ZANESVILLE, Ohio — A run-down building in the heart of downtown Zanesville may see some new life, if a man who grew up in the Y-City gets enough support.
Nate Embrey earlier this month bought a building at 606 and 608 Main St., not far from the Muskingum Co. Courthouse, along with a group to which he belongs. They want to rehab the building.
Embrey presented his plans Monday night to the Zanesville City Council Public Safety Committee.
“We have seen quite a lot. Yeah. We poked our heads in and did some drone footage. I saw those buildings fall down from the top of an apartment that I lived in right beside them. So I’ve been following that situation quite a lot since that happened. Our feeling is that they look a lot worse than they are,” he said.
Jim Lepi, owner & founder of Lepi Enterprises, was enlisted to help Embrey’s group, “Re-Main” assess the property. Lepi tells the committee he thinks the buildings could potentially be saved.
The city’s legal counsel says there’s a balancing act in determining whether razing the buildings would be more cost-efficient than rehabilitating them.
Rob Sharrer, Zanesville City Councilman At-Large and Public Safety Committee Chair, said it’s a difficult situation for political leaders. “We have to come up with a solution to benefit the people of Zanesville.”
Lepi says if the buildings are taken down, legally and by design, it would be next March before they’re demolished. By January, he says, the Muskingum Co. Port Authority could take on options and two months later, demolition could start.
WHIZ News asked Embrey if he intends to rehabilitate the buildings or tear them down. “”We’re not going to tear them down. The density of that block is fantastic. There are buildings that are in close proximity to each other and make for a great space to build out with, great spaces for restaurant, entertainment, food and drink,” he told us.
Plans for the space include retail or food service at the ground level and residential space above that.
The Public Safety Committee intends to have more conversations about Monday evening’s meeting between now and the end of the month. Zanesville leaders intend to reconvene Sept. 30 to discuss their findings.