Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – New construction at Circleville Plaza near Walmart south of the city will bring new retailers and extra space to accommodate even more, according to the property’s developer, but it is just a small piece of a much larger picture for the area.
CASTO, the real estate development and services firm that owns Circleville Plaza, is currently constructing a 10,500 square foot in-line building adjacent to Buffalo Wild Wings. The new building is already set to house a Rue 21 clothing store and an AT&T Wireless store, both expected to open this summer.
The building also will add 3,200 square feet of additional tenant space available for lease.
O’Reilly Auto Parts also is building a new retail store on South Court Street, according to Dale Bower, Circleville Township Trustee. The store will be constructed just south of the Sonic restaurant and the Huntington Bank, he said.
According to Sarah Benson Hatcher, director of marketing and public relations for CASTO, O’Reilly’s owns their own parcel and is developing that site themselves.
Bower said the additional growth of the CASTO property shows the company sees a good potential in that area.
“CASTO likes that site,” Bower said. “All the outlot buildings they’ve got are full, that’s why they’re building more. They’re appreciative of what’s going on there.”
Bower said CASTO and the trustees are hoping to get some big box stores or larger retailers into the area, but attracting those types of businesses can be difficult.
“This is a good addition out there, though,” Bower said.
Officials at CASTO credit the extension of Progress Parkway, an ongoing project to create roadway access behind Walmart into the old Thomson RCA property, for creating the opportunity for new commercial development.
“We’re very appreciative to Pickaway County for the extension of Progress Parkway,” said Don Casto, partner at CASTO. “Circleville Township and Pickaway County have been extremely instrumental throughout this process, and we’re confident the Circleville community we serve will be pleased with the final result and exciting additions at Circleville Plaza.”
Progress Parkway began several years ago as an extension of Crites Road back behind the Walmart property, according to Ryan Scribner, executive director of Pickaway Progress Partnership (P3).
“At the time, it was like the road to nowhere because it just came to a dead end in the middle of a field,” Scribner said. “But we knew it was the first step in a larger project.”
The second phase of Progress Parkway extended Town Street to intersect at Crites Road and continue to where it now ends at the northern boundary of the Thomson property.
“The next phase of the project is in design right now to extend that road into the Thomson property and ultimately have it come out at U.S. Route 23 at the light across from Arby’s,” Scribner said. “We will also be extending South Court Street from where it now dead-ends at Wendy’s, continuing that onto the Progress Parkway.”
The road work, along with the addition of high-capacity water and sewer service and an electrical and gas line utility structure, all contribute to the larger goal of turning the old Thomson plant into a Job Ready Site certified by the state of Ohio, he said. The project, called Pickaway Progress Park, received a $3.5 million state grant in 2010 to aid with the development and infrastructure improvements.
Scribner said the goal is to have all that work completed by the second quarter of 2016.
“Hopefully a little over a year from now, we will have several hundred acres of really good ground, fully accessible, fully serviced with utilities and with rail access from Norfolk Southern that will be a really competitive set of properties we’ll have available to market,” Scribner said.
The area is already seeing new development, as evidenced by the recent purchase of five acres of ground adjacent to Progress Parkway by the R.W. Earhart Company for the construction of a propane distribution facility and office space to serve its customers in Pickaway and surrounding counties.
Scribner said the infrastructure work will not only help attract new businesses to the area but will also benefit existing businesses.
“With businesses like Health Care Logistics, for instance, accessibility is sometimes a problem for them,” he said. “While this plan is to facilitate new commercial and industrial types of growth, doing all these things will help support our existing employers as well.”
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal