site, linked to underground fuel tanks that have already been removed. Some groundwater contamination was also possible, the appraisal said.
Second Street development has been on the city’s project list since 2015 when former Mayor Kristen Brown’s administration sent out a Request for Proposal seeking ideas on how the property could be developed. At the time, city officials realized the car wash property would have to be purchased to allow developers to freely design on all 10 acres of available property.
Two firms, Altera Development, a part of Avison Young of Dallas, and RealAmerica of Fishers, brought proposals to the city after expressing an interest in developing the acreage two years ago.
Altera Development had proposed a seven-story, mixed-use building with retail space on the ground floor and apartments and townhomes on the upper floors. RealAmerica also provided examples of several apartment buildings it had developed in other communities to the city.
The city has no timeline on marketing the property for future development, but hopes to have it happen sooner rather than later, Pope said.
“We just really need to get to a point of what type of use we’d like to see there as a community,” she said.