Delaware News

Delaware leaders give nod to 340 new apartments

Another planned development gets third extension from council

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Delaware city officials have approved plans for one new apartment development and have blessed an extension for another long-delayed development project.

At their Feb. 11 meeting, Delaware City Council members approved a plan with developer Redwood Acquisitions LLC for the construction of 340 single-story apartment units on 56 acres on the south side of Mill Run Crossing between the City Wetland Park and Glenn Road.

It also voted to extend a plan with developer Romanelli and Hughes for the Terra Alta development, a project to build 316 single-family homes and 167 condominium units on a 245-acre site on Pollock Road between Berlin Station Road and the Olentangy River. It originally was approved in 2008 but delayed due to the recession.

Attorney Steve Martin represents Redwood Acquisitions. He said his client's new development will be a high-end private community with an average rent of about $1,100.

"It's definitely going to be the top of the market for the city of Delaware, especially for a two-bedroom, two-bath and den type of unit," Martin said. "The draw will be for a lot of empty-nesters transitioning away from a central-family home that they have to maintain."

He added the ranch-style units will include two-car attached garages.

City Planning Director Dave Efland said the boundaries of the Redwood development are defined by several geographic features, including the City Wetland Park to the west and the railroad tracks to the south; a drainage channel, Moody Ditch, bisects the property.

"The applicant did an outstanding job designing a piece of land that isn't a square or rectangle and is bisected by a piece of water," Efland said. "It's a rather large and complicated development, even by our standards."

The development will include several landscaped green open spaces that will be connected via private pedestrian paths to the public bike path network along Mill Run Crossing and the City Wetland Park.

In total, it will include 67 apartment buildings with three to six units each.

Council approved the development plan 7-0 and voted to forgo second and third readings in order to speed up the process. Construction is slated to begin this year.

Also at the Feb. 11 meeting, council voted to extend a construction timeline for the Terra Alta development for the third time.

Originally approved in 2008, it was delayed when Delaware's housing market hit bottom after the financial crash that year. In 2010, council extended a preliminary development plan through November 2011, then extended it again through the end of 2012.

"The housing downturn has led to a number of extensions and to some extent, that's understandable, particularly for one that hasn't begun," Efland said. "It's taking some more time."

He said the developer intends to get started this year. now that the housing market is picking up.

"This is embarrassing for us. We don't like to have to ask for these extensions," said attorney David Fisher, who represents the developer, Romanelli and Hughes.

"We think we are on the cusp of beginning development."

Martin said the developer has shown commitment to the project by investing in the undeveloped property and maintaining it since before 2008.

Council voted 7-0 to extend the development agreement through Dec. 31, 2014.

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