After more than two years of planning, ballot measures designed to impede progress and a public battle with a school district, officials behind the planned Berkshire Township outlet-store shopping mall have announced an official ground-breaking date.
Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers of North Carolina announced late Wednesday that it will hold an official ground-breaking ceremony at the site just off the Interstate 71 interchange at U.S. 36-Ohio 37 on June 25.
“We are eager to begin construction and look forward to bringing a first-class customer experience to residents and visitors of the Delaware County area,” Steven B. Tanger, president and CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers said in a press release. “The ground-breaking ceremony will give Tanger Outlets the opportunity to share the exciting retail opportunities that will be featured at the new center, as well as highlight the positive economic impact the new center will have on the community.”
More than 400 construction jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the 350,000 square-foot outlet mall that will house more than 80 upscale brand-name and designer-outlet stores.
Once the outlet mall is open in 2016, more than 900 full- and part-time jobs will be created.
“We look forward to bringing designer brands at a great value to shoppers in the Columbus area,” Stephen Yalof, CEO at Simon Premium Outlets, said in a press release. “We are proud to be partners in this project that we expect will be a success for many years to come.”
Development of the mall hit several speed bumps along the way. Shortly after the death of former Berkshire Township Trustee Bob Carpenter, the two remaining trustees split in a 1-1 vote to approve the zoning change necessary for the project. The tie vote essentially upheld a prior vote by the township’s zoning board to approve the change.
However, the zoning change was subjected to a referendum. Township voters upheld the change by just 20 votes.
A Joint Economic Development District at the site also faced a referendum at the ballot. Township voters overwhelmingly upheld the special taxing district in May.
The developers were also criticized by Big Walnut Local School District officials over the creation of a Tax Increment Financing district at the site. A Tax Increment Financing district is a public-financing mechanism that diverts property tax revenue from value added to developed land into a fund dedicated to infrastructure improvements in the designated area.
By 2028, when a Tax Increment Financing district expires, the development is expected to generate more than $1 million annually for the district. Until then, however, the development will bring in just $375,000 each year for the school district.
The Tax Increment Financing District – along with a New Community Authority – will help pay for $16 million worth of road improvements in time for the outlet mall’s expected opening in 2016. Another $16.5 million worth of improvements are planned by 2035.
The outlet mall is expected to generate $19.7 million in sales tax revenue in its first 10 years in operation.