Panzera

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Council President Panzera on the Grandview Crossing development

Published July 9, 2015 by justicewg
The dirt pile

The dirt pile

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

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The city has a new blog on its website

Published August 31, 2014 by justicewg
Grandview City blog

Grandview City blog

Late in July, with little fanfare, the city of Grandview Heights started posting a new blog on its website. The name of it is not going to win any awards for creativity, it is called the City of Grandview Heights Blog.

I’ve been following it for the past couple of months, my general impression is “what took them so long?” Blogs are now the main venues for public relations of any business or city, along with the combination of Facebook, Twitter, and other online hangouts that are grouped into the “social media” label. With the fast pace of change the Grandview Yard development has been throwing at the city residents, it was long overdue for this blog to be born.

The Yard rules all

As anyone would expect, the blog is dominated by Grandview Yard news, a Faq, and announcements of public hearings on Yard developments. Since the announcement of the Nationwide Insurance campus back at the end of June, the city has tried to use newspaper stories to lay out the changes and strategy that the city will be following, but there is limited space a newspaper will allocate for what is essentially free public relations. This blog hopefully will keep the flow of information open with the taxpayers.

I have to admit, there was a story here in Grandview about the changes to the Stevenson parking, and the removal of trees for a re-designed intersection of First Avenue and Northwest Boulevard, that I missed. I was on vacation! Former city council president Steve Reynolds lead a group of residents in a protest about the cutting of trees for this project, even placing blue ribbons around the trees (which the city removed the next day). I still plan to try to get some comment from Reynolds about his protest – was it about the trees, or was it more about the process that the city used to fast track this plan, with little resident comment allowed?

It did seem to prod the city into holding more meetings. There have been a series of meetings to take suggestions for Northwest Boulevard Infrastructure Improvement Project ( the next meeting will be September 2nd). The Aug. 29th blog post details some modifications that the city will now use, saving a few of the trees.

Panzera being Panzera

Council President Anthony Panzera had a post with a long series of question and answers about the Yard, and how the development will affect the city in coming years. It’s a competent bit of writing, and probably hits all the points that people have been asking about the changes the city is likely to go through. He included a large photo of himself, in case you forgot what he looks like.

When he gets to the end and starts going into a long story about all the old familiar places that he used to shop at when he was young, that are long gone, I could almost hear the harps twanging as we took the soft focus drift back in time. Yea, that was as subtle as a hammer. Some people think Panzera is just too overt in his playing the political game. Others find it at least predictable, you don’t need to wonder when Panzera is trying to game you, the answer is, “always”.

BF story

B.F. story

Blogging has rules

The online world is filled with people linking to other blogs, quoting each other, showing images of content, and sometimes outright stealing content. The fact that it is all free to read gets confused with the idea that a physical object you are given is yours to reuse as you see fit. There are rules on the internet, and although you can go a long time with flaunting them, you will eventually run into someone who will slap you down.

Linking to somebody else’s work is fine. Taking short quotes from that work to illustrate a point in a review is fair use. However, taking a scan of a newspaper story – the whole story, not just a section – and posting it on the city blog is not cool. The story in Business First about Mayor DeGraw was a fine bit of bragging about the Yard, and it included a funny photo that made it stand out. You can’t scan the newspaper stories that you want to save and post them online like it was a scrapbook, the reporters at B.F. have this thing about being paid for the use of whole stories. I’m sure they explained this to the person at the city who removed the post from the city blog.

Here is another rule – blogging requires allowing comments from your readers. You don’t have to leave the welcome mat out for every crank with a malfunctioning caps lock key, holding comments for approval is common (that’s how I do it on this blog). If you don’t allow comments, it isn’t a blog, its just a PR release that happens to be placed on the web. I’m hoping the city realizes that it isn’t a real communication channel unless it is two way.