A healthy economy and the strengths of Upper Arlington's location and community are being credited for driving one-year local construction above $400 million for the first time in the city's history.

In April 2019, Upper Arlington Schools launched $235 million in projects to rebuild and renovate the district's high school and five elementary buildings.

In June, Crawford Hoying broke ground on a 119-room hotel at 1640 W. Lane Ave. and started construction at the end of the year on eight townhomes at 1690 W. Lane Ave., as well as 133 rental units, a 395-space public-parking garage, a 110-space public-parking lot and an additional 32,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space as a mixed-use project that will feature condominiums, professional offices and restaurants.

Two months after that work began, First Community Village broke ground on the largest expansion in its 56-year history.

The estimated $37 million project will yield the construction of a 4-story, 143,622-square-foot apartment complex for independent living.

Those are just three of the projects that brought more than $407 million in construction to Upper Arlington in 2019.

The investments topped the the city's previous high-water mark in one-year construction -- 2016 -- by nearly $300 million. In that year, the city had $111.6 million in building projects, which bested investments of $100.6 million in 2017 and $100.7 million in 2018.

"Year after year, construction values have been impressive -- typically just shy of the $100 million mark -- but 2019 blew away previous years away, at over $407 million," said Steve Schoeny, city manager. "This unprecedented level of investment reflects the major projects for the Upper Arlington Schools, the Lane II hotel and mixed-use project and the Fairfax at First Community Village."

Schoeny noted the record level of construction in Upper Arlington last year included $81 million in new homes and home renovations.

Those projects resulted in the city generating more than $2.24 million in building permit and registration fees.

With the continuation of the projects for Upper Arlington Schools, Crawford Hoying and FCV, as well as the expected redevelopment of the Golden Bear Shopping Center and the planned August groundbreaking of a $100 million, 11-story Arlington Gateway mixed-use development at 1325-97 W. Lane Ave. and 2376 North Star Road, Schoeny said, Upper Arlington's 2020 construction outlook also is positive.

"I am confident that we will continue to see new opportunities, if we continue to plan well and aggressively pursue revenue producing projects," he said.

According to Emma Speight, the city's community-affairs director, the ongoing activity signals the residents' support of the local school district and the appeal of the community to families and businesses.

"Upper Arlington's strong demographics, proximity to downtown and OSU, etc., the healthy economy both nationally and in the region, services, schools and safety, etc. all contribute to making Upper Arlington a viable community in which to do business," she said. "Home renovations and additions continue to comprise much of the construction value in the residential arena as residents bring their older homes up to today's standards.

"We continue to see a handful of older homes razed and replaced with new homes each year, both by professional builders who know there is a market for new builds in Upper Arlington but also by some homeowners who have concluded that starting from scratch allows them to reap the benefits of designing a new home to best meet their needs."

Speight said officials don't anticipate the city duplicating 2019 levels of construction.

"There are still two significant economic-development projects approved by (the Board of Zoning and Planning) that are yet to begin, namely the Arlington Gateway project on Lane Avenue and the Golden Bear redevelopment, and there's a potential for additional projects to emerge in the coming months," she said.

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