A prominent parcel in downtown Zionsville is a step closer to being developed now that a local developer has the property under contract.
The vacant 2.4-acre piece of land at 240 S. Main St. is on the southwest corner of Main and Sycamore streets, and once was home to a Citgo gas station.
A sold sign has been placed on the property, though representatives of both the seller and the buyer declined to divulge the purchaser.
The buyer will lease the land until September 2015 with an option to purchase due to a deed restriction that’s been placed on the land by the seller, said Bo Leffel, a broker with Cassidy Turley, who represents the buyer.
“They’re going to do a first-class mixed-use project there” that will include both residential and commercial space, he said.
A complicated ownership structure has prevented the land from being sold ever since the gas station closed in March 2008. The land owner is EBO LLC, an ownership entity controlled by a Rochester, Minn., family that inherited the property in 2005. The deed restriction was placed on the property when a relative of the family died.
That there’s been movement on the property is a positive step for the Boone County town, which views the land as a vital link between the business district and new office development expected along 106th Street following the city’s purchase of 80-plus acres of land from Dow Chemical Co.
“Obviously, a vacant corner in the heart of downtown is not something you want to see,” Zionsville Town Manager Ed Mitro said. “There are a lot of encumbrances on that property. It’s not the easiest property to develop.”
Cassidy Turley originally listed the land for $2 million. It’s the latest parcel to change hands in the area that could help Zionsville extend Main Street to the south.
The town of Zionsville at one time had considered buying the parcel but decided the asking price was too high. The town, however, acquired property just to the north, where a PNC Bank branch recently closed.
To the south, a $3 million mixed-use project planned for Zionsville Road and 106th Street, for example, is intentionally replicating Main Street’s period look. Dubbed South Village of Zionsville West, the three-building complex will be anchored by a Bub’s Burgers restaurant.
Town officials rezoned the former Citgo property to a classification known as Village Business District to prevent a service-station-type use on the property.
In March 2009, the station’s fuel drums were removed . A car wash building at the rear was torn down in 2011.
Zionsville, which has a population of about 14,000, has carefully monitored the development of its Main Street retail area for 50 years. In the late 1950s, it began revitalizing the area, which has cobblestone streets, by encouraging building owners to improve their storefronts using a Colonial theme.
More recently, it adopted the Village Business District zoning designation, which is intended to preserve the character of the district by, for example, spelling out what uses are appropriate and limiting building setbacks.