A little more than a year after it was approved, a New Albany neighborhood marketed to residents 55 and older is open.

Pulte Homes of Ohio recently announced the grand opening of its Nottingham Trace development on 88 acres near Schleppi Road and state Route 605.

In November 2017, New Albany City Council gave Pulte Homes approval to move forward with the first phase of the subdivision.

ThisWeek reported in 2017 the community was expected to open in fall 2018. Weather, specifically rain, was the primary reason for the delay, said Pulte spokeswoman Macy Kessler.

"We also experienced delays on the initial infrastructure improvements while we worked with New Albany on certain details and refinements for the project," she said.

The neighborhood, which is near Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township, would have 240 single-family homes when completed.

The community could take five to six years to build out, said Camille Harris, a sales consultant for Pulte.

The zoning on the land requires at least 80 percent of the units in the development to have at least one occupant who is at least 55 years old, she said.

According to deed restrictions for the community, those ages 19 and younger are not allowed to live in the community for more than 90 days per year, Kessler said.

The development is estimated to generate at least $1.4 million in property-tax revenue for the New Albany-Plain Local School District, Kessler said.

Prices would start in the low $330,000s, Harris said.

The base option is a ranch-style design because many customers don't want stairs, she said. Some models have basements and second floors available, she said.

The goal, Harris said, is to offer residents the same life that they had, but on a smaller scale.

In addition, a private clubhouse for Nottingham Trace residents would be developed on about 2 acres, Kessler said.

It would feature gathering spaces and fitness areas, and outdoor amenities would include two pickleball courts, a bocce court and an outdoor patio, she said.

A 24-acre park also would be developed as part of the project, Kessler said.

It would contain leisure paths, ponds with decorative fountains, landscaping and places to sit, as well as woodlands and wetlands in the southern portion, she said.

The park would be developed over two phases, starting with the eastern portion -- approximately half of the park area -- with the initial phases of development, Kessler said. The leisure paths in that portion of the park were completed in 2018, and the remaining improvements would be completed in early spring 2019, she said.

Although Pulte is building the park, it ultimately would be owned by the city, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

Funding for the park would come from a "nonschool" tax-increment-financing district for Nottingham Trace that is projected to generate $12.4 million over 30 years.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

Revenue that exceeds the locked-in valuation of the land is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments.

In the case of a nonschool TIF, the additional property-tax revenue is diverted from all entities except school districts, New Albany community-development director Jennifer Chrysler said. Recent state legislation added vocational schools to that exception, she said.

For the Nottingham Trace TIF, the schools would be New Albany-Plain Local and Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, according to a previous council legislative report.

Chrysler said the TIF also would be structured so it did not divert money from the Plain Township Fire Department.

The TIF would cover 64 developed acres, she said.

Nearly half the New Albany residents who participated last year in the 2018 resident survey wanted more diverse housing options in the city, McAfee said. The survey included 316 residents; 26 percent of them were 55 and older, he said.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's 2050 plan also encourages offering more diverse housing options, particularly for empty nesters and millennials, he said.

Last year, New Albany approved 345 homes specifically marketed for residents at least 55 years old, McAfee said.

Those homes were in Pulte's Nottingham Trace development and another senior community to be built by Epcon Communities, he said.

More than 130 luxury apartments also are available in the Market and Main apartments, McAfee said.

Those apartments were the result of a Kaufman Development project south of the roundabout at Market and Main streets.

Epcon Communities' residential development will be at 7100 New Albany Condit Road (Route 605), near Central College Road.

A sales center is open at that address, said Joel Rhoades, Epcon Communities regional president.

Epcon broke ground on the site in January and the development's first families should start moving in later this year, he said.

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