By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester City Council is moving ahead with a Community Reinvestment Area agreement with Opus Development Company for a potential development on the north side of Winchester Boulevard near Kroger.
The agreement includes a 15-year 100 percent real estate tax abatement in exchange for construction of a pair of multi-million dollar large-scale buildings on a speculation basis and the creation of a minimum 80 new jobs.
City Development Director Lucas Haire said Opus has three years to hit the minimum job ceiling and, if everything falls into place, anticipates getting the project underway in early summer.
Once the buildings are up and running, the city would get 75 percent of the payroll income tax revenue and share the remaining 25 percent with the school district, which is guaranteed a minimum revenue stream of $100,000.
The decision came after the Canal Winchester Board of Education approved a similar agreement with the company at its March 18 meeting.
An ordinance to rezone the 69 acre tract from exceptional use to limited manufacturing was tabled at its third reading earlier this year, but is expected to be up for final action in May.
Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Nick Roberts said the district will benefit directly by receiving payments in lieu of taxes.
“We obviously won’t receive the amount we would have received with no abatement, but this helps offset about 60 percent of the loss in revenue,” said Roberts.“Indirectly, the district could be benefit from the number of jobs that the facility will create. Jobs bring more people to Canal Winchester to purchase homes and increase income tax base. It will most likely take a year or two to begin receiving payments since most of the revenue is related to payroll.”
Haire said the CRA was initially created in early November. The large document up for approval by council was delivered to members just days before council’s April 1 meeting. This is the first post-1994 CRA created by the city.
Roberts said the district has a few abatements expiring over the next several years and once they expire, the entities will begin paying property tax.
However, he said the revenue stream will provide minimal tax increases.