July 23, 2014

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Developers seek rezoning for planned Nagel interchange

AVON — The  Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road that gained approval late last year already is driving economic growth as two developers asked Wednesday to rezone 120 nearby acres for medical offices and retail space.

One exit to the west of the proposed interchange, the Wal-Mart on Chester Road also is looking to get in on the action — it wants to expand an existing store into a super-center.

The Avon Planning Commission voted unanimously to allow KS Associates President Lynn Miggins to split an acre lot — a move she said will let Wal-Mart add significantly to its floor space in the future.

The commission also voted to recommend the rezoning of 88 acres south of Chester Road and west of Jaycox Road from C-2 to C-4 commercial land.

James Eppele, vice president of the Cleveland-based Richard E. Jacobs Group, said he wants to turn at least 50 percent of the property into office space.

He said he’ll try to attract medical and research companies, too, but the site could end up with restaurants and stores.

Meanwhile, a third developer, David DiBenedetto, who also appeared before the Planning Commission saw his proposal for 33 acres west of Nagel Road put on hold until the panel’s February meeting.

DiBenedetto said he has a letter of intent from a tenant that he would not name to build on the site if it could be rezoned from residential to commercial.

Such a change, commission members said, likely would send the price of land skyrocketing and impact the city given that it still has to buy about seven acres from DiBenedetto to make way for the interchange’s ramps.

“Let’s stay away from it — as far away as possible,” Avon Law Director John Gasior said.

Avon will hire a state-approved appraisal firm to find out exactly what the property is worth to prepare an offer, said city Planning Coordinator James Piazza.

The interchange received approval after a protracted battle with officials representing the interests of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County on the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which handles federal money for transportation issues for the area.

The fear was that the interchange will speed the flight of residents and businesses from Cuyahoga County. It only gained approval after Avon officials agreed to revenue-sharing plan even though no federal or state money will be used to build it.

Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.