Westerville News & Public Opinion

Offices planned across County Line from St. Paul's

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The northwest corner of County Line Road and North State Street, on which bulldozers currently sit, could be the site of future office buildings.

The Westerville Planning Commission heard an informal proposal from developer John Shumate to construct three brick office buildings, totaling about 70,000 square feet.

Shumate, who developed an office park to the west of the property and a condominium complex to the north of it, showed architectural renderings for the site. It features two larger office buildings, joined at the center, wrapping the corner of the site with a smaller office building to the west and a parking lot to the north.

The site previously housed three single-family homes, all recently demolished, and is zoned Rural Residential. It is across County Line Road from an HER real estate office building and behind that, the large St. Paul Catholic Church property.

The land would have to be rezoned before development could move forward.

The North Westerville Plan, developed about a decade ago, called for residential development on the site, and a multifamily development was proposed a few years ago, but no finite plans materialized, said Westerville Planner Jeff Buehler.

The informal presentation was meant to gauge whether commission members felt the office use was appropriate for the site, Buehler said.

Planning Commission members expressed enthusiasm about the idea of the office buildings and the renderings presented.

"It jibes with what's across the street," said commission member Amy Koorn. "Overall, I'm glad to see something move forward at that site."

Some issues still would need to be hashed out in a formal proposal, commission members said, such as how to best shield the large parking lot to the north and how to best access the site without disturbing an already busy intersection.

With Shumate's history of development in Westerville, commission members said they are confident his involvement will lead to a quality office development on an important corner.

"We know we're getting a quality building," said commission member Gerald Domanik. "It makes a good statement on that corner."

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