As city officials, we probably sound like a broken record at times when we talk about the challenges UA faces as a built-out, landlocked community.

As city officials, we probably sound like a broken record at times when we talk about the challenges UA faces as a built-out, landlocked community.

Opportunities for change and growth are rare, but that's not to say they don't happen.

At its May 13 meeting, Upper Arlington City Council approved an annexation of 9.8 acres into our community, located in our northwest quadrant, at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Bethel Road -- a project many months in the making.

To help you picture the location, it's to the immediate north of the relatively new office park on Henderson Road that includes Arlington Falls, Horizons Cos., Central Ohio Medicine and other notable businesses -- an area that was also annexed into UA a little more than a decade ago.

Presently the site of several single-family homes, the developer, Preferred Living, has purchased these properties with the intent of constructing a high-end apartment complex of approximately 250 units.

Additionally, the southern portion of the property will be dedicated to office use, the details of which are yet to be finalized.

With council's blessing now official, the area will be annexed into the city under our Planned Mixed-Use District zoning, and the developer will then take steps to rezone the southernmost portion to Office and Research District to assure its development as office space of at least 25,000 square feet.

Additionally, the developer must pay the city $7,000 annually -- to cover some infrastructure maintenance costs -- until such time that the office space is completed or the city chooses to purchase the parcel from the developer.

An eight-year financial incentive is available to the developer as long as certain requirements are met, including property tax generation of at least $45,000 to the city, and completion of the office building with a resulting combined income and property tax generation of at least $10,000 annually. The incentive, if provided, would comprise a 20-percent tax rebate for the city's portion of property taxes on the residential component, and a 20-percent rebate on the combined taxes due the city that are generated from the office building.

This project is a win-win on a number of levels. It provides the community with a residential housing option that is currently in limited supply here, giving young professionals a perfect introduction to our amenities, services and overall quality of life, in the hopes that they choose to stay when it comes time to buy a home and start a family. And we set aside some land for the more important income-generating producer from a city perspective, in the form of the office space.

You can expect to see work beginning on this project this summer, with an anticipated opening of the residential component next year.

If you have questions, contact Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb at 614-583-5046or email him at

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.