West Side News

Continental interested in redeveloping Beulah

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A Columbus-based developer is in talks to buy Beulah Park.

Continental Real Estate Cos. is currently negotiating with Penn National Gaming to buy and redevelop the Beulah Park property, which will cease to be a racetrack in May.

Frank Kass, founder and chairman of Continental, said there's nothing else to report at this time.

"We are still negotiating a final contract with the seller," he said. "We're not really prepared to discuss anything that we may or may not have in mind there."

Continental has been involved with projects all over the country, including the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, the Gateway at Hilliard and the redevelopment of the Bexley City Hall site.

Grove City Administrator Chuck Boso said Continental's interest is a positive sign.

"We're excited someone's taking an interest in the property," he said. "(Continental is) a quality developer."

While Continental has not submitted anything official to the city, Boso said the city has provided the company with its conceptual framework, which residents also can check out at the city website, grovecityohio.gov.

"They're aware of what we'd like on the property," Boso said.

The framework, prepared by the administration in 2013 and endorsed by Grove City Council March 17, identifies five guidelines for future development at Beulah Park: integrating the site's historical significance, maintaining a community gathering space for events such as Blast at Beulah, connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and the Town Center, using quality design elements and ensuring a net fiscal benefit for the city.

The framework document also calls for a mix of uses to attract a variety of new businesses and residents. The document calls for single- and multifamily housing options that do not currently exist in the city, light industrial and small scale flex space for smaller businesses to expand, with an emphasis on technology-based businesses and civic space that could include facilities such as a community center and center of learning.

Large retail development is not recommended for Beulah by the framework because of proximity to existing retail in the Town Center and land in Columbus zoned for commercial use, while any office use is recommended to be smaller scale.

Beulah Park will hold its final thoroughbred horse races on Derby Day, May 3, and then close. Current owner Penn National Gaming is transferring the site's gaming license to Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley near Youngstown.

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