Columbus developer Pat Kelley is looking to break ground next year on the next chapter in the story of Beulah Park, the former horse-racing track and event center in Grove City.

Columbus developer Pat Kelley is looking to break ground next year on the next chapter in the story of Beulah Park, the former horse-racing track and event center in Grove City.

"Beulah Park is such an iconic site," Kelley said. "So many people can recall working at the racetrack or going to Beulah Park with their father or grandfather. It's exciting to be part of its redevelopment."

Kelley is president of Falco Smith & Kelley, the Columbus development company that took over earlier this year when the Ciminello development firm's option to buy the property from Penn National Gaming expired.

Kelley completed the purchase for Beulah Park in October for a price of $4,975,000, according to the Franklin County Auditor's website.

He has formed GC Beulah Park Investments LLC, a company involving his siblings and children, to redevelop the former racetrack, which closed in 2013.

"I wasn't looking at it, but when the opportunity came up and I became aware the property was for sale, it was something you couldn't pass up," he said. "It's not often you can be involved in a 212-acre project that is so central to a city center."

Grove City Mayor Ike Stage said the city is pleased Kelley is on board.

"He has done big projects before and we think this is an ideal situation for redeveloping such an important part of Grove City," he said.

Kelley said his vision for Beulah Park is similar to what was proposed in the preliminary plan submitted by Ciminello and approved by Grove City Council last year.

"We're looking at about 800 residential units, a 50- or 60-acre community park, some office and commercial development and perhaps some retail," he said.

The walkable community would connect to the Grove City Town Center, Kelley said.

"I look at it as an example of new urbanism," he said. "New urbanism creates a walkable neighborhood where you can walk to where you work, walk to where you shop and walk to recreational opportunities."

That vision "goes hand in glove" with the city's desire to enhance how Beulah Park historically has been part of the Town Center, Stage said.

Some issues still need to be addressed before the project can begin in earnest, he said.

A final development plan would have to be approved by City Council, including a rezoning to allow for the mixed-use project, Stage said.

City officials and Kelley also would need to agree on each side's share of the cost of infrastructure work to prepare the area for the redevelopment project.

No timetable has been set for when those issues will be resolved, he said.

The city also is working on finalizing plans for creation of the town plaza that would connect to Beulah Park, Stage said.

The first component of the Beulah Park project likely to get underway would be construction of multifamily housing on the outer edge of the development, Kelley said.

The community park would serve as a key part of the development and is expected to include walking trails and an area for such community events as concerts, classes and fireworks, he said. A memorial garden by the racetrack's finish line would pay tribute to Beulah Park's history.

The office and commercial uses "would be on a neighborhood scale," Kelley said. "We're not looking to do anything that be in conflict with the Town Center."

The entire project will take five to 10 years to complete, he said.

Kelley previously told The Columbus Dispatch he wants houses to go on the market "next spring or early summer" with prices from $175,000 to $350,000.

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