Jeffrey Place project gets grant for solar panels
By Mike Pramik THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The developer of Jeffrey Place has secured a state grant to install rooftop solar panels on the next cluster of condominiums at the project.
The Ohio Department of Development granted Joe Recchie of National Community Builders $438,372 to install the panels at the North Block condos, a 75-unit section of the 41.5-acre Jeffrey Place development. National Community is attempting to turn the former Jeffrey Mining and Manufacturing site into an urban neighborhood.
The North Block condos will be at the northwestern corner of the development. The buildings were designed by Columbus architect George Acock.
Recchie said he will be seeking the highest designation of LEED certification for the project. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation is awarded to development projects by the U.S. Green Building Council. It identifies those projects that have embraced environmentally friendly principles.
LEED certification has become a badge of honor and a marketing tool for some cities and developers.
"A lot of these ideas are things we were already doing," Recchie said. "It had more a sense of convergence. We worked hard to develop best practices for Jeffrey Place."
The panels will cost more than $1 million, Recchie said, and will provide electricity for all of the condos. He said the panels will generate 121 kilowatts, which will flow into American Electric Power’s power grid and could allow some North Block residents to sell power back to the utility.
AEP customers have a hand in paying for the panels. The money for the Development Department’s Advanced Energy Program has roots in electricity deregulation.
In 1999, the Development Department asked regulators to create a revolving loan fund to encourage renewable energy activities. Customers of AEP, Dayton Power & Light Co., Duke Energy Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp. were assessed a 9-cent monthly fee to create the fund.
The fund currently contains $23.2 million.
In 2003, the General Assembly allowed the department to begin using 10 percent of the previous year’s receipts for grants, said Sherry Hubbard, acting office chief for the Development Department’s energy office. The grant for the North Block condos at Jeffrey Place is one of the largest ever issued.
"The grant program has been evolving over time," Hubbard said. "It began by grants to single homeowners. In 2005, we decided that there was a big part of the market that would help move solar forward. That was new construction."
All but nine of the North Block condos will be prefabricated by UniBilt Homes. In addition to the solar panels, they’ll feature geothermal heating and cooling, tankless water heaters, irrigation through storm-water runoff, vegetation on carport roofs and recycled concrete, 90,000 tons of it, taken from the site.
The project will include town house and loft-style condos. The two-bedroom town houses are 1,380 square feet and will start at $248,000. The 730-square-foot lofts will begin at $156,000.
Recchie said the grant money, which amounts to $6,642 per prefab unit, will be passed along to the buyers. The cost per square foot of the town houses, $178, is far lower than the average Downtown condo cost of $237 per square foot.
IT firm moves, secures loan
A company that creates logistics software for midsize companies has moved to Lewis Center and plans to use a state loan to expand.
Pacejet Logistics makes Web-based logistics software that helps manufacturers manage their shipping operations without paying license fees. The company recently moved from Dublin to Lewis Center and plans to use an $805,000 Innovation Ohio Fund loan to expand its employment base.
Ron Lee, Pacejet’s vice president of business development, said the company wants to double in size during the next few years.
Pacejet traces its roots to the heyday of the dot-com boom of the 1990s. It’s a spinoff of the former Frontstep, which provided enterprise resource planning software. Frontstep used to be called Symix Solutions, the public company that ran into financial difficulty in 2000.
Two years after changing its name, Frontstep was acquired by a company in Georgia called Mapics Inc., which later was acquired by Infor Global Solutions.
"We’re going to hire new developers and support people and services people," Lee said. "It’s about servicing customers and building out the software application."
Mike Pramik covers development for The Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at 614-461-5107.
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