Thanks to a city grant, Worthington is expected to retain private aviation company Wheels Up rather than losing the business to a nearby municipality.

Thanks to a city grant, Worthington is expected to retain private aviation company Wheels Up rather than losing the business to a nearby municipality.

If approved by the Worthington City Council at their Monday, May 16, meeting, the Venture Grant would give Wheels Up Partners LLC $58,000 over four years, helping the company move from its 450 W. Wilson Bridge Road location to a new site at 350 W. Wilson Bridge Road.

The company plans to move into part of the renovated site owned by Trivium Development LLC owner Tim Spencer. Spencer purchased the space last year and is in the midst of a $2 million renovation that is already planned to provide space for a medical complex for the Central Ohio Urology Group.

Trivium was approved for a tax-increment financing district by the city last year, and received more than $600,000 in grant funding from Franklin County.

Worthington Economic Development Manager David McCorkle said Wheels Up's proposed move to the site is an important sign of the revitalization of the corridor.

"Wheels Up is a key business within the community, and one of many pieces that are going into this new building," he said. "I think the emphasis here should be that this is exactly what the city of Worthington wants to see as far as redevelopment potential. These buildings are dated, and we'd like to see them updated. Growing businesses want to be a part of that redevelopment, and this is a prime example of success."

Rob Patris, executive vice president of flight operations at Wheels Up, said company officials would be happy to be able to stay in Worthington.

"We've been in Worthington for almost three years, and we like the space we're in now, which is just two buildings down from where (the new location) is," he said. "We've seen this kind of development over the last three years with the mall and (construction work at U.S. Route 23), so we've kind of lived through the worst of that.

"Now, we're coming upon completion and we're seeing the benefits of it from a recruiting aspect. ... I'm able to recruit from Dublin, New Albany, Gahanna. Everyone's located within 15 minutes of here."

Worthington expects the Venture Grant to help Wheels Up reach $3 million in total annual payroll. The company is expected to triple its current workforce to around 60 employees.

McCorkle said his department is happy to have convinced the company to stay pending the approval.

"They've been very invested within Worthington in the last few years," he said. "We wanted to keep them here and they wanted to stay here, as long as the finances made sense for them."