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Getting retail in plane view?


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Columbus Municipal Airport will subdivide property on the airport’s west side to create 14 lots in an effort to attract retail business to the AirPark.

Restaurants, stores, nail salons and other retail businesses would be the potential tenants, specifically targeting students at IUPUC, Ivy Tech Community College, Harrison College and Trine University, said Brian Payne, airport director.

The AirPark has had some interest from potential commercial developers, but possible deals cannot begin until the land is subdivided, Payne said.

“With the student housing that will be going in fairly soon, we’re going to need additional retail and commercial space,” he said.

Columbus Redevelopment Commission approved hiring Columbus-based firm E.R. Gray and Associates to create the subdivision plat and construction plans, agreeing to pay them $23,000.

The land being subdivided is located on the southwest corner of Poshard Drive and Central Avenue.

When the subdivision is created, the airport’s development plan would need to be changed to allow commercial and retail uses, and Vickers Drive would need to be extended from Whitney Court to Poshard Drive, Payne said. The extension would be a street giving access to the subdivided lots.

The Vickers Drive extension would be paid for with tax-increment financing bonds and could be bid by spring 2015 with a construction date sometime later that summer, Payne said.

Airport officials also are looking at a preliminary future use plan that would include the town center retail area, indoor sports facilities, hotels, a People Trail extension, additional student housing and new parking areas.

The plan also calls for new air-related business buildings, future airplane hangars and a solar farm that would house rows of solar panels to generate electricity.

Payne said he hopes the aviation commission will adopt the plan later this month so he can meet with City Planning Director Jeff Bergman to begin the process of amending the airport’s use plan.

Any changes would have to be proposed to the Columbus planning department, and the city plan commission would decide whether to recommend approval, Bergman said. The Columbus City Council would then have final say on the changes.

So far, the airport’s use plan has been amended to add more parking configuration options and to allow a student housing project in the AirPark, said Bergman.

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