Kettering business park plans aim to add convenience to attract jobs, employers

KETTERING — Development officials say allowing housing and restaurants at Kettering Business Park and Miami Valley Research Park reflects a desire for more convenience for businesses and workers.

Blending those uses at job centers is a national trend on which Kettering aims to capitalize, the city’s economic development manager said.

“I think what you’re seeing across the country is that the mixed-use developments are trending more,” Amy Schrimpf said.

“That’s because developers are telling us what they’re hearing,” she added. “They’re talking to businesses and recruiting businesses (and) businesses want to be in these vibrant open spaces with shared facilities.”

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City officials want to change Kettering’s comprehensive plan and zoning code to expand land uses at those business parks to include housing and restaurants on a limited basis.

“I think it’s going to make the development more attractive to employers,” Schrimpf said. “Employers are having trouble attracting workforce. And workers can really drive decisions for companies about where they want to be and the kind of amenities they want.

“And what we’re finding is workers want to be close to certain amenities — retail and restaurants in particular,” she added.

The move would “enhance the marketability and development potential” in certain areas not economically feasible for what have been traditional uses at those sites, said Kettering Planning and Development Director Tom Robillard.

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Cleveland-based Industrial Commercial Properties owns a handful of buildings and about 50 acres at the research park.

ICP is developing plans for a residential complex in the range of 300 units on about 28 acres at the corner of Research Park Boulevard and County Line Road near the Beavercreek corporation line.

ICP Executive Dean Miller said “as much as it is a money-making development opportunity,” the company doesn’t specialize in apartment development.

But he said housing will add another dimension to the 1,250-acre complex and benefit ICP’s investments.

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“We own adjacent property and we think it helps those buildings and also the overall research park to have the environment to become a little more 24/7 environment — to have housing for potential employees that work in the research park to be available to live there as well,” Miller said. “And to make it a place where you live and work.”

Proposed changes in Kettering’s land use would allow for “professional office and research facilities with mixed use support retail and high density residential for a broader mix of uses,” city records show.

Amendments to the city’s zoning code would permit certain “residential multi-unit” uses and restaurants “as conditionally permitted uses in the BP-business park district,” documents state.

Both issues were approved 5-0 by the Kettering Planning Commission last week and are set to go to city council next month, officials said.

The companion measures could take months to be approved and implemented, Kettering officials said.

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