Former Skooter’s could be site of future redevelopment

Property on State Street, including the site of a closed family restaurant, is being prepared for sale and potential redevelopment, city officials say.

On Tuesday, Columbus City council passed the first reading of an ordinance to vacate the public right-of-way for alleys to the north and east of 1602 State Street, the former site of Skooter’s Family Restaurant. City Council President Pro Tem Elaine Hilber abstained from the vote.

“There’s an entity or person that I am associated with that might be buying the property, so I wanted to abstain just in case,” she told The Republic.

Skooter’s closed in 2020 amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, owner Vicki Grace Michael said that her family had agreed to sell the property to an out-of-state developer and that further details would be released when the sale was completed. She also discussed the possibility of Skooter’s reopening at a different and larger location in the future.

According to a memorandum from Planning Director Jeff Bergman to city council, 1602 State and the property on the opposite side of the north alley is owned by Skooter’s co-founder Janice Grace. The applicant “has indicated that the intent of the alley vacation is to prepare the property for sale and possible future redevelopment,” said Bergman.

From what he understands, the plan is to join the two properties into one. He told city council at Tuesday’s meeting that the applicants have described the work as a “property clean-up effort” to resolve the alley and address encroachments.

He also said that Duke Energy has service lines in these alleys and has sought more information from the applicant.

“Those conversations have taken place,” said Bergman. “… I think our expectation would be that when the second meeting occurs, we have to see the plat vacating that alley, we’ll see on that a solution to Duke’s needs in that area.”

He added that the ordinance vacating the alley will not be scheduled for a second reading until the city sees the plat drawing of the vacation. Ordinances have to be passed on two readings by city council for full approval.