By Maribeth Holtz, Chronicle-Tribune

mholtz@chronicle-tribune.com

The building that once housed the Grant County Family YMCA will hold six new businesses, the Marion City Council learned Tuesday.

Darren Reese, director of development for the city, said owner Michael An plans to invest into the building at 418 W. Third St., creating a dry cleaning business, men's clothing store, women's clothing store, spa, restaurant and a hotel/extended stay lodge.

There will be about $6 million in renovations to the building, and the businesses would employ between 80 and 90 people, he said.

"It would bring money and jobs from overseas, here," Reese said, adding that some of the jobs would come from South Korea, while other positions would be opened to the general community.

Reese said An also plans to acquire some adjoining properties for parking and more renovations, but the new businesses would likely just be housed in the former YMCA. Reese said the building is large, and its top floors were never developed.

"I'd anticipate we could see some activity there by the end of the year," Reese said.

An, of California, is a Korea native. In February he closed the deal on the old YMCA building sale, stating he had come to Grant County often because of acquaintances in the area. An said earlier this year that he was impressed by Grant County, its Christian atmosphere, the low cost of living and community leaders.

The development could also open up Marion to more international tourism, Reese said, because family members of Koreans would visit and spend money.

"I would see this as maybe a destination point for international travel and economic development," he said.

The Marion City Council on Tuesday approved a $2.5 million taxable economic development revenue bonds for the development group, Global Manufacturing Group Inc. Attorney Bruce Donaldson said the bonds are at no liability to the city; taxes the project generates pay down the bank loan for the development group.

City council member Steve Wright said the project is a great deal for the city. He said the old YMCA wasn't generating tax revenue, and the project will not only renovate a blighted area, but also bring in new jobs which would generate income tax revenue for the city.

Donaldson said the new jobs will mean between $1.2 and $2 million in annual payroll.

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