FAIRBORN — Fairborn City Council authorized the Fairborn Development Corporation to own the entire block surrounding the upcoming kitchen incubator space, including 309-313 W. Main St. and 14 N. Third St.
“The reason for the request is so that the FDC can further economic development in the area,” Assistant City Manager Michael Gebhart said as the item was presented to council during the Oct. 2 regular meeting.
Future plans for the additional spaces include expanding the kitchen incubator operation. Specifically, 309 W. Main St. is envisioned to become a certified gluten-free bakery.
“We’ve toured other kitchen incubators in Columbus and Cincinnati and we found a large need for dry storage or storage of any kind for those types of businesses (gluten-free),” City Manager Rob Anderson said.
Meanwhile, 311 W. Main St. is envisioned to be a temporary co-working and event space while the kitchen incubator is under construction. It will also serve as an office for Downtown Revitalization Specialist Tonia Fish.
Hibachi, 14 N. Third St., did not have a lease at the time of the authorization and opted to vacate the month-to-month basis it was formerly operating under. City officials are now focusing on how that space can be activated and utilized. The block also includes The Inside Scoop, which is also operating on a month-to-month basis and is not in danger of closing. Instead, city officials are working with The Inside Scoop Owner Clint Allen on a business/floor plan as well as a new lease as it neighbors the kitchen incubator.
“He (Allen) is exploring our new pivot incentive, going through that process, and hopefully he will get to the point where we get to work together more on that,” Fish said.
The kitchen incubator has created a buzz around and outside of the Fairborn community, inspiring many to ask how — and when — the space will operate. City officials are currently awaiting construction documents to be completed. Anderson said the hope is that renovations can begin just after the commencement of 2018 and open at the end of the first quarter next year. Conversations surrounding membership fees and the business model concerning specifics on how members can utilize the space will take on a more serious tone as renovation costs become finalized.
While the floor plan has been adjusted, the space will still include areas to co-work, host meetings as well as conduct educational events and food demonstrations.
City officials said they are being mindful of the budget, as they are envisioning an industrial-look on the interior of the kitchen incubator. It has yet to be branded, but city employees are currently being surveyed on ideas for a name. City officials will soon finalize the brand after they conduct a brainstorming session. Plans concerning if and how food trucks can be included in the operation will come in a later phase. The city had also originally envisioned a gardening space and solar panels on the roof but those plans will also be determined in a later phase.
“[We want] to create some traffic and activity in our downtown, right on Main Street. We feel like our kitchen and co-working space can do that,” Anderson said. “The other thing we’re trying to do is [create] an economic development tool. We want folks who have a food-based business idea to start their business here, grow their business here and then when they get to the point where they can no longer operate in our kitchen, we want them to move to another location in Fairborn and continue to grow their business.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.