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New Metro Park, Mixed-use Development Planned for Huge Tract of Former Quarry Land

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Metro Park, Mixed-use Development Planned for Huge Tract of Former Quarry LandPhoto provided by Metro Parks / Wagenbrenner.
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Wagenbrenner Development has assembled a 560-acre tract of land along the Scioto River in northwest Columbus. Initial plans call for an 80-acre mixed-use development and, on an adjacent 62 acres, the region’s 20th Metro Park.

The local developer plans to close on the ground by the end of this year, setting in motion a multi-faceted plan that could take decades to completely realize. The property has been mined for many years, and a large portion of it is still an active quarry site. The new park and the development are planned for the section that is no longer being mined.

“This is the largest project that our company has ever taken on,” said Joseph Reidy, General Counsel for Wagenbrenner, adding that the complexity of the undertaking is also unparalleled. “There are no water lines, sewers, or developed roads on the whole site, so we’ll be negotiating a development agreement with the City of Columbus to help fund the new infrastructure that will be the skeleton for our development as well as for the new park.”

“To find hundreds of acres of undeveloped land within Columbus city limits is once-in-a-lifetime, and we are excited to be working with Metro Parks to bring this unique opportunity to Columbus and its surrounding communities,” said the company’s president, Mark Wagenbrenner.

Photo provided by Metro Parks / Wagenbrenner.

The area planned for the park sits at the northeast corner of Trabue and Dublin roads, west of the Scioto River. Its location — inside I-270, in a part of the region underserved by existing Metro Parks — is strategic for the organization, which has a long-standing goal to put a park within five miles of every Franklin County resident.

The new park will also offer a unique terrain and the opportunity for recreational experiences not found at other parks in the region.

“This Metro Park’s remarkable landscape of deep quarried lakes — adjacent to the river — features changes in elevation and rocky outcrops that will provide endless fun and adventure for the residents of Franklin County,” said Tim Moloney, Metro Parks Executive Director.

“If everything lines up with the purchase, I could see some of the park being opened in the next 18-24 months,” added Maloney. “As we go through this process, I am hoping to have many different events and tours to show the residents of Franklin County this site as it is today as well as throughout the development process.”


Local firm MKSK has been retained to work on the initial design of the park.

Although terms of the deal are still being negotiated, Metro Parks has already secured some of the funding to buy the land from Wagenbrenner, including a $1,215,000 grant from the Clean Ohio Fund.

The initial phase of the mixed-use development is planned for an area directly east of the new park, on 62 acres of land that was once mined but was more recently used as a landfill.

“We’ll spend much of 2018 doing environmental cleanup,” said Reidy, adding that the process will be similar in some ways to the one undertaken at the developer’s Grandview Crossing site, also a former landfill.

It’s too early in the process to offer specifics in terms of the number of residential units or overall square footage, Reidy said, but the development will likely feature both single and multifamily residential, “with some smaller retail components, and at least some amount of office in the mix.”

About 230 acres of the land that Wagenbrenner is purchasing will continue to be mined for the foreseeable future, according to Reidy, who said that Shelly Materials will maintain its mineral lease on the land. Portions of that land, though, have the potential to be transferred over to Metro Parks when Shelly is done with it – details that will be worked out in the final negotiations. A few scattered, smaller tracts of land will likely be developed by Wagenbrenner in later phases.

Reidy said that construction on the new homes, apartments and commercial buildings likely won’t start until 2019, by which time the new Metro Park will hopefully be completed; “the park is so important to the project, we want it to be finished… it’s really the front door of our development.”

CLICK HERE to read more about the project in our extended interview.

For more information, visit keepitontheqt.com.

All photos provided by Metro Parks / Wagenbrenner.

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  • Partyk1d24

    It isn’t very clear where this is, but after looking at Google maps it looks like it is across the river from El Vaquero right? The buildings look like the same ones from the pic.

    • Yep, that’s the spot. The article mentions it: “The area planned for the park sits at the northeast corner of Trabue and Dublin roads, west of the Scioto River.”

      • Partyk1d24

        Lol don’t know how I skimmed through 2x and missed it. Thanks!

      • Harold M. Rollins

        a north arrow on the rendering or a rendering with top directed to the north would have helped though.

  • jman

    Does this include the Indian Mound on Mckinley Ave? That would be totally awesome.

    • Derek

      Unlikely. This is about a half mile from there.

  • clambake

    Wagenbrenner really has a knack for using public funds for private gain. And how many metro parks are within 270? One? So I don’t think this area is any more underserved than any other part of Columbus.

    • dalias

      In terms of being under served, the argument is that the urban/suburban core inside 270 is under served compared to the suburban areas outside of 270 (which are also parts of Columbus/Franklin Co. The map of metro parks make this point fairly visible – http://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/park-locations-map/

      • Joel West

        Well placed graphic dalias. Inside 270 is very under served and there’s nothing wrong with public-private partnerships to create great places. We need more of that! Not much would get done if it wasn’t for private investment. It’s a business and they need to make a profit just like any other.

        • clambake

          Actually, not much would get done if it wasn’t for public investment. The private sector is risk averse.

          Yes, I agree a business needs to make a profit, but when their profits come from being subsidized they really aren’t going to innovate are they?– they’re fat and lazy.

  • Charles D’Andrea

    Any idea what school district this will fall into? The neighborhood next door to the north goes to Hilliard, but the neighborhood across the river goes to UA.

    • Jonathan Zygmunt

      Hilliard, just checked.

  • Martin

    People clearly use this land already for recreation (based on pictures and the video from keepitontheqt.com)… Does anyone know what the deal is with permissions? I’d love to go check it out sometime soon, but don’t want to get caught trespassing or something.

    • You can sign up for updates via email on the keepitontheqt.com website and get notified of official tours. Currently, the land is private property.

  • John

    There is a pretty amazing Metro Park about a half hour north of where I live that was built on a former quarry site. Would be a good example for the design team to look at.

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