Grove City's City Hall will remain standing under the updated downtown redevelopment concept proposed by the Pizzuti Cos.
In a special Grove City Council meeting held Monday, Aug. 26, Pizzuti Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer James Russell said the changes the company has made to its proposed Town Center redevelopment were designed to address concerns and issues raised by city officials, residents and businesses.
The firm has worked to incorporate requested improvements in the plans, including changes to parking, traffic and pedestrian connectivity. Then there's "repurposing" the City Hall, rather than demolishing it, after the city offices have relocated.
"This is uniquely a Grove City project," Russell said.
Under the changes, City Hall, 4035 Broadway, would not be torn down. Instead, Pizzuti would reuse and modify the building to accommodate commercial restaurant space on the first floor and office space on the second floor.
"What we found ... is there may be other ways to utilize this building," Russell said. "We feel that's a workable solution."
Behind City Hall, the project would have four, three-story multifamily residential buildings. Together they would comprise 120 units, down from the 170 units Pizzuti proposed last year and the 154 units the company proposed earlier this year.
Of the 120 units, 72 would be single-bedroom and 48 would be two-bedroom.
"It's less dense and has less pressure on the parking," said Pizzuti Vice President-Columbus Region Shannon Hamons.
As for public parking, Russell and Hamons said while some spaces will be relocated, overall the plan would retain 205 of the current 206 spaces in the area.
The updated project also includes about 0.45 acres of open space as well as a pedestrian walkway connecting the apartments and City Hall with the new Grove City Library, to be located at the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue.
"The idea is to really drive that residential connection all the way to the library," Russell said.
The plan elicited a positive response from much of council Aug. 26.
Council President Ted Berry said the proposed features are attractive to young professionals and empty-nesters.
"We need that diversification," he said. "I'm excited about it."
Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw also said she finds the revised project exciting.
"I really like the concept of the whole thing and the fact it's walkable," she said.
Councilwoman Melissa Albright said Pizzuti pulled together different concerns raised by the community.
"This feels like the right project at the right time with the right developer," she said.
Councilman Steve Bennett said while he likes the design and overall concept, he has mixed emotions.
"I need to know the impact on the city," he said. "There are a lot of unanswered questions."
Council plans to consider a resolution at its next meeting to show its support of the concept and give Pizzuti the go-ahead to move forward with developing a more detailed plan, to be presented at a later meeting.
Hamons said Pizzuti aims to invest about $13-14 million in the project. The company, he said, will not be seeking a tax abatement.
"We've been talking about developing this area for a long time," said Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce President Allen Houk during the meeting. "I'd like to see something happen."
Robin Carl, owner of HR Personal Expressions at 3971 Broadway, said it's time for the city to "get off the pot."
"You guys need to do something," she said. "We'll work out the details later."
Resident Ron Fomby said he likes that the new plan repurposes the City Hall building and incorporates outdoor space, but is concerned about parking.
"This space gets packed," he said.