Hilliard Northwest News

Meeks: 2014 will be 'good development year'

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt, left, and Economic Development Director David Meeks say much of the Gateway at Hilliard development under construction near the intersection of Cemetery Road and Britton Parkway should be finished this year.
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Hilliard officials say the city's many commercial developments planned in 2014 will be a boon for years to come.

"It will be a good development year for the city," said David Meeks, Hilliard's economic-development director.

Among the most significant developments expected to begin construction in 2014 is Landmark Lofts, a mixed-use commercial and residential development at the corner of Cemetery Road and Franklin Street.

"We think one of the buildings will be done by the end of the year," Meeks said.

Landmark Lofts will have four buildings, three of which will have four floors. The fourth building, and the one nearest to the back of lots on Norwich Street, directly east, will be three stories.

All four buildings will have apartments on the upper floors and retail stores and restaurants on the ground floors.

In addition, the Heritage Trail will be extended from its current terminus at Columbia Street. It will cross the Cemetery Road rail overpass and connect to the Hilliard Municipal Building property.

The extension will connect Landmark Lofts and the Old Hilliard business district.

"The Rails to Trails extension should be finished this summer," Mayor Don Schonhardt said.

When completed after 2014, Landmark Lofts will include 171 apartments and more than 17,000 square feet of commercial development.

The inoperable grain elevator on the site will be converted into a 7,000-square-foot community center with amenities for residents and limited public uses.

Gateway

construction

Construction will continue this year at the Gateway at Hilliard, the city's other major development, at the northwest corner of Cemetery Road and Britton Parkway.

OhioHealth opened an urgent-care center at the site in December.

The remainder of the 45,000-square-foot medical office building is expected to fill by the end of the first quarter in 2014, Meeks said.

A second 45,000-square-foot medical office building is expected to be under roof by the end of October, Meeks said.

The development's 84,000-square-foot Giant Eagle is expected to open in June.

The Gateway development also includes about 450 apartments, some of which are expected to begin leasing by the end of the second quarter, Meeks said.

The Gateway at Hilliard will include other commercial developments, such as restaurants, but no specific other businesses had been identified by the closing days of 2013, Meeks said.

Other

developments

The future of Hickory Chase, a luxury senior-citizen housing campus off Britton Parkway that Erickson Communities halted construction on in 2009, also is likely to be decided in 2014.

The city was reduced to the role of bystander as multiple lenders with conflicting interests meted out the foreclosure and liquidation of the land and the infrastructure.

In August 2013, Columbus-based Windsor Communities invested about $26 million to purchase the 87-acre site after reaching a settlement with multiple bondholders in the failed development.

Windsor Communities has not announced plans for the site, but, Meeks said he expects activity in 2014.

He said he expects the developer to seek alternative uses, most likely some retail uses, for parts of the 87-acre parcel.

City officials also expect the local workforce to expand in 2014, largely because 1,500 employees of Verizon Wireless will migrate in stages from their former office in Dublin to the Verizon Wireless office on Britton Parkway.

Construction to accommodate the additional employees, including a larger parking lot, is under way on the east side of Britton Parkway.

The 1,500 employees will increase Hilliard's annual income-tax collections by about $1.3 million, Meeks said.

On the other side of town, Bo Jackson's Elite Sports is expected to break ground early this year and expected to open by the end of October in Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park.

The $5.5 million, 114,000-square-foot sports complex will be the second in the United States, following a first site in suburban Chicago.

City officials seek to increase recreational opportunities in the city and attract premier sporting attractions.

"We are cooperating with numerous other organizations, including youth sporting clubs and Hilliard schools, to bring premier tournaments to our city," Schonhardt said.

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