Developer seeks rezoning for Berkshire mall
One of four developers looking to build an outlet mall in central Ohio has applied for rezoning in Berkshire Township.
Developer Pat Shivley is hoping to rezone 88 acres in the southeastern quadrant of the Interstate 71/Ohio 37/ U.S. 36 interchange from its current agricultural district designation to a planned commercial and office district.
Shivley and national outlet mall developer Craig Realty Group plan to build a 353,000-square-foot outlet mall along with other commercial development on the property.
Shivley is one of four developers in recent months to announce plans to build an outlet mall in central Ohio. Two of the proposed outlet malls are in Delaware County.
Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers of North Carolina announced plans in November to develop an upscale outlet center on a 65-acre tract near the southwestern section off of the I 71/Ohio 37/U.S. 36 interchange.
The other proposed outlet malls are in Madison County and Licking County.
Despite the competition, Shivley feels that his group has the best and most feasible project.
“We wouldn’t be pushing so hard if we didn’t have the best site and the best demographics,” he said.
In addition to the outlet mall, the development plans call for 20 full-size soccer and lacrosse fields, eight to 12 baseball fields, a 60,000-square foot indoor sports facility with an adjoining hotel, and in the future, a natatorium with a fitness center. The plans also call for six to eight hotels between 600 and 1,000 rooms within walking distance to the outlet mall and sports facilities.
On Monday, Florida-based GoodSports Enterprises announced plans to build a 60,000-square-foot sports center and adjoining 115-room athlete centric hotel at the location in conjunction with the project.
The outlet mall project alone is expected to bring more than three million visitors to Delaware County on an annual basis, according to the zoning application. Those visitors will spend more than $300 million per year and directly create more than 2,000 jobs.
The entire proposed development is expected to create up to 5,000 temporary jobs, up to 7,500 permanent jobs and generate more than $58 million in sales tax revenue.
Shivley said he hopes to break ground on the project next year and open by November 2014.
But Shivley and his group are not only competing against three other outlet mall developers, they are also going up against another local developer, the Robert Weiler Company, to build a new interchange to alleviate pressure on the current interchange and spur development in the area.
The Weiler group has proposed building a new interchange about one mile north of the current one. The Shively group has plans to build and interchange to the south. The Ohio Department of Transportation will ultimately decide which developer earns the right to build the interchange.
However, while the Shivley group is committed to building a new interchange, it is not necessary for the outlet mall development, and was not included in the zoning application.
“It would be ideal for the interchange modification to be built at the same time as the new development,” Shivley spokeswoman Kelley Lilly said.
Until the interchange is built and Wilson Road is extended from Ohio 37/U.S. 36 to Cheshire Road, the development will be accessed from South Galena Road.
But Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman, who has not seen the zoning application, said South Galena Road cannot handle the additional traffic at this time.
“South Galena Road in its current configuration can’t handle the type of density that they are proposing,” he said.
However, Shivley said he would prefer the road improvements to accompany the construction of the development.
Berkshire Township officials have their own concerns about the project, namely the land will be annexed and they will lose a large portion of their tax base. The Gazette has obtained a copy of an informational packet that was passed out to business owners in the U.S. 36/Ohio 37 area at August meeting held the Shivley group. The packet contains a copy of an annexation and development agreement to Sunbury.
In addition to throwing their support behind the Weiler group through a formal resolution, Berkshire Township trustees are also looking at other options to stave off annexation, including the creation of a Tax-Increment Financing District (TIF) or a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ).
“We are diligently working to make sure that if it appears something like that should happen we’ve got things we are going to try to do to keep it from happening,” Berkshire Township Trustee Rod Myers said. “We are going to be very proactive in not letting that get annexed out of Berkshire Township.”
But Shivley downplayed the possibility annexing the development to Sunbury.
“By us coming forward and trying to get this zoned in Berkshire Township shows how we want to move forward,” he said.