Quarry purchase means residential and commercial redevelopment, and a new Metro Park.
Columbus-based Wagenbrenner Development will leverage its expertise in the redevelopment of tainted industrial property to transform a 568-acre quarry property into a residential and commercial project anchored by a new Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park.
The urban developer expects to close on the purchase of the quarry later this year with its California owner. It's located north of Trabue Road between the Scioto River and Dublin Road.
Development of 62 acres as the inaugural park section and 80 acres of housing could begin as early as 2018 with the extension of roads and utilities into the site.
“It's an extremely interesting environment, with a mix of mined-out quarry, open spaces and wooded areas,” says Metro Parks Executive Director Tim Moloney.
Features will include nature trails, picnic areas, canoeing, mountain biking and quarry wall climbing. It also will connect to regional bike trails. “Once you have more than 50 acres in a park, it's a different world.”
Metro Parks had targeted the quarry property as a potential urban park more than 10 years ago as part of its pledge to have a Metro Park within five miles of every Franklin County resident.
But the property once served as an industrial waste landfill, and gravel producer Shelly Materials Inc., has an extended lease to continue mining the north end of the property, complicating redevelopment.
“Because of the uses of the land, it became a brownfield of sorts,” Moloney says.
Wagenbrenner Development has extensive brownfield redevelopment experience with the former Gowdy Field site near Downtown and the former Columbus Coated Fabrics site in the Weinland Park neighborhood.
“We're working with the experts on the redevelopment of brownfield sites,” Moloney adds.
Wagenbrenner General Counsel Joe Reidy says the developer expects to use the tax-increment financing diversion of increased property taxes and other economic development tools to finance roads and utilities for the park facilities and homes.
“We can share the infrastructure financed by the economic engine of the new development,” he says.
The Scioto River has attracted significant residential development in the last 20-plus years.
The gated Scioto Pointe and Lane Woods communities sit on the east bank of the river at Trabue Road and Riverside Drive.
The luxury River's Gate community, where Wagenbrenner developed the land and sold off lots to other builders, sits on the Scioto's west bank at Fishinger Road, while the middle-market Limestone Pointe single-family development off Dublin Road abuts the quarry between Roberts and Trabue roads.
Wagenbrenner has not released price targets for its single-family residences and multifamily products at the quarry. But Reidy says the park will appeal to young adults and empty nesters who want to indulge active lifestyles. “The opportunity is for our buyers and renters to walk out their front door and into a new park,” Reidy says.
Upper Arlington City Manager Ted Staton says he had heard “rumblings” in recent months of the Metro Parks' renewed interest in the quarry, which the city had eyed several years ago for athletic fields when Moloney served as the city's director of parks and recreation.
“We walked the site because we're short of parkland, particularly for active recreation.”
While the topography makes soccer and baseball fields unlikely, Staton still welcomes the planned park. “I think our residents will be excited to have a Metro Park so close.”
Expansion of the park will eventually move north, determined by the pace and siting of future Wagenbrenner projects and how long quarry operations remain active.
“Our intent,” Moloney says, “is to grow that footprint.”
Brian Ball is a freelance writer.