Jul. 22—One of the region's largest mixed-use developments has cleared a major hurdle after Liberty Twp. trustees approved preliminary plans for a $133 million project on 88 acres of prime real estate across Voice of America Metro Park.
The Freedom Pointe development, which will include a Costco, 402 apartments, restaurants, other retail, office and medical offices along with a hotel, now moves closer to reality, said township officials.
This week's 2-0 vote, with Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell abstaining due to living in proximity to the 88-acre development near the northeast corner of Cox Road and Liberty Way, marked major progress for the project.
Some nearby residents of the Four Bridges subdivision, however, said they don't want the development, which for some homeowners will be a few hundred yards from their properties that up until now have been adjacent to fallow farmland.
But Liberty Twp. Trustee Christine Matacic told the Journal-News the high-profile acreage, which also stands across Cox Road from Christ Hospital, was destined to be used for development at some point and that the Freedom Pointe project and its developers are the best for making that happen.
"In the end we all know that this property is going to be developed and we want to make sure it is done properly," said Matacic.
"I think we have set the stage now for future development of this area. We were able to get a few concessions (from developers) that will move things forward," she said, referring to reducing the number of apartments from the original 416 to 402, which eliminated one of the floors from a multi-story apartment building.
The project, which will include apartment buildings three to four stories high, will have access roadways from both Liberty Way and Cox Road.
The development will stand east, across the Interstate 75 highway, from the township's biggest retail, business and residential development — the $350 million Liberty Center — which opened in 2015.
A packed trustee meeting Tuesday evening saw some residents of the adjacent Four Bridges subdivision complain against the project and urge township officials to defeat the proposed plan.
Their concerns included traffic woes, noise and impact on their property values among other issues.
Steve Stenken, a 20-year resident of the Four Bridges golf course community that will border parts of the new development, said putting such a project a few hundred yards from some residents' properties is unfair.
"This is not what we were promised, and this is a completely different type of development than we were promised," said Stenken referring to statements he said were previously made by township officials.
"We were told it would be no retail and mostly professional buildings with nothing higher than two stories and with more medical-oriented buildings," he said.
Trustee Steve Schramm said his approval vote was a reflection of the quality of project and developers involved.
"We do have a very good plan for the project. You'll get some argument from some of the folks who said the residential was too much and the big box (Costco) is too much but I think the overall development was the right development for now," said Schramm.
Developers estimate approximately 578 construction jobs will come with Freedom Pointe's construction with a projected economic impact of $223 million.
Currently there is no start or completion date for the project as the building schedule is still be formulated, said officials.