The Grandview Heights Planning Commission continued its discussion July 23 of the major site plan review submitted by Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) for phase 1 of the Grandview Yard project.

The Grandview Heights Planning Commission continued its discussion July 23 of the major site plan review submitted by Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) for phase 1 of the Grandview Yard project.

The commission previously approved a preliminary plat and conditional uses that allow the developer to construct three buildings housing an Urban Active Fitness Center, retail/restaurant/office uses and a Hyatt Place hotel. A one-story parking structure will also be built to provide parking for the other buildings.

Phase 1 will be built on about 8.6 acres in the southwest corner of the Grandview Yard project area, located in the Grandview's Commerce District.

Commission member George Acock is recusing himself from the commission's discussion and consideration of Grandview Yard items because his architectural firm prepared the design plans for the hotel.

At the July 23 special meeting, commission members discussed some of their concerns about aspects of the site plan review.

In general, the plan submitted by the developer reflects the vision for development of the Commerce District, commission member Jamie Greene said. But he said putting a lawn between Goodale Boulevard and the fitness center and office building "doesn't make Goodale a better street. I wouldn't want to preclude having activity right up to the street."

The lack of on-street parking spaces on Goodale was also cited as a concern by commission members.

Goodale will be expanded to five lanes, including a center turning lane at all intersections, said Doyle Clear, senior manager with Trans Associates, a transportation consulting company representing NRI.

"Five lanes is what we need to handle traffic with the full buildout (of the Yard)," Clear said. "Parking on Goodale probably wouldn't be practical."

"My feeling is that urban streets should have parking on them," Greene said. "There ought to be parking on Goodale. If this is going to be an urban street, it ought to have parking on it."

To allow parking on Goodale would require a sixth lane, said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration/economic development.

"It would change the nature of the street," he said, and add parking spaces that would be empty for much of the time.

On-street parking will be featured all along the new signature street as the development proceeds, Clear said.

He compared Goodale to the main street leading to the Easton development.

There is no parking on the main street at Easton, but once you exit onto the other streets in the development there is plenty of on-street parking.

NRI President Brian Ellis said the buildings planned for phase 1 will be "360 degree buildings."

The parking garage will be located to the rear of the phase 1 buildings, meaning people using those buildings will approach them from the rear, he said.

The way the fitness center's operations will be set up inside that building, entry could not come from the Goodale side, Ellis said.

The developer also deemed it a more attractive choice to have an entrance to the office building coming off Yard Street and the park space that will be placed between the building and the street, he said.

"We have a lot of experience developing urban projects," Ellis said. "We know how to do that and we like to do it."

Grandview Yard will be different from NRI's Arena District development, he said.

The Yard will be "softer" than the Arena District, Ellis said. There is the opportunity with the Yard to provide "a little more environment and a little more relief" through landscaping and the park space.

The Grandview project "is not suburban, but it's not downtown either," he said. "We want it to strike a balance" between the two.

The commission was expected to continue its discussion of the site plan review at another special meeting scheduled for July 29. Ellis said the developer is asking for a vote to approve the site plan review at that meeting.

NRI has indicated it plans to break ground on the phase 1 project in August.