Upper Arlington News

City development

UA study to gauge Fishinger-Riverside prospects


An Upper Arlington advisory board has commissioned a study to gauge potential office, retail and commercial development prospects on the city's western boundary.

Next month, the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corp. (CIC) and officials in the city's development department expect to receive findings from a review of market data related to the northeast corner of the intersection of Fishinger Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

The $20,000 study was authorized by the UA CIC, an advisory board for the city's development efforts, which receives annual funding from Upper Arlington City Council. It's being conducted by NBBJ, a Columbus-based architectural, planning and consulting firm that has offices in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as Beijing, London, Pune and Shanghai.

Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb said the city and the CIC were approached about the study by property owners for five parcels at the northeast corner of Fishinger and Riverside, including the Golden Bear and Scioto shopping centers.

Lamb said the goal of the study is to determine if the corner could support higher-use office and retail businesses, which could bring in more jobs or higher-paying ones, as well as diversified residential projects.

The study is examining current market conditions, and attempting to project those for five years in the future, he said.

"We entered the agreement for the study in March and we expect to have results in by the end of June," Lamb said. "The property owners approached the city to determine what other uses might be viable for their properties.

"Our goal with the study is to create a plan that would really help move forward with investment on the site."

Although both the Golden Bear and Scioto shopping centers are near capacity, Lamb said, the CIC approved funding the study in hopes of encouraging new economic development on the city's west side.

Those projects, he added, could bring "new amenities and possibly new housing options" to the area.

"We think it's a great location with high-traffic volume," he said. "(The study) is going to look at how much office the area could support, what type of office the area could support and what type of retail and residential."

An April 10 public hearing was held with those who live or operate businesses near the corner. Lamb said most were supportive of the study, and their main concern was improving pedestrian access to Columbus' Griggs Reservoir Park, which is just west of Riverside Drive.

"The No. 1 thing we heard was they wanted to see connectibility from the east side of Riverside to the west side of Riverside so they would have access to the park," Lamb said. "We're trying to find a way that makes it a little more pedestrian-friendly to cross Riverside."

Once the study is completed, it will be presented to Lamb and the CIC. From there, city officials are expected to work with current property owners to determine the next course of action.