Fairfield city, township reach economic agreement

Duke Realty is finishing construction on its first of a planned five buildings of a new industrial park on Seward Road in Fairfield Twp. The park will be a part of a joint economic development district between the city of Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
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Duke Realty is finishing construction on its first of a planned five buildings of a new industrial park on Seward Road in Fairfield Twp. The park will be a part of a joint economic development district between the city of Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The city of Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. have become economic partners in an alliance that could last up to 150 years.

The city and township have agreed to a new joint economic development district contract to incorporate 23 acres of land in the township that is accessible by a city-owned road. Duke Realty is building an industrial park on Seward Road — the first building is now being constructed — and as many as four other buildings on 170 acres could be constructed.

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Except for some small exceptions, no township land will be annexed by the city of Fairfield over the life of the JEDD agreement, which has a 50-year initial term and could be extended up to four successive 25-year terms, according to trustees.

Fairfield Twp. Trustee Susan Berding said the agreement “makes sense.”

“For the trustees that was very important because we’ve had the topic of annexation come up recently, and you know that’s a very sensitive subject,” she said. “So I think it’s good to know the city is willing to respect that agreement.”

The agreement was approved in late October by the township trustees, and on Monday by Fairfield City Council, which will tax at 1.5 percent the 23 acres of land on Seward Road owned by Duke Realty, and could be expanded to tax an addition 170 acres of land pending development by Duke Realty. The land is on the east side of Seward Road and between Union Centre Boulevard and Tylersville Road, and Duke Realty has options to purchase the remaining 170 acres of land, according to the company.

“(Duke Realty is) planning a multi-phase project that potentially has up to five buildings,” said Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman.

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An earlier agreement between the city, township and Duke Realty was approved to widen the road as the company is finishing the first of what could be up to five buildings that could contain between 1.7 million and 2 million square feet of warehouse, distribution center or light manufacturing. In all, there could be between five and 12 businesses in the five buildings, company officials said in September.

The JEDD agreement calls for a 75-25 split of the income tax revenue with the township receiving the greater amount. The city will take a 5 percent fee off the gross revenues for the administration of the JEDD.

Township and city officials said they couldn’t say how much money could be generated from the JEDD as Duke Energy is building the park on speculation, meaning they don’t have any tenants under contract at the moment.

Kathman said the city could realize $100,000 or more in additional tax revenues from its portion on a built-out industrial park, known as Fairfield Logistics Center at 7940 Seward Road, but emphasized “it depends on who the tenants are that go into the buildings.”

But build-out is dependant on the remaining 170 acres, which is in a floodplain. Kathman said Duke Realty won’t begin constructing their remaining four buildings until they get Federal Emergency Management Agency approval. The company is waiting for FEMA’s approval, according to Kathman.

Before the JEDD was approved, Fairfield city and township, and Duke Realty agreed to a development agreement. Duke Realty would build its state-of-the-art industrial park, and the city and township would split the cost to widen Seward Road, a two-lane road with no shoulders.

The plan would widen the nearly three-mile stretch of Seward Road from Tylersville to the just north of the railroad tracks. The project would include a center turn lane and 2-to-4-foot shoulders, shave a hump in the roadway and soften a hard curve in the road, according to the agreement.

The township and city will each pay $250,000 for the road project, and Duke Realty will pay $600,000. An Ohio Public Works Commission grant would cover the remainder of the $1.8 million-estimated project.

Additional project components of the JEDD agreement includes a TIF agreement between the township and Duke Realty designed to assist with public infrastructure projects.

This is the fourth enacted JEDD agreement for Fairfield Twp. They have three JEDD agreements with the city of Hamilton. The township had a previous JEDD agreement with Fairfield, but it was never implemented. This JEDD would supersede anything in that previous contract.

The city of Fairfield has one other JEDD agreement, which is with the city of Springdale and West Chester Twp.