Board OKs sale of Park Road property

Thursday, March 2, 2006

ThisWeek Staff Writer

For the second time in less than a year, the Worthington Board of Education has approved the sale of 17 acres of land it owns on Park Road.

This time, the board directed treasurer Jonathan Boyd to enter into a contract with Village Communities, which has made an offer of $2,650,000 for the vacant land on Park Road, next to Flint Road Park.

The developer plans to build 84 one-floor and 24 townhouse condominiums on the site.

Last June, at a public auction, Dominion Homes was the high bidder, agreeing to pay $2,645,000 for the property.

But Dominion backed out of the contract in December, citing market pressures. It forfeited a $50,000 deposit.

The new contract is $5,000 higher than Dominion's, and the purchaser will pay a $100,000 deposit.

Board members on Monday praised Boyd for being able to sell the property so quickly, and at a higher price.

"He did a very nice deal for us in saving us from a shortfall," said board member David Bressman.

Board members are also pleased with the quality and size of the development planned by Planned Communities.

The one-floor condos will be similar to those at the Villages at Forest Ridge, which is located around the corner from the site on Flint Road.

They will be 1,500 square feet to 1.800 square feet in size, and sell for $180,000 to $230,000 each.

The two-story condos will be built along the railroad tracks. They will be 1,850 square feet and sell for $180,000 to $190,000.

The condos will be marketed to empty-nesters.

With relatively high selling prices and few children, the development should benefit the district, said board member Bob Horton.

"What is going in is exactly what we're looking for," he said.

Far North Columbus Communities Coalition members had generally positive comments when they viewed preliminary plans last month.

That was not so with the plans presented six months ago by Dominion. That proposal included 102 detached, single-family homes ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 1,800 square feet. The houses were to be built six feet apart and range in price from $180,00 to $200,000.

FNCCC member Eric Harned called the houses "cracker boxes." The group voted against the proposal 6-2.

Also at Monday's meeting, the board heard from Highland Avenue resident Mike Alfred, who said the board, administration, and employee associations need to be looking at long-term solutions to funding problems.

Voters in May will face a 6.25 combination operating and permanent improvements levy. This will be the third levy in five years, and Boyd has said another will be needed in two years.

"I don't believe more levies is a solution to the problem," Alfred said.