The vacant 17 acres, which has been tied up in bankruptcy and foreclosure for years, was sold Tuesday at a sheriff's auction.
Old National Bank of Evansville, IN was the sole bidder, paying the minimum price of $3,333,334 for the land.
"Old National Bank will be the owner, but WXZ will be the preferred developer," Strongsville Economic Development Director Brent Painter said. "They've been in partnership."
WXZ will take over the long-in-coming development at Pearl and Whitney roads, picking up where the Toledo-based Timberstone development group left off when it ran into financial obstacles and bowed out in 2009.
The formal sale will give the bank and Fairview Park-based WXZ control of the land.
Painter said WXZ is expected to get started on the rezoning process as soon as possible.
The land is currently zoned general business and would have to be rezoned to restaurant-recreational for O'Charley's and to motorist services for Sheetz.
"It sounds like they're really ready to go forward," Painter said.
So far, two businesses have been proposed for the property.
The Nashville, TN-based O'Charley's is seeking to construct a 6,400-square-foot eatery that would seat about 200 on the other side of the access road from .
If things go smoothly, the company could break ground in the summer and open four months later, architect Kim Phillips said.
Sheetz would closer to the corner of Whitney and Pearl.
About two dozen residents at a meeting in January welcomed O'Charley's, which would include a patio and an extensive menu. They were less enthusiastic about Sheetz, with some saying the station would put the nearby out of business.
"We should start seeing some activity in the area soon," Painter said. "The sale today was a step toward development there."
In 2005, residents were promised a major retail project, to be called Renaissance Park, that would include a grocery store and a mix of other retail and restaurants by original developer David Lewanski, who said he had commitments from Lowe's, Bed Bath & Beyond and Circuit City to locate there.
Lowe's and have been constructed so far. Circuit City is out of business, and built a store at the Plaza at SouthPark.
When Lewanski left, Timberstone proposed a multi-phased project that would include smaller retail stores, restaurants and office space.
Timberstone's other Strongsville project, a Kindercare on an outlot at , was .