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The architectural landscape of downtown Yellow Springs will soon be a bit more modern.
On Monday, Dec. 12, Yellow Springs Planning Commission members unanimously approved a plan for the demolition of the commercial and residential building at 221 Xenia Ave. — which formerly housed the independently owned retailer Earth Rose International Imports — and the construction of a new, more modern-looking structure there.
Property owner Iron Table Holdings, LLC, a development company owned by local resident and comedian Dave Chappelle, brought the proposal to Planning Commission.
Similar to the existing structure, the new two-story building will have a residential dwelling unit upstairs with commercial space on the ground floor. The new structure, however, will be constructed with a layout to accommodate two retailers — one facing Xenia Avenue, and the other facing Kieth’s Alley behind the building.
The decision to demolish and build new, rather than restore the existing building, was made because of how significantly derelict the structure had become in recent years, Iron Table Holdings architect Max Crome explained at the commission’s meeting.
“I have a long history of saving old buildings,” Crome said. “I took a careful look at this building to see if it could be salvaged, but this is the very first building in my 30 years of architecture where I thought a property was beyond repair.”
Citing an undermined foundation, extensive termite and water damage, rotting joists and profuse asbestos, Crome said the structure — which he believes is nearly 100 years old — must be demolished if any new retailer were to succeed Earth Rose.
The building at 221 Xenia Ave. has been vacant since Earth Rose’s proprietor Ed Oxley died in February 2021. Oxley ran his business for over 50 years. According to county records, Iron Table Holdings purchased the property for $400,000 in July 2021.
The architectural design of the proposed new structure differs significantly from its current rustic look. Encased by thick concrete exterior walls, the Xenia Avenue-facing storefront would bevel inwards to large glass panes at the business entrance. A canopy protruding toward the sidewalk would visually separate the retail space from the two-bedroom apartment above.
Crome called this aesthetic “mid-century modern.”