Nationwide Children's Hospital will receive a 20-percent tax abatement for new employees at its soon-to-be-expanded campus.

Nationwide Children's Hospital will receive a 20-percent tax abatement for new employees at its soon-to-be-expanded campus.

Westerville City Council approved the seven-year income tax offset Jan. 18 for an ambulatory surgery center that was approved by the Westerville Planning Commission last month. The building will be the third at what is now being called a campus for Nationwide Children's Hospital at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and County Line Road.

Nationwide Children's plans a fourth building on the site but has not yet presented plans to the city for that building.

If the hospital breaks ground on a fourth building before Dec. 31, 2016, the tax incentive agreement would be extended by another five years.

The ambulatory surgery center will create 80 new jobs in Westerville with payroll of $6-million, Westerville economic development administrator Jason Bechtold said.

With a fourth building on the site, that would increase the number of jobs to 140 with a $14 -million payroll, Bechtold said.

The full expansion would bring $1.95-million in additional tax revenue to the city over the 12-year period, he said, with the annual incentive to the company ranging between $5,000 and $40,000.

Bechtold said the city has been working with Nationwide Children's since last fall to help the hospital system expand its services in Westerville.

The ambulatory surgery center will offer new medical services to residents, with Nationwide Children's investment also helping to bolster the city's economy and tax base, Bechtold said.

"It was clearly evident that this service would be an attraction to any community," he said. "We're definitely excited with the proposal that we had and their commitment that they are moving forward with their over $20-million investment with this service."

The tax incentive agreement was approved by a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Craig Treneff casting the only no vote.

Treneff said while he supports tax incentive agreements in general, it did not make sense to approve an incentive agreement when Nationwide Children's already had firm plans to expand within the city.

Council chairman Mike Heyeck said the hospital's campus is an asset to Westerville.

"Nationwide Children's is another great institution, and we're proud to have you in our city," Heyeck said.

The ambulatory surgery center will be a two-story, 46,000-square-foot building at the northwest corner of County Line Road and Executive Campus Drive, just east of Alum Creek.

The building itself will sit at the corner of the two roads, with a parking lot extending west to a 50-foot buffer zone with Alum Creek.

The building will take on the same look as the two neighboring Nationwide Children's buildings, the sports medicine facility and the Close to Home center. It will be constructed of the same brick, with large glass windows and the same roofline.

The building also will have the large graphics with photos of Westerville children, similar to those that fill the windows of the other two buildings.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

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