Powell's planning and zoning commission is expected to approve plans this week for the biggest development project in the city's history.

At its Jan. 16 meeting, the commission discussed the final development plan for Ohio State University's proposed ambulatory-care center at the northeast corner of Home Road and Sawmill Parkway.

The outpatient facility, planned for a plot of land set to be annexed into the city from Liberty Township, is expected to employ up to 500 people with a payroll of up to $50 million in its first phase, followed by another 125 to 500 employees and between $9.4 million and $37.5 million in payroll during its second phase.

Aaron Underhill, an attorney with Underhill and Hodge who has been representing Ohio State in talks with Powell, said the long process of planning the facility and setting up its annexation plan -- which expires in mid-February -- is nearly complete.

"We've recently gotten to a place where we've got our internal approvals," he said.

He said the slowdowns largely have been due to the complicated nature of the project, along with the fact that it's one of OSU's first forays into development far beyond Columbus' borders.

"This will really be the first major move away from campus," he said, noting that financing is finally in place internally.

Keith Myers, associate vice president of planning and real estate with OSU, said the university assembled an "all-star architectural team" for the limestone-and-brick facility. He said the facade will "certainly be traditional" with elements of "a more-contemporary feel."

When complete, the facility will be shaped like a flat C, but will look a bit like an L until the northernmost portion is finished in phase two.

In the middle of those north and south wings will be a large courtyard, mostly covered by a canopy over of the eastern side of the facility.

Between that courtyard and the grassy area between Sawmill Parkway and the facility, there will be plenty of green space, with trees and other plantings.

"Ohio State does turf and trees really well," Myers said. "We have a thing called the Oval."

Some topics, such as parking, materials, other building details and additional traffic studies, will be worked out in future meetings, but Rocky Kambo, the city's assistant director of development, said the city was largely pleased with the plans.

"I think they have not only the resources, but the skill to get something like this done," he said.

The commission was expected to approve the plan at their meeting Jan. 23, with annexation likely authorized soon by Powell City Council.

For the time being, commission members said they were pleased with the existing plans.

"This is a benefit for not only our residents, but the whole area," commission member Ed Cooper said. "Instead of having to drive down to Columbus, we're now bringing it to them."

Myers said OSU is still "six to eight months" away from finalizing plans internally and did not have a construction schedule.

He said the university is not yet prepared to say when the second phase will begin, but said it would start "as the need is there and the market is there."

For more information on the plans, go to cityofpowell.us.

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