“The push to clean that area up down there makes it a prime time for the (Commerce Center),” the 36-year-old Newark resident said Saturday.
“There is great potential for me at the Commerce Center. That whole end of town will be a prime location for retail and maybe even some residential stuff.”
The sprawling building is located near a decaying six-story eyesore at 200 Fifth St. and and the adjoining 13-acre “concrete jungle,” both former Westinghouse properties.
Both properties were acquired in 2021 by the Richland County Land Bank, which is seeking state grants to demolish and remediate the potential brownfield sites.
Vetter has been part of the ownership group since the purchase of Mansfield Commerce Center from White Consolidated in 1990 as the former Westinghouse operations came to an end.
During Vetter’s tenure, MCC had an active dinner-theatre ballroom operation, ran a contract public warehouse and operated one of the largest storage facilities in the state.
“It’s time for some new blood,” Vetter said Saturday. “It’s time to get some new energy and excitement and take (the facility) to another level.
“Joe has some plans he will unveil to City Council, some exciting plans for the future.”
Curry said he is having 3-D architectural and marketing studies completed to determine best possible usages for the property.
“I’ve been in touch with the mayor and some council members, priming the pump with my intentions,” Curry said. “I want to wait until we have the full presentation ready (in mid-March).”
Curry said he and Vetter have invested about $500,000 into the building in the last year or so.
“It’s stuff no one will ever see … work on the roofs, cleaning up railways, adding truck bays for warehousing, heating.
“It gets the building primed for the future in terms of building it out,” Curry said.
“Everyone I have talked to in the city knows about the transition (of the former Westinghouse area). They are ready for something down there and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Curry has retained one of Vetter’s companies, Vetter Property Management, LLC, and its president, Scott W. Plieninger, to assist with the day-to-day management of the facility.
He said Plieninger has a great deal of history and institutional knowledge of the Commerce Center.
“It keeps a local contact and adds some new and unique players,” Vetter said.
“(The Land Bank work) is a nice catalyst for that whole area,” he said. “I have put Joe in contact with that group. I met with Joe and the mayor this week. He wants to see how he and the Westinghouse committee can play off each other.”