Nationwide Office Relocation Plan Takes Steps Forward in Grandview

Nationwide Insurance is the fifth largest employer in Central Ohio, and is working on plans to relocate roughly 3,000 of its employees closer to the core of the region. More specifically, those employees may soon be headed to Grandview Yard, the 100-acre mixed-use area in Grandview Heights being developed by the Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) arm of the company.

The plan to construct 500,000 square feet of new Class-A office space would boost Grandview Yard’s current total to 700,000, and would represent a $100 million private investment in the area over the next five years. The development would take the form of two large four-story buildings shaped like the letters H and I from above, bookended by square parking structures to the north and south of the offices, effectively creating an “O-H-I-O” readout from a birds-eye view.

This phase of the project would also include the addition of another 135-room hotel and 13,000 square feet of conference space, which would be located at the corner of Yard Street and Goodale Boulevard and slated to open in 2016.

NRI presented the plan to Grandview Heights City Council tonight, projecting that the development would add over $7.7 million in annual payroll taxes to the city’s coffers by the year 2020, and roughly $235 million in taxable property values by the same year, which is a larger figure than the entire city of Grandview Heights currently.

Council President Anthony Panzera expressed personal support for the project, and fielded neighborhood concerns about emergency legislation and TIF funding usage for this phase of the project.

Additional concerns were raised by residents about increases in traffic throughout the neighborhood, as well as to arterial roads like Third Avenue and Goodale Boulevard. NRI President Brian Ellis said pointed out that all roads are being built out to accommodate full capacity of the entire site, and not just incremental development. Further, he joked that he would never hear the end of it from his fellow Nationwide coworkers if they failed to properly accommodate traffic capacities in the area.

Ellis stated that the construction and relocation process would take place over multiple phases. Their first move would take place in the Spring of 2016 and a series of moves would continue through the Spring/Summer of 2019, which would be timed with the expiration of leases in existing office locations in the Dublin and Westerville areas.

Tonight’s special City Council meeting represented the first reading of the ordinances proposed to move forward with the project. The second reading will take place on July 7th and a final reading on July 18th.

Article by Walker Evans, Columbus Underground
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