New Metro Park, Mixed-use Development Planned for Huge Tract of Former Quarry Land
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.
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.”
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All photos provided by Metro Parks / Wagenbrenner.