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Church to Lead Redevelopment of Kmart Site in Reynoldsburg

A new mixed-use development is planned for the southeast corner of Brice Road and East Main Street in Reynoldsburg.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance – a national megachurch that is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs – will be moving its offices to the site and also plans to serve as master developer for the larger project, which will include several additional office buildings, conference and event spaces, a boutique hotel, and nearly 200 residential units.

It’s a role that the organization has played before. In Salem, Oregon, the Salem Alliance church bought up property in its neighborhood – a process not entirely without controversy – and built a four-story mixed-use building that holds offices, event spaces and several local businesses.

The church will close on the ten-acre Kmart parcel by the end of this month, according to Andrew Bowsher, Development Director for the City of Reynoldsburg, and plans to buy several additional adjacent parcels.

Although final designs for the buildings have not yet been produced, Bowsher said that the architecture will likely be similar to that of the Salem project.

The architecture will need to be approved by the city’s planning commission, but no vote from city council will be needed for the project to move forward. That’s because Reynoldsburg passed a new zoning ordinance last March that allows denser development along portions of Main Street and Bryce Road.

The new plan calls for buildings between two and four stories tall, supported with surface parking lots and a two-story parking garage. While that is not quite as dense as the the seven-story buildings that some early plans for the site called for, it would be a significant redevelopment and would transform a nearly vacant, parking-oriented strip mall into a more walkable, mixed-use destination.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library is moving forward with plans to replace its Reynoldsburg branch. The new library, scheduled for completion in 2022 or 2023, will be located at the southern edge of the new development.

Bowsher said that Alliance’s President, John Stumbo, who previously served as Pastor of the Salem church, reached out to Reynoldsburg as part of an exhaustive search for a new headquarters location that included visits to 120 different sites.

“They were out of space [in Colorado Springs] and narrowed down their search to the Midwest,” he said, where there are a lot of Alliance congregations. “They didn’t just want a building in a sea of parking, they were looking for a new development wrapped around it…to create spaces for all people, not just the church.”

The Alliance website lists seven affiliated congregations in and around Columbus, including Hope Church in Westerville and Cross Walk Church in Reynoldsburg.

The church has purchased a two-story building immediately to the east of the Kmart site that will serve as temporary office space while the new buildings go up. They plan to move into that space this summer, according to Bowsher, and to demolish the Kmart building in late summer or early fall. Phased construction could start soon after, although an exact timeline has not been determined.

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Brent Warren

Brent Warren is a staff reporter for Columbus Underground covering urban development, transportation, city planning, neighborhoods, and other related topics. He grew up in Grandview Heights, lives in the University District and studied City and Regional Planning at OSU.

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