Groveport City Council is expected to vote on final development plans for two warehouses on land between the former Kmart distribution facility and American Electric Power buildings during its meeting Monday, June 24.

The 324,000-square-foot and 252,000-square-foot warehouses would be built on approximately 44 acres at 4500 S. Hamilton Road.

Representatives of the developer, the Pizzuti Cos., asked to address concerns about increased traffic at council's June 17 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Lawrence Creed, director of traffic engineering for Columbus engineering, surveying and planning firm EMH&T, presented what he described as "an extensive traffic study" in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Groveport, examining four peak hours in the area.

"I think the takeaway is, at most, it's 109 more trips, and a trip is entering and exiting the development," Creed said after the meeting. "In the world of traffic impact studies, that's a pretty low number."

Traffic going into and out of the warehouse areas would use the traffic signal at state Route 317 and Higgins and Directors boulevards. Pizzuti has agreed to complete upgrades to modernize the intersection, including updated signals.

Councilman Ed Dildine Jr. hopes the upgrades are done to coincide with construction.

"I have no problem with the project, but I still have the concern of traffic," he said during the meeting. "I get numbers. We can all play numbers all day long. ... But this will generate more traffic, whether it's one car or a thousand cars. We need to make sure we keep traffic flowing on 317, Hamilton Road, as best as we can."

If council approves the development, construction would begin in August, according to Phil Rasey, vice president of development for Pizzuti.

The land, once owned by AEP and zoned planned industrial park in 1973, sits in a community reinvestment area, so the property is eligible for a 15-year, 100% tax abatement.

"The market is really good right now, and at some point, that's probably going to slow down," Rasey said. "The timing to develop this land and activate it is now."

Initially, the warehouses would be built on a speculative basis, but Pizzuti has a potential tenant for the 252,000-square-foot warehouse, Rasey said.

The project fits into the city's Gateway Corridor Plan, which council approved last summer.

The plan grew from an $8,800 study by private planning consultant James L. Hartzler, who focused on Hamilton Road between U.S. Route 33 and Bixby Road, and on Groveport Road from state Route 317 west to Swisher Road.

At the time, recommendations for the site included Groveport Madison school expansion, AEP expansion or multitenant "flex" office space.

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