The city of Fairborn has reached a preliminary agreement to sell its historic Firehouse #1 to an independently owned coffee company, which has plans to open a drive-through and retail coffee shop there.
The deal is not yet complete, but both Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson and Bill Miller Jr., founder and CEO of Grind House Coffee and Tea Co., confirmed to this news outlet that both sides have agreed to the broad terms of a deal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Inside Fairborn’s old Fire Station #1
“We have an agreement, but still need to finalize a few details,” Anderson said. “We are having our attorneys develop the formal agreement, but we are very excited to be working with Bill Miller and Grind House Coffee to locate in the old firehouse.”
The final deal could come in about a month, the city manager said.
Miller said the old firehouse at 29 N. Broad St. will serve as the headquarters for Grind House Coffee & Tea Company, which will open its first bricks-and-mortar retail operation inside the Huber Heights Meijer store later this year after serving online customers for more than two years.
“On the first floor, there will be a drive-through for customers on one side, and a coffee shop on the other side,” Miller said. “Upstairs there will be offices and storage.” He may even bring back the fire pole, the coffee company founder said.
RELATED: Grind House Coffee and Tea to launch chain of bricks-and-mortar shops (June 2017)
Miller estimated the project would take a full two years to complete.
Additional Grind House retail coffee shops are in the works in local Meijer stores after the opening of the Huber Heights location, Miller has said. The Grind House founder said he also is looking to open free-standing stores as the brand expands through the Dayton-Cincinnati region.
Miller, who grew up in Dayton and who now lives in Franklin, founded Grind House Coffee & Tea in November 2015 as an online retailer. The company’s roasting and packing facility is located in Fairfield.
Hairless Hare Brewery in Vandalia had announced plans to open a second location in a historic former Fairborn fire station, but pulled out of the deal just before Christmas, citing high costs.
EARLIER COVERAGE: Local brewery targets historic Fairborn firehouse for 2nd location
Fairborn officials have taken several steps to revitalize the Broad Street area of downtown, and they’ve tried for several years to come up with a viable re-use for the historic firehouse.
The structure has a long, rich history. It was built as a schoolhouse in 1884 in what was then the village of Fairfield, replacing three smaller schools in adjoining Bath Twp. It later served as a city hall and fire station for Fairfield, and after Fairfield merged with Osborn to become Fairborn in 1950, the building was dedicated as a firehouse and was renamed Fairborn Fire Station #1.
The fire station was shut down in 2007 when the new Fairborn Fire Department Station #1 was completed four blocks away.