Kettering seeks business park change to attract more jobs, offer flexibility

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

KETTERING — A plan to attract more commerce to Kettering Business Park is underway as the city seeks to expand uses for a site that was home to about 1,900 jobs.

The move comes after “several inquiries” about the former Synchrony Financial site “never materialized” as Kettering sought to land businesses and jobs to help replace one of the city’s top employers and its more than $2 million a year in tax revenue, Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said.

Local market experts suggested changes to allow “a wider range of uses” at 950 Forrer Blvd., Schwieterman said in an email.

“Based on these suggestions, rezoning will allow for more flexible options for companies and organizations that need the space,” he added.

A proposal to change the zoning map for that site from office to business park was approved 5-0 by the Kettering Planning Commission Monday night. The issue will now go before city council.

The Forrer address includes nearly 36.5 acres, Montgomery County land records show. It accounts for nearly one third of the 120-acre business park, which houses major employers Alternate Solutions, Amazon and Kettering Health, according to Kettering records.

“The growth of the business park is something that’s always been planned for and anticipated since the park’s inception as it was converted” from the former Defense Electronics Supply Center starting in the 1990s, City Planner David Roller said.

“So we really see this as the engine for the city of Kettering to provide a good jobs base for our city,” he added. “Expanding the allowable permitted uses furthers this goal.”

The preferred use of the site would be office, according to the city. But the change would allow for industrial and commercial uses.

The Forrer land was bought by F1 Kettering LLC of California in 2008. The sale price was undisclosed, but Forward One LLC purchased it about two years earlier for $37.94 million, according to the county auditor’s website.

F1 Kettering owns about 47 acres at the KBP and nearly 43 acres belong to other businesses, city officials said. Kettering owns nearly 28 acres.

City land includes the Kettering Municipal Court building and space that it plans to lease to Kettering City Schools.

The school district intends to sign a seven-year deal for about 18,600 square feet in the southeast corner of the business park, records show.

A draft of the agreement, which the board of education was set to address Tuesday night, calls for school district to pay the city $30,000 a year.

The site will be used as a warehouse/storage area, according to Ken Lackey, district director of business services.

“We will be relocating our warehouse from the Barnes building to this new space,” Lackey said in an email. “This location is very close to our buildings and grounds offices on Wilmington Pike, making it an excellent location for the warehouse.”

Staff will work in the warehouse part time, he said. Renovations are needed, but the school district is targeting to have the site ready by late summer, Lackey added.

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