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Grandview Yard A Thriving Redevelopment

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Sam Hendren
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WOSU 89.7

On Monday evening, March 18th WOSU TV presents the latest installment in its Columbus Neighborhoods series.  This evening’s presentation is “Tri-Village,” a profile of the communities of Upper Arlington, Marble Cliff and Grandview Heights.  A part of Grandview is undergoing some dramatic redevelopment.

Nearly a decade ago, city leaders in Grandview Heights wanted to redevelop a stretch of run-down commercial property just west of Route 315.  It was land that once housed the defunct Big Bear grocery chain warehouse.

Today, the nearly 100-acre district is known as Grandview Yard.  It’s a mix of office, hotel, retail and residential space.  The property is bounded by Goodale Boulevard on the South and 3rd Street on the North.  At a ground breaking ceremony in 2010, Grandview mayor Ray DeGraw predicted the project would be a success due in part to its location.

“Our proximity to OSU, Battelle, to downtown, The Ohio State University and the many medical centers has attracted so much interest and redevelopment in this area that we knew that somebody would come along and see our vision,” DeGraw says.

Somebody did.  Nationwide Realty Investors.  The company began constructing the $500 million project five years ago.  Now there are restaurants, a hotel, offices and apartments.  And more construction is underway.  But early on, the huge development raised concerns.  Tracy Liberatore, president of the local historical society, says she did not want to see Grandview’s small-town-feel change.

“It’s so special because it’s just this little Mayberry town.  And, seriously, everybody sits on their front porch. People walk by, they come up for a visit.  Everybody’s walking right now they’re all out walking.  And walking their dogs and their strollers and they communicate,” Liberatore says.

Create thousands of jobs and open retail and residential venues and there are bound to be consequences such as increased traffic which worried residents.  But so far, Liberatore says, the impact has been minimal.

“I think it’s been a positive.  I’m never one who wants to change things drastically but sometimes you have to move forward, though, and those buildings were empty and unused and it’s really turned out to be a very attractive project and very well received,” Liberatore says.

Not only attractive, it’s pumping money into the Grandview Heights income tax base nearly doubling it.  The city of Grandview did give Grandview Yard a 25 percent real estate tax abatement for 15 years. 

But there will be a surge in workers coming to Grandview Yard in the coming years.  Nationwide Insurance is building a Grandview campus where more than 3,000 employees will work in 500,000 square feet of new office space.

Time will surely tell about the wisdom of creating Grandview Yard but so far it seems like a wise investment.  And Grandview’s Mayberry atmosphere has been preserved.

“Those empty warehouses sitting on all that land doing nothing would be ridiculous to just leave them sit there to fall apart.  But I do think it’s a step forward in the right direction as long as it doesn’t change the way we do things around here,” Liberatore says.

Learn more about Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff.  Watch Columbus Neighborhood: Tri-Village Monday, March 18th at 9 pm on WOSU-TV.