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Development opportunities increasing in Reynoldsburg
Reynoldsburg city officials say they are starting to see an increase in development interest.
“We are definitely seeing a pick-up in new development,” Planning Administrator Matt Hansen said. “The final vacant parcels that we have in the city … we are definitely seeing an interest in that. We have vacant parcels along Broad Street and a few left in the Taylor Square area.”
Mayor Brad McCloud agrees there has been more of an interest in the city lately.
“The phone is starting to ring a little more than it has the last couple of years,” he said.
An Old Navy and PetSmart are set to open in the fall next to the Target store on State Route 256 near the Taylor Square shopping center, Hansen said.
There are some additional new retail development opportunities in the works along Broad Street in the Shoppes at East Broad Street, which were opened in 2006. There was some initial development there with a Lowe's, Burger King, and J.P. Morgan Chase and National City banks, but after the recession hit, there wasn’t much activity, Hansen said.
“Nothing is official,” Hansen said. “It is in the pipeline. We haven’t had an application for it yet. The property owner is actively pursuing an agreement to develop their property.”
In 2011, McCloud said, there were 27 new business and eight existing business relocated or expanded. The 35 businesses encompassed 133,418 square feet of commercial space for a total private investment of nearly $8.6 million, he said.
Hansen said that in 2011, the amount of square footage decreased slightly from a year earlier, but there were larger projects. The largest project was a $5.5-million square foot addition to Wesley Ridge Retirement Community. Both nursing care and rehabilitation were added, as well as 12 new employees, he said.
“They were higher salaried employees … physical therapists, skilled nurses,” he said.
In 2011, there was also a 5,000-square-foot addition to the Auto Zone on Main Street. The addition included storage and warehousing, Hansen said.
“They are distributing more parts to other stores from Reynoldsburg,” he said. “That was quite sizable.”
City officials have seen an increase in redevelopment interest including an Ohio Health Urgent Care, set to open this year in the former Cord Camera building, which was constructed in 2006.
“Those are going to be high paying jobs, a good clean business,” McCloud said. “We would love to have a lot of that (type of redevelopment) coming into the city.”
McCloud said redevelopment is critical for Reynoldsburg because there isn’t a lot of new property left to be developed in the city.
“We do have a lot of properties that can benefit from redevelopment,” he said.
The city’s retail vacancy rate in 2011 was 8.27 percent, slightly below the Columbus average. The vacancy rate takes into account half the former Big Bear located at Brice Road and Livingston Avenue. Half of the space is being operated as a Value King Grocery store.
“Half the building is not occupied,” he said. “That is a significant amount. The last time we spoke with the property owner he said in general the big-box retail segment is down right now. We are having a difficult time trying to find users.”
Hansen said when it comes to marketing, city officials are targeting small office users. The city has about a 7-percent vacancy rate for small offices. He said Reynoldsburg has some excellent purchasing opportunities for small firms interested in office buildings.
“If we can get a firm to come in and purchase a building, we know we are going to have a good, longer-term corporate client,” he said.
McCloud said the Brice-Livingston corridor has been a priority of his administration and redevelopment progress has been made. Main Street is another key area for the city, he added.
“On Main Street in the central part of town, there are opportunities for redevelopment,” he said. “Those two primary areas are our focus.”
The city has been proactively marketing both development and redevelopment opportunities, Hansen said. “Efforts are ongoing to develop marketing materials for the city that outline demographics and opportunity areas,” he said.
“We definitely are going to try to market ourselves better than we have,” Hansen said.
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