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Tallmadge city center complex plans progress for North Avenue

Developer to appear before P&Z Feb. 6

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published: January 26, 2014 12:00 AM
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Tallmadge -- Testa Companies is moving forward with the development of its mixed-use "Village at Town Center" project at 76 North Ave. near the Circle.

The Cuyahoga Falls-based real estate development company will come before the city's Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 6 with a request to change the zoning of a portion of the property so that it can begin the second phase of the project. According to the city's economic developer, Dennis Loughry, Mota Design Group, a company affiliated with Testa, applied for a conditional zoning certificate that would permit buildings for medical, office and child and adult daycares.

Chief Operating Officer Joel Testa didn't return phone calls for comment by press time.

Last year, City Council approved what was supposed to be the first phase of the development, a four-story building with retail on the first floor, rental apartments for seniors on the second and third floors, and condominiums on the fourth floor. Testa said the condos would preferably sell at market rate rather than be rented.

Because Council only approved the second and third phases of the development project as part of an overall, general concept -- a town center that would incorporate the former Tallmadge Middle School, City Hall, police department and banks near the Circle -- Testa must obtain Council's ultimate approval before moving forward with specific phases. The only specific plans approved were the building in the first phase.

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Loughry spoke generally about the details of the healthcare phase of the project that Testa is focusing on now.

"It's still going to be mostly medical, that's [Testa's] intent, and it may actually get started before the senior housing project [phase]," Loughry said.

The Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at City Hall.

Loughry said Testa also decided to reduce the number of rental apartments in the building in the first phase from 55 to 48, a change that doesn't need to come before the Commission.

"They made the units all two bedrooms and no one-bedroom units," he said.

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At its meeting Jan. 23, Council authorized Testa's request for a two-year extension of its conditional zoning permit for the first phase property. The developer's one-year permit expires Jan. 24.

The property that is zoned R-4 needs a conditional zoning certificate for the first phase so that residential, retail, offices, child day cares, adult day cares, educational facilities and restaurants, including fast food and those that serve alcohol, are permitted.

Last month, Testa confirmed the company is planning to re-apply for the federal senior tax credits it was denied last year. Testa said the tax credits component makes the affordable senior housing aspect of the project possible.

The application for the next round of senior tax credits, which are administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, is due Feb. 20. Applicants expect to learn whether they've been awarded the credits in May.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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