New Albany News

City exempts health facility from competitive bidding

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New Albany City Council on Sept. 18 waived a competitive-bidding requirement for the Daimler Group to develop a 48,000-square-foot health facility at the southwest corner of Village Hall Road and Main Street.

Council members also approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Joseph Stefanov to sign an agreement with Daimler on a design-build contract for the building, which would include an outpatient-services center for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and a community wellness center managed by Integrated Wellness Partners.

Per the terms of the contract, Daimler would work with local contractors to obtain the best prices for construction and award the bids, said City Attorney Mitch Banchefsky.

Councilman Sloan Spalding said waiving the competitive-bidding requirement is not preferable unless it's in the best interest of the city.

Stefanov said the city is familiar with Daimler's work since the company has been involved in other local projects.

City Council also heard first reading of an ordinance to waive competitive bidding requirements for the sale of the property on which the city hopes to build the medical center. The legislation states, "The statutory requirement to sell or lease property to the highest bidder may frustrate the city's goals and objectives where selling or leasing property to a particular person or entity as part of a larger economic development project may be much more beneficial to the city and its citizens than selling or leasing property to the highest and best bidder."

Banchefsky said the city needs the flexibility to partner with the landowner, the New Albany Co., on the sale so the land isn't sold to someone who won't partner with the city on the project.

Bill Ebbing, president of the New Albany Co., said last week that the company will donate the land to the city for the project.

"Other than donating the land for the facility and adjacent parking, it's a city project," Ebbing said.

The second reading and potential passage of the ordinance is scheduled for council's Oct. 2 meeting.

The estimated cost of the facility is $9 million. If New Albany City Council were to issue bonds for construction of the facility, lease revenues from Ohio State and the village center tax-increment financing (TIF) district would help pay off the debt, Stefanov said previously.

The city has not yet issued bonds for the project.

Ohio State would lease 35,000 square feet of the facility for clinical outpatient services, physician offices and rehabilitation services. Integrated Wellness Partners would manage a fitness facility within that space.

The rest of the building -- 13,000 square feet -- would include two community rooms: One for teens and the other with a kitchen that could be used for cooking demonstrations or other health-related programming through Healthy New Albany, a local nonprofit organization.

Ebbing said the New Albany Co. already has committed to work with Daimler on a two-story building at the northeast corner of Market and Main streets. It would include 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurants and 10,000 square feet of medical space.

"We hope to announce the some tenants in the next 30 days," he said.

Ebbing said if the venture is successful, a third building could be built between the first two.

"There's room there for another 40,000-square-foot building," he said.

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