Big Boy coming to Ironton?

Published 11:22 am Thursday, August 22, 2013

Joining Ninth Street hotel project


Frisch’s Big Boy franchise is the family-style chain restaurant that is expected to be part of the Ninth Street development project that is slated to bring a hotel to Ironton.

The restaurant, as well as the Holiday Inn Express, has long been rumored but was specifically identified in the application for a Community Development Block Grant to gain funding for the $10 million project.

Email newsletter signup

The goal of the grant is to get about 60 percent of the $800,500 that is the local share on the project. That will go for site development work. The rest of the local share could come as in-kind work contributions.

Approximately $9.2 million of the project will come from investments by private developers and the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation.

Soliciting bids for site work could begin by the end of the month.

“Hopefully everything will be clear to put it out for bid in the next week or two,” Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, said.

“We can come in and do improvements on the public rights of way.”

The project, which takes in about a four and a half block area from near Park Avenue to Adams Street and from U.S. 52 to Eight and Half Street, is planned in different phases.

The initial phase would be the hotel and restaurant with possible shops or services to come later that would be complements to the complex.

“Because of the slopes and different things, there is quite a bit of work we want to do at the site,” Kline said. “The rest of the cost is up to the private developers. We are taking care of (site work) and they get a developable site and they take it from there.”

On Wednesday the second phase of the CDBG application was completed.

“We submitted the grant application in July,” Kline said. “They do their review and come back with comments and questions and after you respond, they do their final approval.”

The LEDC is lead investor in the project, partnering with others to borrow approximately $5 million for the project.

“(Developers are) utilizing design standards similar to the (St. Mary’s) medical campus where you will have future phases where it will look nice,” Kline said.

The former county garage and Dennis Boll Group and Shelteer Home were razed to make way for the hotel. Still on the property is the former armory that could also be part of the complex.

“That hopefully will be developed in the not-so-distant future,” Kline said. “There are some individuals who possibly could utilize the building. That is one possible outcome.”

Headquartered in Cincinnati, the first Big Boy diner opened in 1948. Now the chain has 93 restaurants operating predominately in Ohio and Kentucky.