The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 9, 2013

Geneva’s wine and culinary center gets new zoning, starter project

GENEVA — The Pairings Wine and Culinary Experience took a leap forward on Monday as the Geneva Planning Commiss-ion approved the re-zoning of the former Geneva Elem-entary land on South Eagle Street.

The approval, which changes the zoning from residential to central business, “is the first big step forward for Pairings,” Geneva Fire Chief and zoning official Doug Starkey said.

Pairings, the proposed 38,000-square-foot non-profit business incubator, will include restaurant and banquet facilities, cooking classes, wine making demonstrations, incubator facilities for start-up wineries, educational culinary demonstrations, office space and a gift shop.

The city purchased the property on South Eagle Street from the Geneva Area City Schools for the Pairings facility, and should break ground late this year.

“The city owns the property at Eagle and Park streets,” Starkey said, “and changing the zoning to central business district makes sense. No matter what, this rezoning is the right answer for that area.”

The rezoning comes on the heels of a proposed side project for the property called “Windows on Pairings.” This smaller scale facility can be opened and operational in 2013.

“The idea is to re-purpose the quaint, pastoral barn located on the back of the property,” Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown said. “The location is ideal to observe the construction of Pairings.”

The smaller project allows Pairings to develop as a brand, gauge sales, build foot traffic and perfect the concierge, special event offerings and educational and cooking classes, Brown said.

“It will serve as a launching pad for wine tourism that will offer key elements of the larger Parings vision,” she said. “Allowing us to establish historical financial data, document class attendance, evaluate concierge services, analyze use data and accurately predict retail revenue on a smaller scale.”

Brown said Windows on Pairings will include hiring of five staff members as the Pairings committee pursues funding for future phases of the project.

The artist’s renderings of the proposed Parings wine and culinary center are available for viewing online.

For more information on Pairings, or to view the artist’s renderings of the proposed facility, visit www.pairingsohio.com.

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