New Albany will grow by 134 acres as the result of recent development efforts by the New Albany Co.

New Albany will grow by 134 acres as the result of recent development efforts by the New Albany Co.

The Licking County commissioners on July 7 approved the annexation of five Jersey Township land parcels to New Albany.

Tim Bubb, president of the board of commissioners, said MBJ Holdings, an affiliate of New Albany Co., filed a petition for the expedited annexation with Licking County on June 30. New Albany City Council signed off an annexation ordinance June 22, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee.

The annexations are a small example of the ongoing development in the area that will continue into the next decade, Bubb said.

"This is all about economic development," he said.

Commissioner Duane Flowers said previous annexations resulted in small islands under Jersey Township jurisdiction in larger areas controlled by New Albany. Eliminating those islands, he said, creates consistency that would help businesses seeking development opportunities.

The annexed land north of state Route 161 will be part of New Albany International Business Park's Personal Care and Beauty Campus, according to New Albany Co. vice president Tom Rubey.

Because 82 percent of the city's general-fund revenue comes from income taxes, New Albany residents, regardless of whether they work at the business park, are positively impacted by the services the city can provide as a result of the park, McAfee said.

Although tenants for the newly annexed land haven't been identified, national and international companies are interested in the land and see the campus' previous growth as an example of success, Rubey said.

"That has really helped us," he said.

Rubey said the annexed land south of Route 161 would have a different character than the Personal Care and Beauty Campus, which is built around transportation, networking and logistics. The southern land has more trees, creeks and streams than the northern parcels do, he said, creating a natural topography.

Market health and the development of the Personal Care and Beauty Campus would be two factors that affect the development timeline for the southern portion of the annexed land, he said.

The New Albany Co. plans to introduce zoning to New Albany officials in September, Rubey said.

McAfee said the International Business Park, in which 14,000 people work, generated more than $28 million in income-tax revenue last year. That money benefited the cities of New Albany and Columbus, business-park infrastructure and the New Albany-Plain Local, Johnstown-Monroe and Licking Heights school districts.

Since the International Business Park was built in 1998, companies there have generated more than $100 million for the city, school districts and the business park's infrastructure fund, McAfee said. New Albany-Plain Local has received $59 million in business-park revenue since 1998, he said.

Since 2002, roughly 2,200 acres have been annexed from Licking County into New Albany, McAfee said. Part of the land in the most recent annexation will help connect the Personal Care and Beauty Campus to Mink Street, which will be linked via interchange with Route 161.

The Personal Care and Beauty Campus, in which the city made an estimated $6.5 million infrastructure investment, includes 3.4 million square feet of commercial space, 2,700 employees and $455 million in private investments, McAfee said. Of the 2,700 jobs, 2,100 of them were new to the state, he said.

The $8.6 million Mink-161 interchange project is expected to begin this fall and be finished a year later. The project will be managed by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

That interchange project, about a $5.5 million infrastructure investment for the city, will open up additional land for development, McAfee said.

McAfee said 2.2 mills in property-tax inside millage for the newly annexed land belongs to Licking County and would remain in place. Jersey Township has 1.3 mills and 1.7 mills will be dedicated to New Albany, which will assume road maintenance responsibility for the land.

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