OBETZ, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — A sprawling $1 billion mixed-use development is in the works in Obetz.
The development, called Buckstone, will occupy about 800 acres at the corner of Lockbourne and Rathmell roads. It’s slated to include commercial space and amenities such as public parks, pools and waterfront access, City Administrator Rod Davisson told Columbus Business First.
Buckstone will include a 143-acre commercial section with a wide variety of uses. Davisson said it will make use of a “Neo-Bavarian” design, combining stone elements inspired by German architecture with modern staples such as steel and glass.
“It’s flexible in the sense that we can adapt to the market changes,” Davisson said. “We want to be, and that’s the hallmark of Obetz, we want to be nimble. We want to attract the amenities our residents want regardless of the state of the world.”
A 245-acre portion of the site will see the development of single-family homes, townhomes and apartments, Davisson said. This will include 252 single-family homes from Pulte and 424 single-family homes developed by Lenar Homes.
The average value of the single-family homes is predicted to be around $400,000, Davisson said.
The 288 apartments will be developed by former Columbus Blue Jacket Brandon Dubinsky’s firm JBM Development and sit on the same plat of land as the Pulte homes, taking up more than 126 acres.
Jeff Baur, principal at JBM Development, said his firm’s apartments are slated to break ground in May of this year.
“We think there’s a need for apartments outside of I-270,” Baur said. “We think there’s a desperate need for housing to accommodate the (job) growth.”
Davisson said the single-family housing developments should start construction this year as well.
The remaining 387.3 acres haven’t been annexed into Obetz yet, Davisson said. The city is waiting until the owners of the land want to annex it before planning future development.
“It could be anything really,” Davisson said.
The project is one of several large-scale mixed-use developments underway Central Ohio. Grove City’s sprawling 210-acre Beulah Park is nearing completion and Delaware County’s 1,200-acre Evans Farm mega-development is already eying its third phase.
Davisson said he estimates it will take about five years for all Buckstone’s residential units to be built out, although inflation and interest rates could impact that timeline.
Once the housing is built, the city will then have funding, through tax revenue, for infrastructure to complete the project’s commercial vision, which Davisson hopes will be done in 10 years.
The commercial portion is also being funded via a community reinvestment area and non-school tax increment financing.
When planning for the project began in June 2021, Davisson said the city was already feeling pressure and demand for housing, given the region’s shortage. Then, Intel announced its plan to build two semiconductor plants in New Albany, creating thousands of jobs, which Davisson said added to the pressure.
He said the city moved quickly to get the planning underway for this undertaking, and that it would typically take years to do what the town of just more than 5,400 has done in about seven months.
“This is how government has to move now,” Davisson said.”It’s all dovetailing very nicely together. We’re going to be able to help support the regional growth and deliver a world-class project south of I-70.”
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