The Bank Block in Grandview, which includes 1255-1203 Grandview Avenue, was built in 1928 by Don M. Casto. It was the first strip-center with off-street parking ever built.
It was called the Bank Block because its anchor tenant was the First Citizens Trust, later known as the Ohio National Bank. It was also referred to, at the time, as the “Grandview Community Shopping Center.” Other first tenants included Kroger (1928-1950), Piggly Wiggly (1928-1934), and the A&P Tea Company (1928-1938).
For the opening Grandview Avenue was widened and new streetlights were installed. The opening celebration included a parade, a street fair, children’s games and live music.
In 1932, Scott Knell purchased the property from Casto. After Knell’s death, it went into a trust, which was later turned over to the Cadiz Methodist Church. The block fell into disrepair. By 1976 only two retail stores remained, a hardware store and an office supply store. Much of the space was used as storage. Grandview officials discussed tearing the block down, as the owners were not willing to keep the property up.
Enter the Wagenbrenner brothers, Tom, Tad, and Mike. They saved the crumbling walls from the wrecker’s ball, in 1976. The brothers had the vision of restaurants and specialty stores, aided by a marketing study conducted by OSU. They found their anchor tenant in Hubert Seifert, who opened the Gourmet Market (today Seifert is owner of Spagio.) It took fifteen years for the block to get back to its original bustling identity.
In 1998, the Bank Block was accepted for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, for its 70th anniversary. The original plan for thirty shops and parking for four hundred cars was restored. Casto, of course, moved on to build his Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall, but the Bank Block preceded the opening of that by twenty years.