Tallmadge City Council approves zoning change for second phase of 'The Village at Town Center'

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Testa Companies' city center complex is advancing again now that City Council approved the real estate developer's request for a conditional zoning certificate for special nonresidential development for the second phase of the project April 10.

The request for the conditional zoning certificate is in the name of Mota Design Group, a company affiliated with the Cuyahoga Falls-based developer. The intended site for the mixed-use "The Village at Town Center" is at 76 North Ave., north of City Hall near the Circle.

With the change in zoning, emergency care facilities and child or adult day cares join urgent care centers and doctors' offices on the list of what are permitted uses on the property.

"We're obviously very excited, and we've gotten a tremendous amount of interest and are negotiating with several entities in the medical community, as well as other developer partners that are interested in the site," said Joel Testa, chief operating officer of Testa Companies. "We look forward to starting [construction] as soon as possible. We know the development will be a great asset for Tallmadge and its residents."

Although Testa was unable to disclose which three large medical groups are interested because of confidentiality agreements, he hopes construction on the medical portion of the project will begin by this fall, or at least sometime this year.

Council approved the first phase of the project last year, which involves 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 plans approved were the building in the first phase.

"We started talking to some commercial entities and retailers for the multi-family phase, but it's just early discussions ...," Testa said. "We expect to see a nice blend of commercial and retail. I think we'll have some professional offices there as well as retail, but if we can lease up quite a bit of it with sort of national retail tenants, I think it adds to the community."

Testa is expecting to hear whether it has been awarded the federal senior tax credits, which are administered by the state, that make the affordable senior housing piece of the project work. The company should know in June whether it has landed the tax credits.

If not, the company will drop the senior housing aspect altogether and move forward with the market-rate condos, he said.

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

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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