Hilliard Northwest News

Landmark Lofts rezoning request forwarded to council

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Progress on Landmark Lofts, the mixed-use residential and retail development planned at the corner of Cemetery Road and Franklin Street, continued Jan. 27.

Members of Hilliard City Council's economic and entrepreneurial development committee forwarded an ordinance rezoning a 0.6-acre tract from B-2, a zoning classification for shopping centers, to a planned-unit development.

The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 9 recommended approval of the rezoning.

City Council is expected to introduce the ordinance for a first reading Feb. 10.

The rezoning of the 0.6 acre is the first step of a two-step process, City Planner John Talentino said.

If the rezoning is approved, developers will ask the city to adopt legislation that combines the 0.6-acre PUD with an adjacent 5.8-acre PUD to create a single PUD designation at the site, Talentino said.

The rezoning of 5.8 acres was finalized last year along with a development plan for about 170 apartments, retail stores, restaurants and the refurbishment of an inoperable grain elevator into a 7,000-square-foot community center.

While the project was moving forward, developer Buckeye KRG remained in negotiations with Sunbelt Rentals, 5274 Cemetery Road, whose owner initially rebuffed offers to join a tax-increment financing district being established for the remainder of the Landmark Lofts development.

In August, Glen Dugger, an attorney for Buckeye KRG, announced an agreement had been made to purchase the Sunbelt Rentals parcel and relocate the business to Parkway Lane.

"We would have preferred to do this all at once, but not knowing about Sunbelt, we moved forward (with the rest of the Landmark Lofts PUD)," Dugger said Jan. 27. "Now, we're playing catch-up."

A maximum of 28 residences will be added to the number of proposed apartments at the development, city officials said, but three apartments are being removed from among the 170 included in the original PUD, Dugger said.

At the Jan. 9 planning and zoning commission meeting, several residents complained that the additional parcel contained all apartments and no retail.

Although no opponents were present Jan. 27, Dugger reiterated that the lack of adequate parking did not provide for additional retail uses.

Four other buildings that are part of the original PUD in Landmark Lofts will have retail uses on the ground floors, with apartments on the second and third stories and, in some instances, a fourth story.

"I'm excited for Hilliard. I think this is a great addition ... and good for the redevelopment of Old Hilliard," said Councilman Bill Uttley.

City officials have voiced support for the development from its inception as a means to boost pedestrian traffic in Old Hilliard as the Heritage Trail simultaneously will be extended from Columbia Street in Old Hilliard to Cemetery Road, adjacent to Landmark Lofts.

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