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HDC grants fund restaurant rehab, downtown parking

Front of Legacy Smokehouse

An Old Hilliard restaurant rebuilding after a fire is among several area businesses recently awarded grants from the Hilliard Development Corporation (HDC).

Legacy Smokehouse, 3987 Main St., was awarded $25,000 as part of the Old Hilliard Façade Improvement Program.

A December fire caused significant damage just days before Rickhouse 41, a bourbon bar, was set to open on Legacy Smokehouse’s second floor. Both Legacy Smokehouse and Rickhouse 41 are expected to open together this fall, said co-owner Chad Smock.

“People are chomping at the bit to support us, and I’m excited to see the movement on construction,” Smock said. “The community and the City of Hilliard have been so supportive. This was the reason why we wanted to open the business here.”

Insurance funds only cover the cost to rebuild the restaurant and bar to original specifications, said Andy Warnock, co-founder and CEO of the Westwood Collective, a Hilliard-based real estate development firm that leases the property to Legacy. The HDC grant will allow Smock to add square footage to better serve patrons and cover the cost of more expensive equipment hit by inflation, Warnock said.

 “While the Legacy fire was a tragic event, the HDC has given new life – and hope – to a now iconic Old Hilliard restaurant,” said Warnock.

Warnock and the Westwood team recently bought and renovated 5252 Norwich St., a property where the company will headquarter its operation. HDC awarded a $25,000 grant to pave the way for a new roof, windows, exterior lighting, garage doors, and landscaping package.

“The cost to acquire, develop, and rehab property is making it tougher and tougher to create winning projects, but we want to continue reshaping the look and feel of Old Hilliard,” Warnock said. “HDC’s façade grant program is the ideal public-private partnership to offset the rising costs of construction and facilitate continued investment in the city’s core.” 

HDC also awarded a $50,000 grant to Tidd Funeral Home to help fund a new parking lot at 4010 Columbia St. The lot will include 28 shared spaces that will be available for public parking when not in use by the funeral home.

“The City is doing a wonderful job bringing people downtown to Old Hilliard, and that’s what we need,” said Rick Tidd, who owns the property. “I’m pro-Hilliard – born and raised, raised my family. We want to see things happening here, and we’re excited to see the area full.”

HDC is the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) of the City of Hilliard. As the designated economic development agency of the City of Hilliard, it has the authority to apply for and administer grants, buy and sell real property, and create programs for small business. 

The Old Hilliard Façade Improvement Program is designed to stimulate private investment in high-quality building improvements that create and enhance community image and character in Old Hilliard. The program shares the costs of improving commercial building exteriors and publicly used amenities.

Promoting joint public-private action and investment complements and enhances Old Hilliard, said Angela Zody, the City of Hilliard’s Downtown Manager.

“We’re proud this program has been successful in providing funding to so many worthwhile projects,” Zody said. “The entire community benefits with a vibrant downtown that invites visitors to stop, shop, and dine.”

For more information about grant opportunities visit here.

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