By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester is looking to increase commercial development in the city on land on the western edge of town.
During a Nov. 5 Canal Winchester City Council meeting, an ordinance entering into a real estate agreement for 110 acres on the south side of Bixby road—not far from the Gender Road commercial corridor—was approved. According to Development Director Lucas Haire, the purchase is dependent on factors such as annexation and soil test borings.
“There are a number of easements and a significant part is in the floodplain,” said Haire. “The goal is to bring in zoned limited manufacturing and sell it for future industrial use.”
The property is owned by a single entity and Haire said there is no reason why an annexation request by the owner would be turned down. Once an annexation request is initiated, the development director said it takes approximately three to four months to complete the process.
“We need to first do due diligence,” said Haire in outlining the steps in determining if the property meets the needs of the city. “This site could support thousands of jobs, depending on what goes in there.”
Councilman Bob Clark felt the $941,000 purchase was a critical move for the city and one that will reap future benefits in economic development.
According to Council President Bruce Jarvis, the city’s first industrial development, Canal Pointe, only has a couple of small parcels available.
“It’s been 20 years since that development began, which was a calculated experiment at the time to control the type and quality of development and make some money,” said Jarvis. “We actually profited from Canal Pointe and it was very successful. We need a follow-on industrial park and hope this site works out. And if they every build an interchange at (U.S. 33 and) Bixby Road, this site would be in the right place at the right time. It’s our Act II to Canal Pointe.”
Jarvis said, although two-thirds of the Bixby Road site is already located in the city’s corporation limits, the remainder would need to be annexed and while there are some floodplain issues, he said the proposal was well received by everyone.
The 110.77 acre site is owned by Willis M. Alspach, Joan A. Alspach and David Benjamin Alspach. The ordinance authorizing the real estate agreement was approved under emergency language after the second and third readings were waived.