Grandview Heights City Council is considering legislation to create a new Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) district for the Grandview Yard project area.

Grandview Heights City Council is considering legislation to create a new Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) district for the Grandview Yard project area.

The ordinance would create the new CRA as a separate entity from the existing Grandview Heights CRA that the city created in 1998.

The new CRA district would consist of the parcels in the Grandview Yard TIF (Tax Increment Financing) area, which includes all of the commercial industrial property between Goodale and Third.

The city's CRA program was amended last November to incorporate the specific tax incentives that were part of the development agreement reached with Nationwide Realty Investors, the developer of the Yard.

The creation of a new CRA for the Yard area was recommended by the Ohio Department of Development, Director of administration/Economic development Patrik Bowman told council.

Although the ODOD did not object to the provisions of the agreement or any of the tax exemptions it offers, it did have concerns about how the legislation adopted last fall was put together, he said.

The ODOD ruled that the 2009 amendment in effect created a subset out of the CRA district that was established in 1998 and suggested the city should make it official by creating a separate CRA district.

The department noted to the city that all tax exemptions offered within a CRA district must be made available to all property owners in the district, Bowman said.

Once the new ordinance is adopted, only properties within the new Grandview Yard district will be offered the tax incentives included in the NRI development agreement.

The smaller original district will continue to offer the exemption opportunities included in the original 1998 legislation.

Council is also considering a second ordinance that amends the CRA agreement between NRI and the city only to reference the new Grandview Yard district.

Both ordinances were given a first reading at the June 21 council meeting and were assigned to council's economic development committee.

In other business at the meeting, council also held first reading of an ordinance to accept the final plats for phase 1A and 1B of Grandview Yard.

The planning commission voted last December to recommend that city council approve the final plats.

The original timetable was for council to wait to vote on the plats until the public improvements for phases 1a and 1b were completed.

The phase 1 improvements, including the widening of Goodale Boulevard, construction of Yard Street (the main street of the development) and Bobcat Avenue and associated utility work, are proceeding, Bowman told council.

Other improvements include the creation of a small passive park and construction of a parking deck.

"There is an urgency" for the plats to be approved because "the buildings are being built so fast, they need water," he said.

The Columbus Water Department has indicated it would prefer the plats be approved before it gives its final approval of water service for the site, Bowman said.

The first phase of the Yard includes a mixed-use office/retail/restaurant building, a five-story Hyatt hotel and an Urban Active Fitness Center.

The construction of the three buildings, the parking deck and the public improvements are being done at the same time and are expected to be completed in September.