The Gahanna development and finance departments and GGC Engineers shared with the finance committee Monday night their final report on the Creekside project.

The Gahanna development and finance departments and GGC Engineers shared with the finance committee Monday night their final report on the Creekside project.

"The pictures say it all," development director Sadicka White said. "We wanted a brand-new heart for Olde Gahanna."

White said the purpose of the project was to create a destination point, enhance economic development, create a sense of place and bring the east and west sides together.

Creekside presented a lot of challenges, she said, including unused resources and undesirable business. The city had to acquire $3.5-million in land for the project.

The next step was to issue a request for proposals. Developers submitted proposals. The process was guided by the Community Improvement Corporation and approved by the city.

"We wanted it to be flexible and market-based," White said.

Another goal was to maximize the Big Walnut Creek as a water resource. White said the city wanted visitors to be able to view the creek. The city also wanted to expand and enhance Creekside Park.

The development had to support the city and promote economic-development opportunities, fuel other investment and include parking to serve all of Olde Gahanna, she said.

As part of the process, several agreements were crafted, including a developers agreement, lease agreements for buildings B and C and an infrastructure agreement for public parking, the canal extension and the public plaza.

White said building A would be owned by the developer. The city would own the land under buildings B and C, with a 99-year lease rate of $2 per year per square foot of space.

The city footed 26 percent (about $4.35-million) of the total project cost of $16,741,889. The city's portion of the project included operations, oversight, testing and utilities, White said. In year 15, the project should generate $416,000 in tax-increment-finance payments, $116,800 from parking garage revenues and $169,800 from lease payments, White said.

Since the project opened six months ago, Creekside has spawned redevelopment, with more than 35 new businesses surrounding it.

The project created 500 construction positions and 200 permanent full-time jobs. White said 21 of the 71 condominiums are sold and Creekside is 82-percent occupied. Space remains for a restaurant tenant in building B.

Brian Winkler, GGC project manager, said all utilities lines were buried, including electricity, phone and fiber lines. Water and sanitary-sewer systems constructed in 1939 were replaced.

GGC worked weekly with city engineers, he said.

Parks and recreation director Tony Collins offered a lot of input on design and aesthetics. More than 25 public meetings were held.

Winkler mentioned the improvements Stonehenge had made to the project at no cost to taxpayers. A slurry wall was constructed around the entire perimeter to keep flooding at bay. A limestone wall was added to separate the upper and lower plazas.

"Public restrooms were upgraded to have beautiful finishes," Winkler said.

Deputy finance director Angel Mumma also gave an update. She said initial construction costs were estimated $10.5-million.

Additions such as sidewalk, utilities and operational costs brought the project total to $16,741,889.

"This was a fixed-price contract," Mumma said. "We could not spend more than what was allocated."

The project was funded through a $14,050,000 bond, $2,106,889 in supplemental appropriations and $585,000 from bond interest.

Mumma mentioned several projects occurred outside the scope of the project, including extending sidewalk improvements to Mill Street, burying utilities and replacing antiquated sanitary and sewer systems.

The thinking was, "Let's do it right the first time and not come back in five to 10 years to do it again," she said. "Take advantage of the area as it's tore up."

Council member Tom Kneeland said people will be interested in seeing a timeline of the project and how the project was managed. He said the city should stress the parts that weren't considered part of the Creekside development.

"It was all paid for in that time period," he said. "It was going to have to be done anyway."