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Site plan approved for mixed use building in Uptown Westerville

By July 30, 2021December 30th, 2021Site plan

A vacant structure at 32 W. College Ave. is about to be demolished and replaced with a three story mixed-use building with retail or commercial on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors.

The Westerville Planning Commission approved on July 28 a site plan for a proposed 12,483 square foot, 0.17 acre building in the Uptown neighborhood of plaintiff Randall Woodings of Kontogiannis & Associates, Columbus.

Voting yes were Paul Johnson, chairman; Craig Treneff, Brian Schaefer, Kristine Robbins, Dave Samuelson and Kimberly Sharp. Steven Munger was absent from the meeting.

A public hearing was held regarding the redevelopment, but no one commented.

Members of the Commission also did not comment on the request, as it had been discussed at a previous meeting. The project is now going to the Uptown Review Board for action; Action by Westerville City Council, including sale of property; an application for an engineering permit; and an application for a building permit.

A report from Bassem Bitar, the planning director for Westerville, said the plaintiff signed a contract to purchase and redevelop the Uptown plot, which is owned by the city.

He said city staff have recommended approval of the application, while acknowledging that off-site improvements and access easements will need to be finalized.

The intention is to demolish the existing structure and build the new three-story mixed-use building, according to Bitar.

According to the proposed plans, the first floor would be dedicated for commercial or commercial use, while the second and third floors would house a total of four residential units.

The first floor area would be 3,253 square feet, including a lobby, elevator, staircase and other fixtures associated with upper floors, and approximately 2,670 square feet for retail / commercial use.

The space for the upper floors would be larger at 4,615 square feet on each floor as they would extend beyond the footprint of the first floor on the north side of the building, allowing for parking spaces below, according to a report to the city.

The building would be of brick veneer with a height of approximately 37 feet.

The proposed site plan also includes some off-site improvements, such as an outdoor seating area along the front of College Avenue as well as a six-foot-wide sidewalk along the east side of the building.

The staff report indicates that the existing structure was built as a residence in the early 1900s and converted to commercial use on the first floor, possibly in the 1970s.

More recently it housed a bookstore called The Book Harbor with an apartment on the second floor.

The city acquired the vacant building in 2014 to allow for its future redevelopment in a way that aligns with the parking and lane system improvements recommended in the Uptown plan.

Earlier this year, Woodings submitted concept review requests to the Uptown Review Board and the Planning Commission and received a favorable response.

In the minutes of a March 24 planning workshop, Treneff said he was very supportive of the redevelopment and noted that the city was looking to reuse this site.

He said it was an exceptional proposition.

Robbins said she understood it would be too expensive to try to renovate and use the house in its current state.

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