The Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corp. voted unanimously last week to recommend the city offer Thomas & Marker Construction an incentive deal to redevelop property at 2011 Riverside Drive.

The Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corp. voted unanimously last week to recommend the city offer Thomas & Marker Construction an incentive deal to redevelop property at 2011 Riverside Drive.

The company initially sought $550,000 from the city's large business/grant program, but the CIC recommended financial support amounting to $275,000 over five years.

Bob Lamb, the city's director for community and economic development, said the project could potentially serve as a "catalyst to future development" along Riverside.

"I really view this as a chance to launch this corridor," he said.

Thomas & Marker, a commercial construction firm with offices in Bellefontaine and at the Riverside Drive location, purchased the 10,530-square-foot building in May, according to records from the Franklin County Auditor's Office.

"We wanted to get closer to Columbus," company president Randy Marker said. "When this property came up, it just seemed right. It just seemed like a great opportunity."

According to its website, Thomas & Marker has been involved with a number of local projects, including the new Bexley police facility, the Zoombezi Bay waterslide and Asia Quest at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium and Upper Arlington's fire station.

The company wants to renovate the Riverside Drive building, constructed in 1967, and add an additional 1,200 square feet of office space. In the process, the building would be upgraded from Class-C office space to Class-B.

The incentives, which must be approved by Upper Arlington City Council, call for Thomas & Marker to meet certain payroll and property tax levels for the first five years and must remain in the city for 10 years. In addition, a certificate of occupancy must be issued by a date to be agreed upon by the city and the company.

Franklin County Auditor's Office records list the current property value as $625,100.

According to a CIC staff report, based on five-year projections, the city would pay $55,000 annually for the deal while getting $69,462 in increased income and property tax revenue in return.

"The project is proposed to generate $677,829.51 over a 10-year period for the city," the report said.

Marker said the company plans to occupy about a quarter of the building and lease the rest.

Lamb said redevelopment will be an issue going forward for Upper Arlington because the city does not have the land for new economic development.

"We are going to have to be aggressive when it comes to redevelopment," he said.

The Thomas & Marker project requires site plan approval from the board of zoning and planning, and city council will have to approve the development agreement in order for it to proceed, he said. It's likely the project will be formally presented to both bodies in the fall, Lamb said.

He said the agreement would also be tied to performance measures based on payroll generated at the building.

In other news from the July 19 meeting, the CIC board also decided to increase its meeting schedule from monthly to twice a month, at least on a trial basis.

Meetings will now be held on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 4 p.m. starting in August.

"A large amount of current meetings are spent recapping past conversations and ideas instead of selecting new policies and goals" due to the amount of time between meetings, according to a CIC staff report. "Meeting twice per month will both shorten the meetings and increase the efficiency