Upper Arlington News

Riverside Drive and Bethel Road

Offices, apartments to follow annexation

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The 9.7 acres that landlocked Upper Arlington plans to annex from Perry Township next month will be the only commercially zoned land in the city that isn't already developed.

But not for long.

Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved the annexation May 13 so Westerville-based Preferred Living can develop a 260-unit apartment complex and 25,000-square-foot office building on the parcel near the southeast corner of Riverside Drive and Bethel Road.

The annexation will become effective June 12.

"It will bring in more living arrangements for young professionals, which was identified in the master plan as being one of the housing shortages we had in Upper Arlington," Upper Arlington City Councilwoman Debbie Johnson said. "We're also looking for ways to increase the income taxes we bring in, which the office (development) will do."

The annexation and council's acceptance of an incentive package for Preferred Living pave the way for both the apartment and office development.

According to Upper Arlington Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb, the city is extending an eight-year incentive in which Preferred Living will pay the city $7,000 annually until the office portion of the project is constructed. Those payments, Lamb said, will cover maintenance to Bethel Road, or give the city the option of purchasing the office parcel from the developer in the future.

Additionally, Preferred Living must annually provide at least $45,000 in property taxes from the residential portion of the development and $10,000 in income taxes from workers employed in the office.

"If these requirements are met, the developer will receive a 20-percent rebate on property tax that the city collects for the residential building and a 20-percent rebate of the property and income tax collected by the city for the office building," Lamb said.

He said the project will yield high-quality housing as well as new jobs in Upper Arlington.

"This project brings to Upper Arlington additional high-end residential rental properties and new office space," he said. "The city does not have many options for high-end rental properties.

"This product, along with the new development on Lane Avenue, will help attract young professionals to the city," Lamb said. "Further, this project brings new office space to the city. The new office space will generate a new source of revenue for the city."

Under the annexation agreement, Upper Arlington won't be obligated to extend water or sewer lines to the property at the city's cost. The city will be responsible for providing development, police, fire and emergency-medical services, but Johnson said Upper Arlington already is providing fire and EMS services to the area.

Also, due to prior agreements between the cities and school districts for Columbus and Dublin, children living in the proposed apartment complex could not attend Upper Arlington schools, but would be required to attend schools in Columbus or Dublin.

Likewise, Upper Arlington schools wouldn't receive any property taxes from the apartment or office developments.

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