The developer of the Grandview Crossing shopping center at the corner of Dublin and Grandview Ave. has not talked very much about his plans for the tenants he will try to bring in. The only hint we have is the announcement that he was looking for “junior big-box” stores, similar to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I asked the city council President if he had any clues to the future of the development, and how it might affect the traffic on that section of Grandview Avenue.
Why developers are so secretive
Picking the perfect mix of tenants in a shopping center is not a matter of finding the businesses who will offer to pay the most rent. A highly complex formula is needed to find the needs of the nearby communities, and build a mix of businesses that will attract shoppers enough to spend time in multiple stores. As you might guess, there are software solutions that are formulated as a nonlinear integer program and solved using a linear approximation. Businesses who can predict the needs of the developers will ask for lower tenant rates, knowing their acceptance into the center is a vital part in the mix. It’s a complex dance, and it doesn’t enhance the profitability for developers to telegraph the next moves.
It also doesn’t help to give opponents to certain retail chains a head start in organizing community opposition. During the previous attempt to build on this corner Walmart was named as a possible anchor, and council member Panzara was one of the leaders in the opposition.
Thoughts from the city council president
I asked Mr Panzera two questions, will we see a return of Walmart, and how will the city deal with more traffic in the G.C. Area.
Little is confirmed regarding the Grandview Crossing development, and, as you pointed out correctly, much of it lies inside the municipality of Columbus. The history of the site certainly has made it a great undertaking, and it has been tried before on a couple of occasions within the past 15 years. This time it obviously looks like it will be a reality.
The last time this was seriously considered was around a decade ago, with a developer named Bear Creek. Although I don’t believe they publicly named a user at that time, it was widely believed (pretty much known) that they were working with Wal-Mart, as they had a number of sites developed “for” Wal-Mart. They seemed to work with them regularly based on the developments featured on the Bear Creek website – and those that were familiar with their work.
In this case, it seems that we have a more dynamic developer, and Wal-Mart is not a desired tenant. We will again be required to work with the city of Columbus to make it a unified development, and hopefully one that provides benefit to the area. As you know, retail is among the lower performers of revenue to the city, but it does have a necessity.
We were successful in keeping Grandview Yard largely void of big-box and “junior” big-box stores, yet, had it not been valued at some 500k per acre, it would have been far more attractive to big-box. The Kaplan Tract land acquired for this Grandview Crossing development was *significantly* less, like a fraction. I’m afraid we have a bit less traction in this case due to so much land being in Columbus, but I do feel a certain comfort knowing that we have a more locally involved developer. So, it’s a balancing act; we don’t want to end up with simply a giant parking lot on the Grandview Heights side – one large enough to hold a sea of cars for a big-box that Columbus could approve on the land that they control. At the same time, we have to be practical about the appropriateness of a retail-style development on Dublin Rd.
Our hope is that the developer will keep to their stated desire to avoid big-box, that would be a worst-worst-worst case scenario for Grandview Heights, and one that would certainly not have our support.
As for the traffic on Grandview ave, I have strongly asked for the ingress-egress to be limited to Dublin Rd, far east of Grandview ave. There’s already increased traffic expected on Grandview ave south of Goodale from Grandview Yard, and I am aware that this could be an additional burden. I am not in favor of an entrance near the current Napa store. I believe (as a resident and Council member – not a traffic engineer) that this would overly-congest and complicate the railroad crossing among other complaints.
There’s a glimpse of my thoughts, stay in touch.
– Anthony Panzera