Project's plan looks bad for Shorty's Lunch

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As far as Washington Mayor Kenneth Westcott is concerned, Shorty's Lunch, the West Chestnut Street restaurant famous for its hot dogs, will stay where it is.

But owners John and Steve Alexas are upset that a parking garage and street are shown to replace their building in plans for the proposed $61,650,000 Crossroads Project.

"Our location is pretty much like our niche," Steve Alexas said.

At a public hearing Monday to discuss a tax-increment financing plan for the downtown area, the Alexas brothers spoke out about a plan that may affect their business, family and lives. Their family has owned Shorty's for 80 years, John said, but never received a tax break.

"I think we're acting on something we really don't know a lot about," he said.

The county Redevelopment Authority will borrow as much as $6.1 million, depending on commitments from developers. The city will vote on the TIF next month. The county and Washington School District have approved the plan.

A total of $726,854 in new annual tax revenue will be generated. Eighty percent, or $581,983, will be repaid during a 15-year period. Taxing bodies will share 20 percent, which equals $145,371, annually in new property tax revenue.

The Crossroads Project area is bordered by North Franklin, West Chestnut, North Main and West Beau streets. Millcraft Industries is the primary developer.

The proposed Phase I plan includes a 140,000-square-foot office building, a 1,215-space public parking garage, a new facade on an existing building with two floors added for loft apartments, an amphitheater, a 340-space public parking garage and a 97,000-square-foot retail building. The latter two would be at Main and Chestnut streets.

The Alexas brothers, are concerned they may have to relocate and then the businesses in the Crossroads Projects may leave the city later to look for tax breaks elsewhere.

"I just want to make an honest living, not make a quick killing and end up leaving when this business goes in 15 years," Steve Alexas said.

Crystal Ola is a freelance writer.


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