This year has been an exciting year for our community, making big strides in economic development while bridging the gap between the city and the chamber in efforts to improve the quality of life in Upper Arlington.

This year has been an exciting year for our community, making big strides in economic development while bridging the gap between the city and the chamber in efforts to improve the quality of life in Upper Arlington.

Economic development has been a priority within the city. Since 1999, the city has created an aggressive economic development program; the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) has enhanced efforts to attract and retain businesses.

Upper Arlington provides many incentives and programs to help spur business development. This also includes an advisory organization such as UACIC - the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corporation - which provides expertise and resources to add in redevelopment within and for the community. "I can't place a value on the opportunity to share in the economic development decisions made possible by serving on the UACIC," said Becky Hajost, chamber president. These are exciting times and together with collaboration and solid leadership, we will continue to move forward in 2011."

Highlights of 2010

Giant Eagle, Market District - The new 132,000-square-foot Market District grocery store at Kingsdale officially opened Thursday, Oct. 14.

Gov. Ted Strickland, Travel Channel host Adam Richman and Giant Eagle executives gathered at the new store to welcome patrons and thank all who made the first Market District store in Ohio possible.

Market District features more than 10,000 natural and organic items, 7,000 international items and 4,000 unique specialty groceries, according to store officials. The store also features a restaurant with free wireless Internet, a beer and wine store with more than 2,500 wines and 600 beers and an in-store chef demonstration kitchen, among other things.

The new store is a milestone for Giant Eagle, Market District's parent company. Strickland said the new store is a "big deal" for the Columbus and Upper Arlington areas.

Whole Foods Market Following months of meetings and negotiations, members of the Upper Arlington Board of Zoning and Planning unanimously approved a final development plan for the Whole Foods Market September 20.

Whole Foods will increase the number of parking spaces from 663 to 836. Store representatives say they need enough parking to allow future growth for their business. We have a national retailer willing to shut down its store for nine months," said architect Mark Ford. "That's unheard of and a risk for the company. We as a community have to take a risk and let them have the parking.

Tree of Life Christian Ministries Tree of Life is now the owner of the 16-acre property on Arlington Centre Boulevard.

Despite being in the middle of a two-pronged zoning appeal process, the school closed on the $6.5-million purchase from Time Warner/AOL.

The Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee (BAC) will continue to monitor and keep members informed as the zoning process continues. "We hope we have helped you understand the implications of Tree of Life's proposed use of the AOL site. Our City, our business owners and our other public institutions have much to lose if the "site use changes," said Jason Nordstrom, chair of the BAC.

Expedient Communications - Pittsburgh-based digital data management company Expedient Communications plans to locate its first Columbus-area data center in a portion of the Arlington Centre Blvd. building now owned by Tree of Life Christian Ministries.

Expedient plans to use the 20,000-square-foot building that sits on the corner of Henderson Rd. and Arlington Centre Blvd. The building was the first built by CompuServe and is called Building 1. The UA location is slated to have 15 to 20 employees by the first quarter of 2011. "They are all pretty high-end job engineers and operations managers," said Smith, Bryan Smith, the new regional vice president and general manager for the UA site. "I would say the average position there is anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 a year."

E MC2 - Specializes in the experimental and analytical evaluation of the structural integrity of systems and components made of metals, plastics, composites, and other engineered materials and manufactured using various joining processes. A proposal for a Venture Loan/Grant was proposed and supported by staff for 3518 Riverside Caspian II, LLC.

The expansion for this project is anticipated to be a fixed-asset investment of at least $800,000 including $650,000 in construction and $150,000 in machinery and equipment. Additionally, this is an extraordinary tenancy commitment being agreed to by Emc2 which becomes an asset to the property going forward. The project generates a rate of return of $3.55: $1.00 and makes 10,000+ sq ft of office space more viable in the marketplace.

CardiOx - Medical technology firm moves to UA and brings a total of 26 employees with a payroll of $2.3 million by Dec. 13, 2013. A tax credit was recommended by the UACIC.

Kenexis - The UACIC also voted to recommend a forgivable loan to Kenexis to build a lift or elevator at 3366 Riverside Drive. Kenexis, already located in UA, plans to move to Riverside because it has outgrown its current location. The company will purchase the Riverside Drive building and use 90 percent of the 2nd floor. Marszal of Kenexis said he is glad his company can stay in Upper Arlington.

16 employees are employed by Kenexis and is expected to increase that number to 26 by December 2013. The forgivable loan, which would cover 80 percent of the cost to install either an elevator or lift but would not exceed $50,000.

TechColumbus Upper Arlington voted to renew its $50,000 per year commitment as TechColumbus seeks an additional Third Frontier leverage match. TechColumbus is applying for $3.5-million grant from the Ohio Department of Development's Third Frontier Program, which would be matched dollar-for-dollar by $3.5-million raised from donors and local municipalities and counties. Our investment is imperative for our economic future.

New Restaurants Restaurants such as: Louie's Grill, a Spanish-fusion restaurant, near Northwest Boulevard and Zollinger Road, Royal Ginger Asian Fusion Bistro & Carsonie's Stromboli & Pizza Kitchen both located at the Shops on Lane Avenue, Piada, an Italian fast-food shop owned by Chris Doody of Lindy's in German Village, located on Lane Avenue, Burgers, Dogs & Fries, Orange Leaf Yogurt both located at Giant Eagle's Market District, Cibo Restaurant and Bar, the next venture for the Ciotola family located at corner of Reed and Henderson, Gallo's Kitchen and Bar, a fusion Creole restaurant located at Riverside & Nottingham & Park Creek Kitchen located at 2124 Arlington Ave. all opened in 2010.

TREX The number of the new restaurants can be attributed to the city's new policy of allowing liquor licenses to be transferred from other areas - a process called TREX (transfer and exchange for economic development).

Capitalizing on redevelopment opportunities helps keep the city both vibrant and financially sound. A thriving business climate improves our city's ability to serve all of us - residents and businesses alike. "Many of successes for economic development have been highlighted in 2010, but certainly not all. We have the leadership and the tools, and through collaboration and purposeful decision making along with a long term perspective, we will continue to excel as a community in 2011," Hajost said.