Hilliard officials say construction of a 51,600-square-foot church on the south side of Anson Drive west of Britton Parkway could be a catalyst for future development along the Britton Parkway corridor.

Hilliard officials say construction of a 51,600-square-foot church on the south side of Anson Drive west of Britton Parkway could be a catalyst for future development along the Britton Parkway corridor.

Rock City Church members plan to build on 14 acres -- the entirety of the Anson Drive frontage between Britton Parkway and Leap Road. The address is 4202 Anson Drive, according to city officials.

"We will begin to see a lot of things in the works now that the Hickory Chase question is answered," economic-development director David Meeks said Dec. 21, referring to the effort to transform a luxury, assisted-living community whose owners filed for bankruptcy in 2009 into a mixed-use development on the south side of Davidson Road, between Leap Road and Britton Parkway.

Approval of the construction for Rock City Church represents the first development along Anson Drive from Britton Parkway west to Leap Road, Meeks said.

"We expect to see a lot more activity (in 2016)," he said.

He said expected uses will include hospitality and hotels, specialized retail and medical offices.

Chad Fisher, the founding pastor of Rock City Church, said the Hilliard building would be the church's second permanent campus since it was founded in 2011, and it likely will become a base of operations for the church.

"We looked and planned and prayed about it," said Fisher, 34, about choosing Hilliard.

Fisher said he and his wife, Katie, left a nondenominational church near Toledo to establish Rock City Church in central Ohio.

"My wife and I felt a call from God to start something new ... and we were led to Columbus, a vibrant and growing city," Fisher said.

Rock City Church strives to "reach the 'unchurched' and to awaken spiritually restless people," he said.

Fisher qualifies the unchurched not as those who are wayward, but those who lead moral lives but simply have not attended church in the recent past.

In 2011, the church had about 40 parishioners, Fisher said.

Today, about 3,000 people attend worship services at three locations: the AMC Lennox Town Center 24 theater complex, Regal Cinemas on Georgesville Road and the church's only other permanent structure at Fifth Avenue and North High Street in the Short North.

Early next year, parishioners will begin meeting at Upper Arlington High School instead of the Regal Cinemas, Fisher said.

Each location hosts its own activities during worship, but Fisher's sermon is broadcast via streaming video from the Lennox Town Center to the other two locations, Fisher said.

The Hilliard campus will serve as the new broadcasting center, streaming the weekly sermons to campuses not only in central Ohio, but throughout the United States as the church grows, Fisher said.

He said he chose Hilliard as the new location because a significant number of parishioners are from the Northwest quadrant of the Columbus area, including Hilliard, Dublin and Upper Arlington.

Fisher said beginning in January 2015, church members committed $5.3 over a three-year period to help build the Hilliard campus.

The church has until the end of February to close on the land deal, Fisher said. Some of the capital also has been used for improvements at the Short North church that opened in October.

Fisher said the church has sufficient financing to break ground in 2017 in Hilliard but will do so sooner if additional contributions allow for it.

Fisher said the campus will include a state-of-the-art audio-visual system in its sanctuary, which is designed to seat more than 1,200 people.

"We will be a seven-day-a-week church," Fisher said.

He said the church will strive to integrate itself in the community, making the facility available for community uses.

"It will add another level" to Hilliard's available conference centers, Meeks said.