Council gives initial approval to development bond

Columbus has taken another step toward funding a mixed-use development downtown that includes a multi-family/urban grocer concept.

The Columbus City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass on first reading an ordinance that would allow the city to issue up to $11 million in bonds to help finance the project.

However, ordinances require passage during two readings to be approved. The second reading is scheduled for Nov. 2.

The project would include a 15,000-square-foot grocery store and a four-story apartment building with approximately 200 units at the southeast corner of Lafayette Avenue and Second Street, according to a site plan by developer Flaherty & Collins.

Deron Kintner with Flaherty & Collins has said each floor of the complex is likely to be around 55,150 square feet, making the total square footage at more than 220,000 square feet.

Currently, an official grocer for the site has not been announced, though Nicholas Blewett with Bloomingfoods Co-op Market has confirmed that the company had discussions with the developer about “fulfilling the grocer component of this project.”

The overall project cost was previously estimated to be about $40 million. Redevelopment Director Heather Pope said the developer is expected to pay about 70% of the project cost.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission has committed to contribute $11.8 million to the project, said Bruce Donaldson, who is a bond counsel with Barnes & Thornburg.

“The proposal that has been submitted to the council is a bond in the amount of not-to-exceed $11 million with the potential contribution of up to $2 million in cash from the redevelopment commission,” he said. “That would then net the $11.8 million and pay for potentially reserve funds and costs of issuance.”

The city plans to recover its share of the costs through property taxes on the new development, Pope said.

Flaherty & Collins has committed to a guarantee that new property taxes generated from the project “will be a minimum of $500,000 a year for 25 years.”

“In all likelihood, those taxes will be more than that, but we got a minimum guarantee of that,” Donaldson said. “So that’s $12.5 million over a 25-year life.”