Developers are looking forward to the day when construction on the redevelopment of Beulah Park will be off and running.
A majority of the project's components are expected to be completed as part of the first phase, set to start later this year, developer Pat Kelley said.
"We purposely planned an immense phase one to create an immediate synergy for the project," Kelley said. "We feel it's important to give the community an identity right off the bat."
Kelley's firm, Falco, Smith & Kelley Ltd., will be investing more than $300 million in the redevelopment of the 212-acre Beulah Park site. The racetrack closed in 2014.
The components of the first phase will include construction of 384 apartment units on the eastern portion of the development, just west of the railroad tracks, and about 600 feet south of Southwest Boulevard.
"These are going to be high- end apartments with a clubhouse, swimming pool and attached garages," Kelley said.
Just to the west of the apartment development, Epcon Communities will be starting a condominium project, building 55 units in the first phase, he said.
The company ultimately plans to build 104 condominium homes, 78 detached and 26 attached, as part of the Courtyard at Beulah Park project.
Two builders -- Pulte Homes and Schottenstein Homes -- will construct single-family houses on the west side of the development during the first phase, Kelley said.
Once the entire Beulah Park project is completed, it will feature about 900 residential units, including traditional single-family houses, empty-nester and townhouse-style condominiums and apartments, he said.
"What makes Beulah a unique community is that we are going to be able to have a diverse range of people who will live here, because we'll have such a diverse range of housing available," Kelley said. "And to me, that's what truly defines a development as a community."
The first phase might include houses built for the 2020 Building Industry Association of Central Ohio Parade of Homes, he said.
"We're in the running for that," Kelley said. "It would be a really nice attribute for our project and a good way to show potential residents the quality community we're building."
A decision on where next year's Parade of Homes will be held won't be made until after the 2019 event, set for July 13-28 in Evans Farm, a "new urbanist" community in Delaware County, said Jon Melchi, BIA executive director.
"Beulah Park is definitely a strong contender for 2020," Melchi said.
"With the Parade of Homes, we want to choose a location and a development where we know (there) will be a vibrant community so that the builders who participate in our event don't end up building an iconic product that stands alone. We want it to be part of something special.
"Pat and his team have done a great job of putting together a great project," he said.
The first phase will include more than just residential development, Kelley said.
"Near the entryway on the west side of the railroad tracks (near the Columbus Street Extension), there will be a small commercial piece that we envision as an upscale tavern, and some retail use as well," he said. "The tavern will be a gathering place, not only for the residents in Beulah Park, but for people visiting the Town Center."
Up to 171,000 square feet of retail/commercial space will be built along Southwest Boulevard at the northern section of the project, Kelley said.
An 88,000-square-foot assisted-living facility will be built on the south side of Southwest Boulevard. The two-story building will offer a total of 88 units and include adjacent villas for residents who are able to live more independently, he said.
The entrance to the Beulah Park racetrack was at Southwest Boulevard and at that entry point, a memorial garden will be featured, he said.
"Beulah Park was such an important part of Grove City and this memorializes the racetrack and its history," Kelley said. "It also serves as a noteworthy entry to the development."
The garden will feature a sculpture by Columbus architect Craig Murdick depicting horses leaving the starting gate for a race.
"At nighttime, with the lighting, the sculpture will have quite a dramatic look with the shadows of the horses reflecting on the walls," Kelley said.
Construction of the extension of Columbus Street will get underway this year, city administrator Chuck Boso said.
That project, and the planned town plaza, would serve to connect the Town Center to the Beulah Park site, he said.
"We expected to have the Columbus Street extension started by now, but it was delayed while we worked out some issues with the developer," Boso said.
In particular, the developer agreed to complete the extension of Columbus Street all the way from the railroad tracks to Southwest Boulevard, he said.
The city will complete the extension of Columbus to the railroad track and the developer will take it from there, Boso said.
Kelley said his company's portion of the project will likely get underway this spring.
The two sides needed to link up their projects to make sure they would be completed to connect and complete the entire Columbus Street extension at close to the same time, Boso said.
A financing and development agreement also is being finalized with Kelley's group, he said.
Part of the agreement includes the developer's plan to improve Southwest Boulevard from Demorest Road to just east of Lewis Centre Way, Boso said.
The improvements will include adding a turn lane, a bike path and traffic light.
"I'm excited to get this project started," Kelley said. "One of the things that makes Beulah Park special is that it's not often you can create a project of this size that is connected to a town center. It allows you to create an urban, walkable community for your residents."