Developers seek former Movie Gallery site

MARIETTA – Developers are ready to build a 2,900-square-foot restaurant and open an office rental business at the location of the former Movie Gallery near the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets intersection if Marietta officials will agree to vacate a portion of city right of way there.

“We’ve been working on a site plan with Mark Welch, consultant on the project for Charton Management Inc., and the plan will be complex. But we want to be sure their new building is sited properly so that it will not create problems for our upcoming improvements to the Seventh, Pike and Greene intersection,” city engineer Joe Tucker told members of city council’s streets and transportation committee Wednesday.

Earlier this year Grant Wharton and Matt Herridge with Charton Management announced plans to purchase the Movie Gallery property where they would open a restaurant and office rental business. Charton Management also operates the Burger King restaurant on Pike Street.

At that time their plans hinged on whether the city’s proposed pedestrian and traffic safety upgrade of the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets intersection would allow a much-debated left turn from Seventh onto Greene street, which Wharton and Herridge said would negatively impact customer access to the businesses they had planned.

In March the intersection upgrade plans were approved with the Seventh-to-Greene turn left intact, after which Wharton and Herridge said they would continue their development plans with a goal of bringing 52 jobs to Marietta and an investment of up to $4 million.

During Wednesday’s streets committee meeting Welch said plans for the development would leave the former Movie Gallery building on the property to be used for the office rental business, and a 2,900-square-foot restaurant would be constructed to the west of the existing structure, with a parking lot in between.

“But the new building has to be able to fit in that area or it can’t be built,” Welch said.

Tucker suggested the city vacate a portion of the right of way there to provide enough room for building the structure.

Welch said Charton wants to close on the purchase of the property by May 17, but the company first wants assurance from city council it will be possible to vacate the city right of way as Tucker has recommended.

“We want to work with these businesses, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t work something out,” said Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.

Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, said he, too, wants to see the business development and would be OK with vacating the right of way as long as it did not create problems for moving ahead with the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets intersection project.

The two other council members present, Harley Noland, D-at large, and committee chairman Denver Abicht, D-at large, also said they would not object to the proposed right of way vacation.

Tucker suggested Welch and the Charton Management owners return to the committee with their detailed plans for the project after the property purchase is completed this month.