Northgate may outpace similar projects

By Lenny C. Lepola - For The Gazette

Infrastructure improvements in the Northgate area may actually accelerate growth in eastern Delaware County, a recent report states.

Northgate Commerce District principal Pat Shively and Phil Craig, a representative of The Craig Group, attended the May 18 Sunbury Village Council finance committee meeting to deliver a “Regionomics” report that estimates New Community Authority revenues derived from the NorthGate development at the proposed Interstate 71 southern interchange.

During a Jan. 21, 2015, Village Council meeting, council members approved ordinances that established a New Community Authority (NCA) to collect various forms of tax dollars and charges on new development by NorthGate Land Consortium I LLC to pay for public infrastructure as NorthGate develops.

An NCA is a separate public body governed by a board of trustees that may oversee, coordinate, construct and finance public infrastructure improvements and community facilities.

NorthGate is a proposed commercial development 4,000 feet south of the I-71 and Routes 36/37 interchange that would include the second, southern I-71 interchange – technically, a reliever interchange needed to offset increased traffic caused by the Simon-Tanger outlet-store mall that opens in June.

A Northgate Centre Development LLC press release, presented along with a “Regionomics” study, notes that the Northgate NCA would develop to a greater degree than many similar projects anchored by an outlet center because of the growth potential of the area: Columbus is growing north, and Delaware County’s population has tripled since 1990.

The “Regionomics” report, authored by Bill LaFayette, cites Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) projections indicating continued growth trends in Delaware County without infrastructure improvements; but also finds that significant improvements to infrastructure in the area may result in growth significantly greater than that projected by MORPC.

These improvements include the new interchange itself and Sunbury Parkway, another east/west corridor to supplement the existing Route 36/37 corridor, as well as increased sewer capacity from the village of Sunbury and Delaware County.

The report states that because of these improvements, existing population projections may understate actual future growth; and that the NCA area will attract residents and investment because infrastructure will improve access and, in the case of sanitary sewer upgrades, make development more feasible.

LaFayette used the 25-year pattern of development in the area surrounding the Tuttle Crossing I-270 interchange to benchmark the pace and scale of the Northgate NCA area. Lafayette predicts that over the next 20 years, Northgate’s total developed square footage would exceed 4 million square feet of retail, a multi-dealership auto mall, multiple hotels, restaurants and fast-food locations, office space, medical and hospital facilities, and a sports complex.

Craig said that while the Regionomics study revenue predictions are conservative, the projections show that in as early as 2018, a yearly NCA income of $2.7 million and in year 2036 yearly income to the NCA of $17.4 million.

Asked about the significance of the study, Craig said that because of the projected commercial development, lending institutions would be willing to invest in NorthGate Centre-related infrastructure improvements.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected]

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected]