Construction on the planned 11-story Arlington Gateway on Lane Avenue again has been pushed back, but the developer said the project will begin this year.

In January, Frank Kass, a founding partner of Continental Real Estate Cos., said the $100 million construction of the Arlington Gateway at 1325-97 W. Lane Ave. and 2376 North Star Road was a year behind schedule as he continued to work out traffic ingress and egress issues to devise a plan that would satisfy officials from the cities of Upper Arlington and Columbus, as well as adjacent property owners to the east of the construction site.

At that time, Kass said ground would be broken in August for the project that includes 218 luxury apartments, 132,444 square feet of office space and 28,097 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Last week, Kass said he continues to work out a traffic plan for the site, in addition to recruiting anchor tenants for the project.

"We're finalizing some leases and plans," Kass said. "We're hoping to break ground by the fourth quarter of this year."

In addition to the traffic plan, Kass said the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress on the Gateway project and on construction in central Ohio in general.

"Everything's taking a little longer than it should and we understand that," he said. "We're optimistic we'll get this started before the end of this year."

Continental Real Estate Cos. and partners Arcadia Development of Ohio and Roy Boy LLC received approval of their development plans for the Gateway project from Upper Arlington City Council in August 2018.

At that time, Kass said he hoped the development would be completed sometime in 2021.

Since then, however, a "top four" publicly traded financial company that was expected to relocate six central Ohio offices to the Gateway and serve as the project's anchor tenant pulled out.

Kass said July 14 he's in discussions with two potential anchor tenants, but he declined to identify them.

"We intend to get them both," he said. "There's still much to do, but we hope to start demolition by the end of the fourth quarter of this year and go vertical early in 2021."

Upper Arlington public services director and city engineer Jackie Thiel said last January the cities of Upper Arlington and Columbus were working with the developers to improve the site's traffic flow and safety, which included plans to install a traffic signal on Lane Avenue at Arthur E. Adams Drive.

At that time, Thiel said, a 10-foot-wide median would be installed on Ashdowne Road, just west of North Star Road "to distinguish the residential neighborhood from commercial and also detour development-site traffic."

She said pedestrian safety in the area would be enhanced because of plans for an 8-foot-wide sidewalk along Lane Avenue that would be buffered from the road by landscaping.

Upper Arlington officials said they are waiting to hear from the developers to see what the next steps would be.

"Until the developer team notifies the city that they are ready to proceed and their plans are finalized, the timing and details associated with this project are unknown," said Emma Speight, Upper Arlington's community-affairs director. "We look forward to seeing this project begin and working with the developers to facilitate its progress as (to) when they are ready to proceed."

The Gateway site was annexed to the city in 2005 but is in the Columbus City Schools district.

Kass has a 30-year, 100% payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with the school district that stipulates the property owner will pay $450,000 to the district each year for 30 years.

According to Kass, beginning in the 31st year after the project is completed, 69% of property taxes from the site would go to CCS. He has estimated the total annual payments to the district would increase to between $1.4 million and $1.5 million annually.

In August 2018, Kass said CCS received $116,000 in annual tax payments from the proposed development site.

Buildings for former businesses such as Darron's Contemporary Furniture, Easy Living Deli, Learning Express Toys, Angel's Touch Asian Massage and Dibela Hair & Nails will be demolished so foundation work can begin.

"There's going to be millions of dollars of revenue -- millions -- projected from the site over the next 20 years," Kass said in January. "That's millions to the city of Upper Arlington and millions to the city of Columbus."

In addition to added income-tax revenues for Upper Arlington and new property taxes for CCS, Kass has said the Gateway would provide a "transformative entryway to Upper Arlington that right now is underutilized."

Kass said the Gateway's design has not changed, and he expects the project to be completed within 24 months of the start of construction.

"It's a two-year project," he said. "In the best of all worlds, people should be able to move into the building by the second quarter of 2023."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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