Hilliard officials made progress on two local projects April 8 at City Council's City Planning, Projects and Services Committee meeting.

Hilliard officials made progress on two local projects April 8 at City Council's City Planning, Projects and Services Committee meeting.

Committee members introduced legislation to rezone a 5.8-acre plot at Cemetery Road and Franklin Street, necessary for the advancement of the Landmark Lofts project, and introduced legislation related to the relocation of the McDonald's to Cemetery Road and Britton Parkway from its current site at Cemetery Road and Lyman Drive.

City Council members are expected to introduce the rezoning ordinance for Landmark Lofts at their April 22 council meeting.

The proposed ordinance would change the zoning from community shopping center and limited industrial uses to planned unit development.

City Planner John Talentino outlined the project approved last month by the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission.

Developer Buckeye KRG plans 181 one and two-bedroom apartments and retail businesses at the site.

As proposed, Landmark Lofts includes the construction of two four-story retail suites at the northeast and northwest corners of Cemetery Road and Franklin Street. First-floor businesses could include Starliner Diner, which must relocate as part of the project.

Three floors of apartments would be built above the retail centers and two additional four-story apartment buildings would be built north of the retail centers.

The inoperable grain elevator and silo on the site would be reconstructed and serve as a recreation center for the tenants, with some portions available for community use.

The $15- to $18-million project also includes construction of an aligned intersection of Cemetery Road with Franklin Street and Luxair Drive.

"The (residential) density is a little higher than what the comprehensive plan recommends," Talentino said.

However, the absence of three-bedroom apartments should mitigate the impact on the school district, he said, and provide the city with a demographic it covets: young adults without families who are likely to frequent businesses in the Old Hilliard district.

Talentino said the project will help achieve the "critical mass" necessary to create the vibrancy city officials seek for Old Hilliard with existing businesses and planned new attractions, including Hilliard Station Park.

Glen Dugger, an attorney representing developer Buckeye KRG, told committee members the project was "highly reflective of the community plan" for the parcel, and also said meetings with members of the Landmark Lofts Neighborhood Steering Committee "went well" and resulted in an improved plan.

Several members of the steering committee were present but did not address the City Council committee.

Dugger said engineering at the site is not complete but estimated some work could start in the late fall, adding that "you'll see some vertical things coming out of the ground" by the first quarter of next year.

McDonald's relocation plans

City Planning, Projects and Services Committee members also introduced legislation to make way for the relocation of McDonald's.

An ordinance rezoning both the current and future site of McDonald's from planned industrial park to planned unit development and an ordinance establishing a developer's agreement with Swordfish were forwarded to City Council and received a first reading at the April 8 meeting.

The developer's agreement outlines infrastructure improvements to be made in conjunction with the relocation including the construction of an east-to-west connector between Britton Parkway and Lyman Drive, just north of Cemetery Road.

City Council members also discussed possible modifications to the planned unit development designation that would apply to the existing McDonald's site. The modifications, if agreed to by the land owner, could restrict some uses.

A hotel is among preferred uses city officials have suggested for the site.

Lastly, Economic Development Director David Meeks proposed an ordinance establishing a TIF for the new and former site of the McDonald's.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Department of Development. A TIF works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation was approved, thus diverting the incremental revenue to the designated uses.

The proposed TIF would begin as a 10-year, 75-percent on the increase in assessed evaluation of six parcels contained in the TIF.

After 10 years, the TIF would convert to a non-school TIF for 20 years, concluding the allowable 30-year maximum term for a TIF.

Meeks said he expects the TIF will generate enough revenue in the first 10 years to reimburse the developer an estimated $815,000 for infrastructure improvements. He said he expects the TIF will generate about $970,000 in its 30-year term.