A plan to build residential hotel suites on 10.01 acres at the northeast corner of Claycraft and Morrison roads in Central Park is under consideration by the Gahanna Planning Commission.

A plan to build residential hotel suites on 10.01 acres at the northeast corner of Claycraft and Morrison roads in Central Park is under consideration by the Gahanna Planning Commission.

During a July 18 workshop, Westerville-based Metro Development introduced plans for the Residences at Central Park, featuring 10 buildings with 220 suites and a community center, a movie theater, a fitness facility and a business center with computers, printers and a mailing center. The total size of the buildings is 87,420 square feet.

Applicant Joe Thomas Jr., Metro Development general manager, called the facilities a hybrid hotel that caters to executives traveling on business. He said he anticipates about half of the suites would be filled through corporate housing leases with such clients as Chase, The Limited and BMW. He said the other half would be rented by individuals on long-term work assignments.

Thomas said similar residential hotel suites are in the Polaris area, with a vacancy rate of about 3 percent.

"It's a niche product offering something different than Marriott Suites," he said. "These are more traditional housing with larger bedrooms and a large amount of amenities. There's a resort-style pool and, generally, trails to neighborhood parks."

Thomas said seven garage units would be used by guests on long-term work assignments.

"Sometimes people are on relocation assignments and could be moving to Ohio from New York," he said. "They could store their belongings (in the garage) while looking for a house."

Thomas said the development would feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom suites, some being furnished and others unfurnished. The minimum stay would be 30 days, with no maximum, Thomas said. Pets would be welcome.

Gahanna deputy development director Leah Evans said the project has several potential economic impacts. She said the project would bring in new revenue in the form of real estate taxes and potential municipal income taxes from long-term lodgers.

Per Ohio Revised Code, Evans said, a hotel lodging tax is not required for stays of 30 days or longer.

Gahanna currently is home to four lodging properties with a total of 390 hotel rooms.

Land planner/architect Todd Foley, with Faris Planning & Design, said the Residences at Central Park would have two entry signs -- one on Morrison and the other on Claycraft.

He said significant shrubs are planned for landscaping around the buildings to soften the area.

Foley said the project would feature 12-, 24- and 36-suite buildings.

Thomas said the average cost to stay in the suites would be $1,000 to $1,500 per month, with a high of about $2,700, depending on amenities. He said the hotel would offer maid and linen services, as well as concierge services for movie and concert tickets and, possibly, airline bookings.

Planning and zoning administrator Bonnie Gard said self-storage units are on the site but would be relocated.

The site is zoned limited overlay office, commerce and technology.

"This is the first project in Central Park besides the Golf Depot," Gard said. "There is an extensive landscape plan we appreciate that's over and beyond requirements."

The maximum proposed building height is 35 feet on the suites and 49 feet on portions of the community center/office.

Other project team members include land owners Value Recovery Group (VRG) II, Advanced Civil Design of Gahanna and Traffic Engineering Services Inc.

Dwight McCabe, representing VRG, said about 19 acres remain on the market in Central Park, and discussions continue with prospects. He said Central Park has a long history of high vision with what could develop.

"We see this as a solid use that will be successful," McCabe said. "It's breaking ground and creates the next parcel. I've gone to other cities and rented these units.

"We see it as an absolute plus."