Two more parcels of the city-owned Westar Place are now spoken for.
At its March 5 meeting, Westerville City Council approved two new purchase agreements for about 6 acres that could be worth more than $2 million.
The first agreement was for Daimler Group Inc. to develop an approximately 2.5-acre plot on the east side of Westar Place that eventually will become a campus for the Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians Group. The agreement would have Daimler purchase the 2.56 acres at a rate of $175,000 per acre, making the total price about $450,000.
Jason Bechtold, the city's economic development director, said the "intent" would be for COPC to eventually own the building when construction is complete. Bechtold said there were no contingencies on zoning changes or economic-development incentives in the agreement.
According to Bechtold, the planned project would be a $4.5-million facility of 30,000 to 35,000 square feet.
The project could close as early as Aug. 30 after a buyer-feasibility period.
The second purchase agreement could be more lucrative for the city. In that agreement, Wildcat LLC would purchase about 3.6 acres on the north side of Westar Place. For that space, the city and Wildcat agreed on a price of $460,000 per acre for the 3.61-acre site.
Bechtold said the difference in sale prices -- nearly $300,000 per acre -- is mostly due to market rates for the intended use of the property.
Property designated for retail is priced higher than office space, he said.
"That's what our commercial brokers and the market listed it as," he said.
Wildcat LLC is controlled by the same developers that built the Aloft Hotel on the city's south side, CRM and Madden Development groups. According to city documents, the space is expected to become a "retail development" with closing expected by the end of 2018 and tenants in the property by the end of 2019.
Bechtold said that because of the infrastructure work needed on the site, it likely will include an infrastructure agreement that could become a tax-increment-financing agreement or other incentive.
"We're still working through it," he said.
Councilman Tim Davey was the only council member to vote no on either proposal, declining to approve the Wildcat sale because of the potential for a TIF or other mechanism.
"I'm fine with selling the property if there were no contingencies, but as I've stated before, I believe it's the developer's responsibility to put in the road, if that's what's needed," he said. "So if that's their expectation, and they'll back out of the contract if they don't build them a road, I don't support this sale."
But chairman Mike Heyeck said he expected Westar to contain "probably over $10 million on both sides of the street" in necessary roadway work, and emphasized the importance of including those roads.
"When I joined council a long, long time ago, the issue with Columbus was they had the development, and then they built the roads," he said. "We're doing the reverse -- we're building the roads and then the development comes -- or at least comes at the same time. So we're going to need the cash to do this, or at least the cash flow. So I appreciate that this land sale is pretty lucrative."