As 2018 draws to a close, development in Canal Winchester continues to grow.

Earlier this month, officials broke ground for the second phase of an office park on Winchester Boulevard and Canal Winchester City Council approved the purchase of 110 acres on the south side of Bixby Road.

The Nov. 17 groundbreaking heralded the start of construction of a 7,000-square-foot office building at the Winchester Office Park, 6365 Winchester Blvd.

The new building, which will house multiple tenants, is identical to a structure that is already in use.

And developer Deno Duras already is planning for more construction: He has presented a proposal to the city's planning and zoning commission for a 7,200-square-foot building on the nearly five-acre site.

"It originally is designed to be a four-building complex," city Development Director Lucas Haire said. "Three of them are planned at this point."

Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce President Denise Mathias, an Edward Jones financial adviser, said she will move her business into the Phase 2 building once it's finished.

Her office is in Pickerington, and she said there aren't many "true office parks" in the Canal Winchester.

"There are a lot of people who would like to be in the Waterloo and High (streets) intersection, but those are houses that they've converted, and it's difficult to find a space in there," Mathias said. "For me, this met my needs, because I could design it to Edward Jones standards. I thought that was a win for me."

Bixby Road property

The potential purchase of land along Bixby Road near the Gender Road corridor would allow Canal Winchester to expand commercial development on the west side of the city.

City Council approved an ordinance Nov. 5 to enter into a $941,000 real estate purchase agreement for the 110 acres now owned by Willis M. Alspach's family. However, Haire said, finalizing the deal depends on several factors, including annexation and soil testing.

Two of the five parcels included in the agreement are in Madison Township and would need to be annexed into Canal Winchester.

In addition, he said, a "significant part" of the site is in a floodplain.

"If we don't find that the property meets our criteria for purchasing, then we basically stop the purchase at that point, so we've given ourselves a number of outs if we discover anything that we don't like that would affect the developability of this parcel," Haire said.

He said the goal is to annex the property, zone it for limited manufacturing and then sell it as future industrial property.

"I think this is a critical purchase for our community," Councilman Bob Clark said. "I think this is going to pay dividends years down the road.

"We need to create jobs," Clark said. "We need to create employment.

"We need to bring new wealth into the community so we can build McGill Park and we can do other things like infrastructure that we need, so hats off for finding this property."