Olde Sawmill Square
Center redevelopment may be on horizon
The Olde Sawmill shopping center could be redeveloped, but property owner Casto remains mum about how and when.
The Far Northwest Coalition heard from Casto representative Charlie Frost last week on a variance to move a cell phone tower that lies on the edge of the 152,000-square-foot retail development.
Moving the cell tower would make the property more flexible for redevelopment options, Frost said.
"We're moving the cell tower to redevelop the property," he said. "The shop space is unfortunately not what it used to be."
When the shopping center opened, a Kroger Co. store was the anchor and had the option to expand in the future, Frost said.
Eventually, however, Kroger moved across Sawmill Road to a newer shopping center.
Casto expects to get approval to move the cell tower from the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals later this month.
The Far Northwest Coalition voted to pass along their support of moving the tower to the board.
"We don't want to have something that will be a stumbling block if we want to do something with the property," Frost said, adding that the move will include more screening to the tower.
Details about redevelopment plans were short, although Frost said it could involve demolishing stores, especially the arcade area of the development.
"We're not finding tenants for that space," he said.
Current shops at the Olde Sawmill shopping center include Dairy Queen, Amul India, Westside Pizza and Thai Orchid. The anchor space, however, remains empty.
"If anything I would think that people would be upset that it's set empty as long as it has," Frost said.
Residents on hand at the meeting questioned Frost about rumors of Walmart locating in the space.
"I've heard Walmart and that could be it," Frost said.
"I've heard somebody else and that could be it," he said, adding no plans are confirmed.
The space is zoned C4, "... a zoning district which promotes a range of uses from office and community-scale retail uses through regional-scale uses where a mix of business, profession and service may be conducted," Columbus's zoning ordinance states.
According to Frost, retail is the goal for the space.
"It was always intended to be commercial," he said.
Residents said they don't oppose something going into the space, but would like to be involved in the process.
Some also expressed concerns about traffic.
The development is bordered by Saltergate and Summer drives. Both roads dead end into Olde Sawmill Elementary School.
The roads also act as entrances for the Olde Sawmill neighborhood.
Coalition members also expressed concerns of the quality of the development and said they would like to see something "Dublin-esque."