Council To Consider Grener, Jerman Agreements

At a glance

On Monday, Oct. 26, Hilliard City Council will consider agreements for the sale and purchase of multiple parcels of land. If these agreements are approved, it will pave the way for development of new community sports fields and other parkland, as well as construction of a data center development. Here are the highlights of what will happen if these agreements are approved:

  • The City owns nearly 97 acres of property on land between Cosgray Road and Leppert Road, known as the Grener property. The City will buy an additional 20 acres of land from Hilliard City School District.
  • The City of Hilliard will sell 104 acres to a company that plans to build a $200 million data center development on the site, creating 100 new jobs with an annual payroll of $8 million. 
  • The City will use at least 75 percent of the proceeds from the Grener property sale to purchase, develop, or improve parkland.
  • The City will buy 125 acres of land (the Jerman property) south of Scioto-Darby Creek Road, between Municipal Park and existing City-owned athletic fields. The Jerman property is more viable for development of athletic fields and other park amenities than the Grener property.
  • The Jerman property purchase will produce other community benefits, including the addition of a road through the site that will improve traffic flow.
  • Our community will help plan this new park.

Two Projects, Numerous Benefits

The sale of Grener and purchase of Jerman will result in numerous community benefits.

“There are several major steps and multiple parties involved in these agreements, but they will benefit the entire community,” said Council President Andy Teater. “The City will be able to develop new parkland with more sports fields, which would not be possible without the revenue generated through this proposal. Hilliard schools will see additional revenues without an influx of new students. High-paying jobs also will be created, boosting our local economy.”

Here’s what’s planned:

Grener Property

In 2015 and 2016, the City purchased approximately 103 acres of land between Cosgray and Leppert roads. The City sold 6.5 acres of that land for the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Facility in 2016. (A detailed history can be found below.)  This real estate was originally intended to be developed by the City for athletic fields, but was deemed to be financially impractical for that purpose.

As part of the current agreement, the City will buy an additional 20 acres of adjacent land from the school district. The City will sell approximately 104 acres of land to a company that plans to construct a $200 million data center complex on the property. The City will continue to own 12.5 acres, used in part for an existing parking lot.

The benefits of this agreement include:

  • Hilliard City Schools will receive $2.8 million from the sale of land. Schools also will receive an estimated $2 million per year in revenues when the project is fully developed. This commercial development will not add more students to Hilliard Schools.
  • Norwich Township will receive an estimated $70,700 per year in new property tax revenues.
  • The City will receive $11.76 million from the land sale, 75 percent of which will be used to buy, develop, or improve parkland that will include sports fields and other amenities. With the proceeds of this sale, the City will have $8.8 million to develop land for amenities such as parks, recreation facilities, and athletic fields elsewhere in the City.
  • The community will benefit economically from approximately 100 jobs paying an average of approximately $80,000 per year.
  • The City will receive approximately $160,000 per year in new income tax revenues.
  • In anticipation of a company buying the land, the City rezoned the site, putting in place specific standards such as significant setbacks from Cosgray and Leppert roads, extensive landscaping and mounding, and architectural standards that would ensure a high-quality development. (View conceptual renderings of the site and views from Cosgray and Leppert Roads.)
  • Once constructed, data centers are a low-impact use that generate minimal traffic and require few demands on City and community services compared to many other types of developments, such as residential and retail projects.

Jerman Property Development

In a second agreement, the City of Hilliard, in collaboration with the Hilliard Development Corporation, will purchase 125 acres of land (known as the Jerman property) along Scioto-Darby Creek Road, just west of and adjacent to Municipal Park. The park will be developed to include active sports fields and other amenities that were not financially practical on the Grener site. The Jerman property is better suited than the Grener property for the City’s future athletic fields.

The benefits of this project will include:

  • New parkland is adjacent to Municipal Park and existing City-owned athletic fields, which allows for greater efficiencies and scaling of field space.
  • Provides the capacity for additional sports fields to meet the need of youth and adult athletics in Hilliard.
  • Additional park amenities to be determined through the community input and design processes.
  • Provides access for the City to finish important stream restoration of the Clover Groff Ditch which is important for the health of the Big Darby watershed.
  • This site provides the real estate needed to complete the Cosgray Road connector, which extends Cosgray Road southwest until it connects into Alton Darby Creek Road. This connection will relieve traffic congestion at the Alton Darby Creek and Scioto Darby Creek intersection and is critical to ensuring that the city can meet traffic safety and capacity needs for the foreseeable future.

Jerman property map

Beneficial to City, Schools

These projects are expected to benefit the City, the School District, and the community.

“As the various parts of this plan are executed, Hilliard will benefit from new parkland development, increased revenue for our schools, and a boost to the local economy with minimal impact to services,” Teater said. “This is the kind of high-caliber development communities across the country are actively competing to attract. The fact that Hilliard is seen as a destination for this type of high-tech opportunity speaks highly of our community.”

Brian Wilson, Hilliard City School District treasurer, said the district views this deal as a win for all involved.

“We are very appreciative of the City working with us on this economic development project,” Wilson said. “Certainly an added benefit is the sale of the property, which will result in additional dollars for capital improvement projects in the District.”

Help us plan the new park

One of the next steps for the City of Hilliard will be to seek community feedback about the kinds of amenities it would like to see in this future park. Residents are encouraged to share their thoughts by clicking on “Jerman Parkland Development” at Talk2Us.hilliardohio.gov.

History and Background

2003: The School District bought 123.6 acres of property east of Cosgray Road and west of Leppert Road from the Grener family.

2015: The City realized there was a community need for additional soccer fields to meet the demand for youth sports. The School District’s undeveloped Grener property was identified as a possible site for such fields. The District sold the City 56 acres for $2.26 million.

2016: The City bought an additional 47 acres from the District for $1.88 million. In June, the City sold 6.5 acres for construction of the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Facility for $292,500. The Sports Commission was organized to develop plans for the Grener property.

2019: The City’s Sports Commission presented concept plans to develop the Grener property with athletic fields and other amenities. When the plan was announced, the Commission’s estimated price tag for onsite improvements and utilities exceeded $34 million. City officials determined this cost made development of the Grener site into sports fields financially unfeasible.

2020: The City began exploring solutions, which included the possible sale of the property for data centers. Wanting to be prepared to take advantage of such an important opportunity if it became available, City Council modified zoning for the Grener property in June 2020 to allow for the possibility of data centers. The language included with Council’s rezoning put in place specific standards such as significant setbacks from Cosgray and Leppert roads, extensive landscaping and mounding, and architectural standards that would ensure a high-quality development.

The benefits of the Grener agreement include:

  • Hilliard City Schools will receive $2.8 million from the sale of land and an estimated $2 million per year in revenues. This commercial development will not add more students to Hilliard Schools.
  • The City will receive $11.76 million from the land sale, 75 percent of which will be used to buy, develop, or improve parkland that will include sports fields and other amenities. With the proceeds of this sale, the City will have $8.8 million to develop land for amenities such as parks, recreation facilities, and athletic fields elsewhere in the City.
  • Norwich Township will receive an estimated $70,700 per year in new property tax revenues.
  • The community will benefit economically from approximately 100 jobs paying an average of approximately $80,000 per year.
  • The City will receive approximately $160,000 per year in new income tax revenues.
  • In anticipation of a company buying the land for data centers, the City rezoned the site, putting in place specific standards such as significant setbacks from Cosgray and Leppert roads, extensive landscaping and mounding, and architectural standards that would ensure a high-quality development. (View conceptual renderings of the site and views from Cosgray and Leppert Roads.)
  • Once constructed, data centers are a low-impact use that generate minimal traffic and require few demands on City and community services compared to many other types of developments, such as residential and retail projects.

The benefits of the Jerman agreement include:

  • Additional parkland immediately adjacent to Municipal Park and existing City-owned athletic fields, which allows for greater efficiencies and scaling of field space.
  • Capacity for additional sports fields to meet the need of youth and adult athletics in Hilliard.
  • Additional park amenities to be determined through the community input and design processes.
  • Ability for the City to finish important stream restoration of the Clover Groff Ditch which is important for the health of the Big Darby watershed.
  • Real estate needed to complete the Cosgray Road connector, which extends Cosgray Road southwest until it connects into Alton Darby Creek Road. This connection will relieve congestion at the Alton Darby Creek and Scioto Darby Creek intersection and is critical to ensuring that the City can meet traffic safety and capacity needs for the foreseeable future.