The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Wednesday, Jan. 13, 1999


'50s-style diner planned

By Jennifer Hall
Herald Staff Writer

The buildings on West State Street in Sharon, next to Veterans Park, have been gone for about eight months.

And the city's Redevelopment Authority awaits the preliminary site plans from businessman James E. Winner Jr., who has committed to buy the property.

"It's probably going to happen within the next couple of months," said Community Development Director Joseph A. Caminiti.

Winner said Tuesday a '50s-style dinner and gift shop is in the works, which will create 30 to 40 jobs. At one time, Winner had said he would build retail space adjacent to The Winner, a women's clothing store, creating 20 jobs.

"I just think we need a few more spots downtown," said the chairman of Sharon-based Winner International Corp., which markets The Club line of anti-theft devices.

"I'm aiming everything toward tourism," he said, adding that the '50s theme would tie into his other ventures in the city including the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum.

The authority still owns the properties from 8 to 16 W. State St. The properties, which housed five businesses, were purchased for $131,250 in June 1997 with Community Development Block Grants.

The buildings were demolished last summer. In an agreement with the city, Winner was to buy the 4,940 square-foot parcel for $17,500 and construct a new building on the spot.

But months later nothing has happened.

"We're looking for the plan," Caminiti said. "But I don't expect anything to really happen until the spring."

City council and the authority have to approve any plans. At one time, it was rumored the land would remain a park, but the city would be forced to repay the grant money if the land is not developed.

"It's not going to be left as a park," Caminiti said. "If that's the plan, we will sell it to someone else."

Caminiti said the city is in no danger of having to repay the money because of time restraints. The authority is not getting impatient, he added.

"They inquire about it but they haven't put any pressure on," he said.

Winner said he expects everything to start moving in the spring. The diner construction will begin, along with sidewalks containing stars honoring members of the hall of fame, he said.

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Updated Jan. 13, 1999
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