It isn’t nearly finished, but Grandview Yard already is making a big impact.

The number of people living in Grandview Heights grew by the largest percentage among all Franklin County cities last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released May 25. The suburb’s population increased by about 5 percent and is now home to 7,628 people.

The second- and third-fastest growing cities in Franklin County in 2016 were New Albany and Hilliard, which grew about 4.6 and 3.7 percent, respectively. Now, 10,199 people live in New Albany and 34,905 in Hilliard.

Grandview Yard, the 125-acre mixed-use development on the city’s east side, on the site of a former warehouse, is likely a major factor in Grandview Heights’ growth, Mayor Ray DeGraw said.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” he said.

Grandview Yard will add an estimated 1,300 residential units and 1.2 million square feet of retail space once it’s complete. Nationwide Realty Investors is its developer. Construction began in 2009 and likely will continue for several more years.

Some commercial aspects of the project are in Columbus, and that proximity to an urban core also likely is luring residents, DeGraw said.

Meanwhile, the village of Marble Cliff, which borders Grandview Heights, increased its population by 5.1 percent, to 671 people.

The population in every other Franklin County city, village and township grew in 2016, but increases were from less than 1 percent to 1.3 percent, according to the data.

All of Franklin County grew by 1.1 percent, or 14,249 people, for a total of 1,264,518. Columbus grew by 1.2 percent, 10,046 people, for a total of 860,090.

Like Grandview Heights, officials from New Albany and Hilliard credited their growth to strategic development. They emphasized balancing commercial and residential projects, often in close proximity, to achieve success.

Their communities also offer high-quality school districts, plenty of amenities and housing options for all stages of life, they said.

“All the surveys are telling us growth is coming to central Ohio, and not just Columbus, but suburbs and the entire region,” Hilliard spokesman Doug Francis said. “We’re aware of it, ready for it and couldn’t be happier about it.”

Hilliard has added a mix of single-family homes and apartments throughout the city, including three key projects: Heritage Preserve, a west-side subdivision; and Landmark Lofts and the Hilliard Gateway, two mixed-use projects.

New Albany has grown steadily by adding about 100 homes every year since 2010, spokesman Scott McAfee said. The city also boasts one of the largest master-planned business parks in Ohio, with 9 million square feet developed.

Both cities also have renewed their focus on a denser, pedestrian-friendly core.

The recently released census data continue a trend of significant growth in all three cities during the past seven years. New Albany has grown 32.4 percent, more than any other Franklin County city, since the 2010 census. Hilliard has grown 22.8 percent and Grandview Heights 16.7 percent.

By comparison, Franklin County’s population has increased a total of 8.7 percent and the city of Columbus’ population has increased 9.3 percent.

As of this year, Franklin County is now the most-populous county in Ohio, with 1.26 million residents, edging out the approximately 1.25 million Cuyahoga County residents sometime last year after that county lost 5,673 residents.

A recent report by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission estimates that the seven-county region of central Ohio is on pace to attract approximately 1 million new people between 2010 and 2050, for a total of 3 million residents by 2050.

By Alissa Widman Neese with Doug Caruso
From The Columbus Dispatch