Demolition still possible for Kear’s Speed Shop

Tiffin Architectural Board of Review approved a certificate of appropriateness for the possible demolition of a downtown building.

The approval of the application is for the full demolition of the building at 8 E. Market St., the Kear’s Speed Shop property. The board approved the application — signed by property owner Shirley Kear-Valentine — with a vote of 5-1 Tuesday.

This application is to be submitted with the site plans for the Tiffin River Front Development project. The project includes plans for a creative loft-living complex and a full-service hotel/condominium facility.

Ed Hernando, the project developer, had submitted the application on behalf of the Kear family.

The decision to approve the application was tabled last week for the board to obtain more information. Members of the board toured the exterior of the building.

The certificate for appropriateness was granted with contingencies that the site plan and the financing for the project move forward. The building is not to be demolished unless the project is fully approved.

City Engineer Matt Watson provided the board with the approval process for demolition and new construction that would be required for the project. The process includes six steps Hernando would need to meet before the project is fully approved, including returning to the ABR for approval of site plans for all new construction.

During the meeting’s public comment portion, David Zak, president and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, and Mayor Aaron Montz spoke in support of the approval of the application.

“If Mr. Hernando can’t sell his units, the building will still be there,” Montz said.

John Kerschner spoke on behalf of Andrew Kalnow, who is out of town on business. Kerschner provided a written statement from Kalnow to the board.

“I and other citizens of Tiffin feel that there are serious issues with the scale and timing of such a massive new construction development in historic downtown Tiffin at this time,” Kalnow said in the statement provided.

Hernando said he has spent two and a half years getting the project to this point and previously spent time talking with city officials and the city engineer inquiring about every detail he would need to meet in the process.

Hernando said the recent housing study completed by the city confirms his initial evaluation that Tiffin — which was deemed an under-served housing market by the report — is more than ready for a project like this.

“It is an exciting time,” Hernando said. “I am more excited today that I was two years ago.”