Eight Businesses to be part of strip mall

Jodi Abazoski and Jodi Abazoski

What used to be old student rentals will be a commercial storefront and apartment complex featuring a Jimmy John’s and BiggB’s Coffee as part of Market Square.

The project, currently under construction, is located on the corner of North Prospect and East Wooster streets across from Circle K and will be finished this summer.

Eight businesses will line the first floor of the building, with 16 apartment rentals on the second.

Developer Steve Green said three of the 16 units available are already leased. Green plans to have the businesses able to open their doors as soon as Summer and the residential units ready in August.

“We have an announcement for another upscale restaurant after contracts are finished the first of the year,” Green said.

Sue Clark, the executive director of Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, said she thinks “an attractive building” like Market Square will only enhance the downtown area despite some criticism by others in the city.

First ward council member Daniel Gordon voted against the ordinance proposed in February to rezone for the project. He said almost all of the residents he talked to in his ward thought it was a bad idea to add another new commercial building in their neighborhood.

Drug store chain, CVS, recently opened across the street this past October.

“I hope in spite of the concerns of my constituents, that [Market Square] is a success,” Gordon said.

But Clark’s department has supported Green in his efforts from the beginning.

“The thing about the Greens are that they’ve lived here for 30 years; Steve grew up here,” she said. “They know what people want here.”

Clark said having a local owner like Green is good for the city because they are more likely to take pride in their businesses and keep up with them.

“Like with something like Woodland Mall, which is owned by some New York City developer, it doesn’t seem like they care about taking care of that building at all,” she said.

She said bringing more businesses on Wooster Street will expand what people think of as a part of downtown Bowling Green and lessen the gap between that area and the University.

“I think that we will eventually see even more development of East Wooster,” she said.

Green wanted to add these “lifestyle units” combining commercial and multi-family spaces because of their trend of popularity across the country. He said choosing this particular location would improve students’ downtown housing market as well as give them choices that have less of an impact on the environment.

“There were four older houses [where Market Square is being built] that were being used as student housing,” he said. “They were beautiful in their day, but the structures were not efficient anymore.”

Green is not worried that Market Square will compromise the integrity downtown like some have suggested.

“Downtown’s historic feel was destroyed when they tore down the old high school,” he said. “If we’re going to continue to make progress and modernize the city, I think this is a great way to do it.”