One of the gateways to Ottawa is getting a facelift piece-by-piece. The intersection of 23rd and Princeton St. or U.S. 59, is full of refurbished and new businesses.
McDonald’s received a remodel in the past nine months. Home Base (formerly DIY) remodeled the Old Price Chopper building and recently moved in. Just south of the intersection, Arby’s will soon open. A Holiday Inn Express is still in the works next to Taco Bell.
The latest is the redevelopment of the former Kansas Buffet Restaurant, 2230 S. Princeton St., Ottawa. The city of Ottawa Planning Commission Thursday approved the redevelopment site plan for Club Car Wash, a new automated car wash. City officials said the restaurant will be demolished and the site cleared for the new development resulting in a very different gateway to Ottawa.
Wynndee Lee, director of community development for the City of Ottawa, said this project will inject more than meets the eye.
“Between that, Arby’s and other things that are going on there, it will signal — if you have been a visitor to the community, things are changing,” Lee said. “That is also important for the community. Some visitors only come into one of our gateways to the first intersection. They go eat or stay and they are gone. We may have changes downtown, but if people don’t get very far in town, they won’t know that. Once they start seeing signals of change, they may say ‘I have not been downtown in awhile and let’s go look.’”
The new automated car wash will be in a 6,000 square foot building and will also have a number of vacuum bays, city officials said. The redevelopment will result in an increase of green space/reduction of pavement, a factor the city desires, along with good landscaping planned. In addition, new sidewalks will be installed which will ultimately be connected to others planned over time.
“Currently it is almost all pavement and just one building,” Lee said. “Because this project doesn’t need as much pavement for parking about a third of the site or more will be returned back to turf and landscaping. It will look a lot greener. It has a little bit more elevation on it. It will stand up there a little bit more and be seen. They are adding sidewalks to both 23rd and [Princeton] Streets. We think it would be a good improvement. They only will have an inbound drive way off of 23rd, It will be about the same location as the current drive way. All exiting will be on King from the site.”
Lee added this car wash will be something different for patrons.
“It is a drive-thru operation,” she said. “It is something different we don’t have right now.”
Lee said that area will have a cleaner look and be more impressionable on visitors coming off of I-35.
“We like redevelopment and having opportunities to add amenities to the community like the sidewalks,” she said. “They are putting in a bike rack and other things to fit in with the community. Each of these things have risk of harming one of our existing businesses whether it is a car wash or restaurant. Having a vacant building is far worse for everyone. The new investments of Home Base and others, vacant buildings can keep people from getting that far. We want to see all spaces occupied.”