Restaurant, retail coming to Mt. Comfort corridor

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HANCOCK COUNTY — The restaurateur behind a Mexican eatery in Greenfield plans to bring a second location to the Mt. Comfort Corridor, where it would anchor a retail center.

Alfredo Melendez, who owns Don Rigo Mexican Bar & Grill at 1336 N. State St. in Greenfield, filed plans with Hancock County for the new development at the northwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 300N. The proposed retail shopping center would be about 10,000 square feet, with 4,000 to 4,500 of that space for a second Don Rigo. The rest of the space would be leased to other businesses.

Melendez said in his statement of intent to the Hancock County Planning Department that the new Don Rigo would be a draw for diners due to the area’s ongoing expansion and lack of full-service restaurants.

“Offering a retail shopping center with a locally recognized restaurant as an anchor to this location would be in the best interest and in alignment with what the community needs,” Melendez said, adding the area’s proliferation of industrial properties begs the need for smaller retail businesses.

Camilo Colonia, a broker with Indianapolis-based Perez Realty Group who’s assisting Melendez, said at a Hancock County Plan Commission meeting late last month that the Greenfield Don Rigo isn’t going anywhere.

“The idea is to have a second location there with a small shopping center,” he said of the Mt. Comfort venture.

Melendez seeks to rezone the site of a little over two acres from an industrial designation to a commercial one. Doing so would eliminate the need for a buffer yard between the property’s commercially zoned neighbor to the north, reducing the setback from 35 to 15 feet and significantly expanding the business area.

“Also I believe that commercial zoning is more appropriate at this intersection of 300N and Mt. Comfort Road — an important corner along the corridor,” said Mike Dale, executive director of the plan commission.

The commission voted 6-0 to send the rezone request to the Hancock County Commissioners with a favorable recommendation.

It isn’t the only commercial retail development planned for the area. Dale said another is in the process of getting approvals across the street at the northeast corner of Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 300N.

Don Tharp, the owner of that property, is planning 8,000 to 9,000 square feet of retail space there. Tharp said he’s built many strip centers for various clients over the years. He added he bought the ground about eight years ago, and is motivated by a lack of existing retail in the area.

“I just thought it was the right place to be, and evidently it is, with Walmart building,” Tharp said, referring to the corporation’s 2.2-million-square-foot warehouse underway farther north. “The whole Mt. Comfort Corridor is experiencing a huge increase in activity and development, and there is a need for retail uses to support all of the distribution uses that are going in.”

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Proposed retail center

  • Northwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road, 300N
  • 10,000 square feet
  • Anchored by Don Rigo Mexican Bar & Grill (about 4,000 square feet)

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