The same joint venture group that developed the Commons at Clark Hall is hoping to bring more businesses to Gahanna with The Shops at Rocky Fork.
Courtfield Properties' Jason Zadeh and Greg Gallas, in partnership with Wagenbrenner Development, presented several concept plans during a July 10 workshop with the Gahanna Planning Commission.
The Shops at Rocky Fork would be on 11 parcels at Rocky Fork Drive South, proceeding north along Hamilton Road.
Zadeh said the Commons at Clark Hall has been tremendously successful.
"That was the impetus for Greg and I to continue to invest in this community," he said. "The (Hamilton Road) overlay gave a compelling opportunity."
Zadeh sought feedback from the commission after a brief presentation that showed concept plans.
"It isn't locked down," he said. "It may not be locked down when we buy properties. We also stepped forward and did streetscape planning. The goal is for the theme and texture to be carried through to Granville (Street)."
He said the Shops at Rocky Fork would include multitenant buildings with an art-deco look, using materials similar to the Commons at Clark Hall. They also would include four-sided architecture.
Zadeh mentioned a possible bank, a car wash and a fast-oil-change shop as prospective businesses, but commission members quickly squashed automotive-use plans.
He said the physical movement along Hamilton would be completely redefined, offering a friendly, enjoyable experience in the front, with parking at the rear of the businesses.
"One request was the creation of public space," he said.
A concept plan showed two retail buildings with a center, including green space and park benches.
Zadeh said the best physical example for what's proposed is Clintonville, where Caribou Coffee is. That location shows public space in the front but with depth.
He said the rear property line would have 6-foot board-on-board fence, filled in with trees to separate residential areas.
The type of lighting would be direct, going straight down, and the location of trash bins would be at a maximum distance from homes.
Commission member David Thom said it's limiting, as far as what may go into the parcels.
"I like the streetscape," he said. "The building design is close to The Commons. The critical piece to these 11 properties is the separation of residential. We have to be critical of that. That's the most critical because it separates that residential area."
Thom said he doesn't like the idea of automotive uses, though.
"I don't think a car wash or lube place is the right thing," he said. "It's a critical piece of property and limited in what we can do. I think the streetscape is one thing to sell it."
Commission member Tom Wester said he likes the idea of a greater setback from Hamilton Road and extending the sidewalk and bike paths.
He said he has a concern about the separation of residential and commercial areas.
Wester said he doesn't favor the idea of residents looking at a shadowbox fence at the rear of the businesses.
"Overall, it's a good plan," he said. "Some things need addressed."
Commission member Jennifer Price said she likes the multitenant space but doesn't favor automotive uses.
"I'm not in favor of a wood fence," she said. "It seems they degrade so quickly. It seems they look junky quickly."
She also asked if the rear of the stores could be more dynamic in style.
"I like the idea of walk-through space," said Joe Keehner, commission member. "I like the more architectural (interesting) design on the corner."
He said he also liked the idea of pedestrian-friendly patio space in the front of the businesses.
Commission member Kristin Rosan said the prospect of developing the corner is new.
"I hadn't given a lot of thought about what type of use," she said. "l like the planters. I'm not a fan of an art deco look. I wonder if it's too similar to Clark Hall. I wonder how it blends in with the Olde Gahanna plan."
Commission member David Andrews said he loves the view at Clintonville's Caribou Coffee.
"I like the style of building," he said. "Being on the Hamilton corridor plan (committee) in the beginning, I thought we wanted taller buildings with more housing. We talked about first-floor retail.
"It's a neat area. I think you'll have a little fight with the people behind it," Andrews said. "With the landscaping, don't forget we're the herb capital."
Zadeh said his company remains open to ideas.