Worthington City Council is considering several pieces of legislation pertaining to the redevelopment of the former Holiday Inn site off U.S. Route 23.

The legislation, which includes a tax-increment-financing district, was introduced March 4.

Most of the legislation is scheduled for a public hearing March 18, according to City Manager Matt Greeson. The TIF component and a development agreement will be introduced for public hearing April 15, he said.

The Worthington Gateway, Witness Hospitality's mixed-use redevelopment of 7007 N. High St., is expected to include a 111-room, 4-story Hampton Inn & Suites, with up to five other buildings that would contain 15,000 to 19,000 square feet of office space and more than 20,000 square feet for restaurants and small service-oriented businesses.

The development previously was known as the Village at Worthington Square, but the developer has changed the name of the project to Worthington Gateway, according to city spokeswoman Anne Brown.

ThisWeek was unable to reach Witness CEO Ohm Patel for comment before publication of this story.

David McCorkle, Worthington's economic-development manager, said the first two pieces of legislation that were introduced would involve a 30-year "nonschool" TIF agreement.

McCorkle said a TIF is an economic-development tool used to fund public improvements.

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, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

McCorkle said under a standard TIF, property-tax revenue generated by the increased value of the site is diverted from entities that typically receive the revenues into a TIF fund.

This can include schools, park districts, libraries and other social-service agencies, he said.

However, because the city is proposing a "nonschool" TIF, Worthington Schools would be exempt from the changes, and the anticipated increase in revenue from the property improvements would not be diverted from the district, he said

The Worthington Gateway project would generate significantly more property-tax revenue for the school district than the site does currently, he said.

McCorkle said the legislation includes a property transfer for the site because the state requires the city to own the title to the property before City Council could approve the TIF.

The developer would be reimbursed by the TIF, McCorkle said.

"In this case, it's paying for a new realignment of the intersections over by the mall, new street lights and a whole host of things," he said.

Other parts of the legislation include a rezoning of the property and a development agreement, he said.

The development agreement would be used to hold the developer accountable to the terms of the planned-use-district zoning designation.

"They don't get all of the TIF proceeds if they don't perform on the PUD," McCorkle said.

McCorkle said rezoning the property from highway and automotive services to a planned-use district would allow the city to restrict certain uses for the site, such as drive-thru windows.

"It allows for a wider range of uses on the property, while also providing the city with additional regulatory control," he said.

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