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Kingsdale: Thinking Outside the Big Box

Progressive viewpoint:

To better the quality of life for Upper Arlington residents, the city must carefully guide the development of commercial and industrial property. Progressives want to increase revenue from commercial property, to keep property taxes down. The way to reach the goal is through careful planning and implementation, as well as actively seeking innovative partnerships with the private sector. It will not be achieved by passively waiting for new, unwise development to enrich the city.

Candidates’ stance:

Empty stores and parking lots at Kingsdale Shopping Mall testify to the need to form a private-public partnership, like the ones that have proven so successful elsewhere. Incumbents Ed Seidel and Mary Ann Krauss call for creative private/public partnerships, like the one that led to Creekside Gahanna, a combination of offices, retail shops and condominiums. The 10-year project helped inspire Gahanna’s 2007 ranking as one of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live.

After years of talking, Kingsdale owners Regency Centers LP only recently actually submitted plans. But they do not dovetail with the Master Plan vision of a high-density complex with office, retail and residential spaces.

The plan instead calls for a “big-box” building, with a blank wall the length of a football field facing Northwest Boulevard. An analysis of the proposal shows very little change in retail space and property value. That also means very little income tax revenue – about $55,000 per year. On the other hand, if the 14-acre site were filled with office buildings, the city could get $720,000 in annual income taxes.

Now is time to hold tough, and Krauss and Seidel are prepared to do just that. They want to think outside the “big box,” and build on the progress they have made negotiating with a new, more flexible Regency team. But candidates Leslie Heath and Dan McCormick want to walk away from the negotiating table, letting developers 'dictate' the future of Kingsdale.

Keep the experienced negotiating team at the table. Support enlightened development through innovation. Vote for Ed Seidel and Mary Ann Krauss.


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