Upper Arlington is on a path to begin construction as soon as next year after receiving resounding support from voters for a plan to build a 95,300-square-foot community center at Kingsdale Shopping Center.
Officials are expected to put a design team together this month that will launch the process for constructing the city’s first community center.
Emma Speight, community-affairs director for the city, said a project timeline will become more clear after Upper Arlington City Council hires a design firm. That could happen before the end of August, she said.
“Once selection of the design firm has been finalized and their contract has been initiated, the project team will focus on developing a … timeline that will map out anticipated community-engagement activities, public and formal review processes,” Speight said. “The design-team selection process is nearing completion, with plans to bring the recommended team to council in August.
“It is anticipated that council will vote on this recommendation at its Aug. 23 meeting,” she said.
The city is moving forward with plans to issue $55 million in bonds for construction. The project will be included as part of three buildings Continental Real Estate Cos. will develop at the former Macy’s site at Kingsdale. As proposed, that project also will include 458 apartments, 104 senior-housing units, 6,000 square feet for restaurants and a two-story parking garage.
“It is anticipated that the detailed design phase and preparations for selecting the construction team will take approximately one year to complete, with hopes to begin construction in 2022, followed by a tentative 2024 completion date,” Speight said. “A more specific timeframe will come into focus as this project progresses.”
Initial plans for a seven-story community center have included an indoor swimming pool, fitness facilities, three gymnasiums, a walking/running track, senior-center program space, a child daycare component and a multipurpose event space. The top two floors will be leased as professional office space.
Council approved an approximately $2.12-million contract May 24 to have Pizzuti Solutions serve as an owner’s representative for the design and construction of a community center at Kingsdale.
The firm, a division of Columbus-based The Pizzuti Companies, will provide a range of services throughout design and construction, including project oversight, schedule and budget management, procurement assistance, design review, construction oversight and closeout assistance.
In the meantime, a group formed to raise at least $5.4 million in private money to support the community center project announced July 26 that it has launched its campaign.
The UA Community Center Capital Campaign Committee is co-chaired by Bill Hosket and his son, Brad, along with Wendy Gomez and her daughter, Kate.
Bill Hosket was an Ohio State University basketball star before becoming a 1968 Olympic gold medalist and 1970 NBA world champion. He’s a founding principal of Hosket Ulen Insurance Solutions.
Brad Hosket also played basketball at OSU before joining Hosket Ulen Insurance Solutions in 2013, where he serves as managing partner.
“We are honored and privileged to participate in this communitywide effort to secure private funds to create a vibrant space for residents of all ages,” the Hoskets said in a statement released by the committee. “This facility will provide for an exciting mix of activities, educational events and social and recreational opportunities that will benefit our entire community.”
Wendy Gomez is a 1987 graduate of Upper Arlington High School and competed in gymnastics and cheerleading at OSU before graduating in 1992. She’s the founder of Wendy’s Gymnastics & Fitness for Children and has served on numerous community organization boards.
Kate Gomez is a 2018 graduate of UAHS and is a senior at OSU, studying human development and family studies, as well as business and leadership studies.
The UA Community Center Capital Campaign is affiliated with the Upper Arlington Community Foundation, which will serve as the fiscal agent for the fundraising initiative.
Information about contributing to the capital campaign for the community center is available at uacommunityfoundation.com/.