The Pizzuti Cos. expects to break ground later this summer for two warehouses following Groveport City Council's unanimous approval of the project on land between the former Kmart distribution facility and American Electric Power buildings.

Council President Pro Tem Shawn Cleary abstained from the June 24 vote because he is employed by AEP, which had owned the land.

The two warehouses -- 324,000 square feet and 252,000 square feet -- will be built on more than 44 acres at 4500 S. Hamilton Road, where traffic going in and out of the development will use the traffic signal at Higgins and Directors boulevards.

Pizzuti, which addressed traffic concerns at council's June 17 committee-of-the-whole meeting, has agreed to upgrade and modernize the intersection following a traffic study.

Council members expressed concerns about increased traffic.

However, Lawrence Creed, director of traffic engineering for Columbus engineering, surveying and planning firm EMH&T, indicated that the site is "not a high-traffic generator."

The study examined four peak times at six intersections in the area between Homer Ohio Lane to state Route 33, including morning, afternoon, end of the school day and during business shift changes.

Creed said the development would generate 109 more trips entering and exiting, which he noted, "In the world of traffic impact studies, that's a pretty low number."

The warehouses will be built in a community reinvestment area, making the project eligible for a 15-year, 100% tax abatement.

Pizzuti has said it has a potential tenant for the 252,000-square-foot warehouse, according to Phil Rasey, the company's vice president of development.

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

The plan focuses on Hamilton Road between U.S. Route 33 and Bixby Road, and on Groveport Road from state Route 317 west to Swisher Road.

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