Westerville News & Public Opinion

Daimler plans additional office building at Westar


The Westerville Planning Commission approved the final development plan for what likely will be Westerville's next major office building June 26.

The Daimler Group presented plans for Westar V, a four-story, 106,000-square-foot building near the northwest corner of Africa Road and Polaris Parkway.

The building will be added to the four previously built Westar buildings to the west, which house companies including Chase and Elmer's.

The area originally was zoned as planned district in 2004 and four office buildings with retail outlots were developed. A retail strip with outlots was planned for the remaining land.

But as the economy slowed, development slowed, and nothing moved forward for the site until a new preliminary development plan resurfaced and was approved for the site in 2011.

"You know the market, you know what's happened," Daimler representative Paul Ghidotti told the Planning Commission. "There hasn't been a demand for larger block of space."

The new development plan was a joint concept under which Daimler would develop two large office buildings to the north, and the Casto development firm would develop planned retail outparcels lining Polaris Parkway.

A parking lot expansion was undertaken on the site earlier this year, and the final development plan for the first office building is the first to come forward from the developer.

Ghidotti said Daimler will move forward slowly on the project, developing the two office buildings one at a time.

"This is probably the only speculative building we'll do in 2013," he said.

Plans for the building show a departure from the previous four offices. The brick building would have glass corners and glass detailing at the center to break up the brick.

"What we didn't want to do was to do Westar V and VI the same way we did Westar I through IV. We thought it was time for a change," Ghidotti said.

Members of the Planning Commission largely supported the plan, though some details, such as signage and sidewalks, were left to be hashed out later between the developer and city staff.

"I don't think there are a lot of big obstacles here," said City Councilwoman Diane Fosselman, who represents council on the commission. "(Daimler has) done excellent work in the past."

No plans have been presented to the city yet for Casto's portion of the development -- the retail outlots along Polaris.

Last month, the Planning Commission approved plans for a small city park directly at the northwest corner of Africa Road and Polaris Parkway, which will be part of the overall development.