A downtown Greenwood business is set to open next spring in a larger building that can be open year-round.
This week, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission approved selling two properties near Main and Meridian streets to John Cassin, the owner of Mrs. Curl Ice Cream Shop that has served ice cream at its location for more than five decades.
Now, Cassin wants to build a new ice cream shop that would be open year-round and offer indoor seating. He offered to purchased two properties owned by the city at the southeast corner of Main and Meridian streets as the new location for Mrs. Curl.
The redevelopment commission voted 3-2 in favor of selling the two properties to Cassin and two business partners for $41,000. The board had solicited bids to sell the property to a developer for the amount it has been appraised at — $35,000 — for use as a ice cream shop or a similar business. Cassin made the only bid for the property.
Two members of the commission, Mike Campbell and Chuck Landon, voted against the sale, citing concerns about the loss the city was taking on the property.
Last year, the redevelopment commission spent $163,500 to purchase houses at 1 and 21 E. Main St. — a price that was about $15,000 higher than the average appraised values of the properties. The city then spent $22,000 to demolish the homes. One of the homes, 21 E. Main St., was purchased by the city from Scott Cassin, who is the son of John Cassin. The money from that sale went directly to his son, who was renting out the home on the property, John Cassin has said.
The initial plan was to use the land to add a turn lane to the intersection, widen sidewalks along Meridian and Main streets, and build a public parking lot. After the city began negotiations to purchase the properties, John Cassin proposed using the land for an ice cream shop just north of where Mrs. Curl opened more than half-century ago on Meridian Street.
“It will be a whole new adventure,” John Cassin said.
Some of the city’s proposed improvements to the property — the turn lane and sidewalk — will still be done.
The sale of the property is contingent on John Cassin showing he has secured financing for the project, city attorney Krista Taggart said.
Construction will need to begin within a year of the contract being completed, and John Cassin will not be able to request a tax break for the property for a decade, she said.
The new Mrs. Curl building will cost between $400,000 and $450,000, John Cassin said.
He has gotten preliminary approval for bank loans, but those won’t be finalized until the designs for the project, which are 90 percent done, are completed. The goal is to begin construction this fall and have the building completed and ready to open by the beginning of March, he said. Before construction can begin, he will have to go through the city’s process to get a building permit.
John Cassin has been leasing his current site from Archer’s Meat Packing. The city has been discussing purchasing or leasing the building from Archer’s for use by the parks department, but those negotiations were put on hold until while the Mrs. Curl deal was being finalized, Taggart said.