About 550 new townhouse apartments are coming to Powell by 2014.

About 550 new townhouse apartments are coming to Powell by 2014.

At its Aug. 21 meeting, Powell City Council approved a development agreement with Lifestyle Real Estate Holdings Ltd. for the construction of an upscale apartment complex in the large, vacant lot behind the Urban Active fitness center, on the south side of Seldom Seen Road just east of Sawmill Parkway.

The plan also calls for Powell to annex the unincorporated lot, which includes 37 acres of Liberty Township land.

The final development plan is in progress, but the complex is expected to incorporate public retail outlets along Seldom Seen Road and a restaurant positioned on Sawmill Parkway.

Council voted 6-0 to approve the initial development agreement as emergency legislation, without a second hearing, to meet deadlines to establish a pre-annexation agreement. Councilwoman Sara Marie Brenner was absent from the meeting.

Representatives of Lifestyle Real Estate said the vote will allow them to meet terms set by the current owner of the property, Sawmill Seldom Seen LLC.

"I'm excited about (the development)," said Councilman Brian Lorenz. "It provides the city with another housing option and it possibly will attract another demographic, which we desperately need to capture more income-tax money to bolster our ability to come up with ways to fund capital improvements."

The apartment complex will draw income tax from new residents, and it also falls into the Sawmill Parkway tax-increment financing district. TIFs direct increased property tax income from developments to fund infrastructure improvements within the TIF district.

City Manager Steve Lutz said the final development plan could be finished by fall, and construction could start by spring.

The apartments probably will be finished in three to four phases, with the first round opening in fall 2013 and the remainder sometime in 2014.

The two-story rental units will sport an "upscale colonial theme," Lutz said.

Lifestyle CEO Michael DeAscentis said the apartments likely will attract 24- to 34-year-old single young professionals, and possibly many who grew up in Powell. Rent will average $700 to $1,200.

He said green spaces and commercial outlets connected to the complex will encourage residents to leave their homes and meet one another. A fully public restaurant will serve as the community's "clubhouse" and feature outdoor seating and live entertainment during the warmer months.

"There will be a reason to spend time here, to walk around, swing through town and be a part of the activity," DeAscentis said.

Traffic improvements, including extra turn lanes and signals, may be installed to accommodate increased traffic volume in the area.

A bike path will run through the complex. A tunnel will be constructed under Seldom Seen Road to extend the path north of the roadway, to a planned park site.

The property originally was zoned in Liberty Township to include a "big-box" retail store and other outlets before Lifestyle Real Estate approached the property owner with its proposal.

Some residents of nearby neighborhoods voiced concerns during the Aug. 21 meeting, including concerns over noise levels and potentially intrusive new lighting.

Council members said those concerns will be addressed in consideration of the development plan, and a lawyer representing Lifestyle Real Estate said talks with neighboring communities have been congenial.