American Electric Power has had a presence on West Goodale Boulevard for more than 100 years.
It will continue to operate on the boulevard after the Grandview Heights Planning Commission's approval last month of the utility's plan to redevelop and upgrade its site at 1333 W. Goodale Blvd.
AEP plans to demolish the current building and construct a new 33,000-square-foot office and service building.
The meter laboratory and underground line group operations currently housed in a building on West Broad Street -- described as "decrepit" by AEP officials -- will be moved to the Goodale site.
Five employees now work at the site, which is used for the parking of maintenance vehicles.
"It's come to a point where what we do there is much less than what the facility is designed for," said David Rinaldi, an architect at AEP.
"We saw the opportunity to combine the two operations here in Grandview," he said.
The existing 21,000-square-foot building on Goodale will be razed, Rinaldi said.
More than two-thirds of the new facility will be used as warehouse space and for truck parking, he said.
The project will be built right up to the right of way as the city prefers, Rinaldi said.
The new building will fit in more with the changing nature of Goodale Boulevard, Director of Administration and Economic Development Patrik Bowman said.
The city asked AEP to "look up and down the boulevard" for inspiration to design a more-appropriate building for the area, he said.
"They came up with a nice blend that all in all is an attractive structure for the type of building it is," Bowman said.
While there still are some site-plan issues that must be addressed, city staff asked for approval of the building because of some time constraints facing AEP, he said.
AEP will make about $4.8 million in improvements to the site, Bowman said.
City Council is considering legislation to grant AEP a 15-year, 50 percent tax abatement for improvements to the property.
The proposed agreement states the utility expects to move 52 new full-time employees to the site, increasing the annual payroll from $386,029 to about $3.5 million.
The project "gives the city value and the school district some value as well," Bowman said. "It's a good addition to Goodale."
Council has held its first reading of the legislation and is expected to vote on the ordinance after its third reading.
The commission approved AEP's application with the understanding that a full site-plan review will have to be approved at a later date.