STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township is taking a proactive approach to jumpstart development at the property that was once home to the 5 O’Clock Sports Bar and Restaurant.

Through the use of a Brownfield Redevelopment Plan, the township hopes to use tax increment financing from an adjacent property to potentially fund the demolition of the now defunct sports bar along Red Arrow Highway.

Trustees held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed amendment and two additions to the current Brownfield Redevelopment Plan. As part of the hearing and subsequent board meeting, the township agreed to the changes.

Among the more noteworthy properties was the site of the former 5 O’Clock Sports Bar.

“That property is considered functionally obsolete,” Supervisor Dick Stauffer said. “This is all about the future. We would like that property to be developed.”

Trustee Marc Florian serves as a technical advisor to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and led the discussion on the Brownfield Plan proposals during the hearing.

Since the amendment and additions were approved by the board, the new iteration of the Brownfield Plan begins immediately.

The timing is critical as the values of the properties as of Tuesday are now considered a base value, Florian said. Once the properties are reassessed, the incremental increases in property values lead to money that can be accessed through the Brownfield.

This is significant because the property is expected to see a large increase in taxable value over the next year as work continues on an adjacent property that will house a four-story hotel.

With a Tru by Hilton hotel to be built in the 2600 block of Marquette Woods Road – across the interstate from the 5 O’Clock site – the township estimates that as much as $250,000 in eligible activity costs could be funded within a 10-year period.

Those tax increment dollars from the hotel’s property that are collected through the Brownfield could be used to pay for the razing of the former sports bar.

Before any of this can take place, the property would need to be reassessed and the owner of the old 5 O’Clock site property would have to enter into an agreement with the township’s Brownfield Authority.

“It would take another year. It’s a pre-emptive move to make the property more desirable,” Stauffer said. “This gives (the current owner) an opportunity to either sell it or use the Brownfield dollars to tear down the building and develop the property.”

‘The building will go down’

The sports bar and the property at 5000 Red Arrow Highway was sold in February 2017. However, the site has remained dormant since the eatery closed in March 2015. 

Haji Tehrani, CEO and president of Drive and Shine, bought the property with the initial intention of opening a car wash in its place. Tehrani could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Tehrani owns several car wash stations throughout Indiana and previously told The Herald-Palladium of his plans to start from the ground up.

“The building will go down,” Tehrani said in 2018. “In its current condition, that would serve us no purpose. It would be more cost effective to start from scratch.”

Township officials said nothing has progressed at the property because the new owner didn’t take into account how much it would cost to demolish the building, in addition to building a new facility.

Florian said the township’s Brownfield Authority has worked on the proposed changes and additions for the past six months. Throughout the year, Florian said Authority members held several meetings with property owners to discuss what the benefits would be.

The township doesn’t often use its Brownfield Redevelopment Plan to spur development, Florian said.

The township’s first Brownfield was for the property that became the Meijer store on Red Arrow Highway. The Meijer plan was approved by the board in the fall of 2009.

Given the substantial amount of cleanup costs racked up by the company – about $9 million – the plan called for a 30-year capture/reimbursement period.

According to township documents, it was estimated that the reimbursement to Meijer would be completed in about 23 years.

“The taxable investment that was made there by Meijer is being captured by the township and used to reimburse Meijer for some of the extraordinary costs that came with developing that site,” Florian said.

Before it was the 5 O’Clock, the building for decades housed the popular Win Schuler’s restaurant. It closed in 2003 as formal dining lost favor with the public.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski