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Village of Lancaster will ‘Save-A-Little,’ demolish rest of downtown business parcel

The long-awaited planned demolition of nearly 40,000 square feet of the Lancaster Village Partnership Complex in the heart of the Village of Lancaster may finally be happening.

The partial demolition is part of a grander plan that has been in the works for several years: to reopen West Main Street and ultimately restore it between Central Avenue and Aurora Street. The hope is that it will spur development, possibly a mix of retail and office space.

The Lancaster Village Board’s approval last week of the site plan for asbestos abatement and selective demolition of the complex gave the effort a significant nudge. The demolition work is expected to cost around $600,000 and federal money is in place to cover those costs, said Jeffrey L. Stribing, the village community development director.

The Village Board’s approval mirrored an earlier recommendation for approval, which came from the village Planning Commission after that body had reviewed the plans submitted by the village’s Community Development Corporation.

“Right now, we’re pretty confident this will be the time line that goes through,” Stribing said.

A pre-bid site walkthrough by prospective contractors is scheduled for Monday and will be followed by a bid deadline of July 10. Final decisions will be made July 18 on contract awards.

Bid documents were made available for interested contractors Wednesday.

Some key tenants in the hulking complex, which sits on the largest single parcel in the village’s downtown business district, will remain. Save-A-Lot is the big tenant in the large complex. The complex also was the headquarters for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services offices until about 1990. The grocery store will remain intact, as will a smattering of other tenants in the structure, which totals about 86,000 square feet.

Stribing called the project “the next big step” in the larger picture of revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Lancaster.

Just last month, the Village Board voted to apply for $250,000 in state economic development funding toward construction, utility and engineering expenses tied to the West Main Street Extension project.

Last year, village leaders committed to borrow $900,000 to help make the parcel more attractive to developers. That section had been built as part of an urban renewal project dating to the 1970s.