Worthington Place Apartments
Developers pressed for details on access
A six-story mix of offices and apartments has been proposed for the former James Tavern site on West Wilson Bridge Road.
If plans presented to the Municipal Planning Commission/Architectural Review Board on Feb. 14 are approved, a total of 206 apartments will be constructed around the Shops at Worthington Place.
The building fronting Wilson Bridge Road would include two levels of offices, with three levels of apartments above and six behind the offices.
A smaller, four-story building would be built to the north, just west of the western entrance to the mall.
The proposal replaces the earlier plans, which included a five-story apartment building in the northwest parking lot, plus a row of three-story townhomes north of the mall, facing Old West Wilson Bridge Road.
The first plans were abandoned when the mall owners discovered how much parking would be needed as the renovated mall becomes more popular, said Nelson Yoder of Crawford Hoying Development Partners, which is seeking to build the Worthington Place Apartments.
The townhomes alone would have taken up 100 parking places, he said.
"This project and the mall are inseparable," he told the MPC/ARB.
The James Tavern site is located immediately west of Insight Bank, along West Wilson Bridge Road. The restaurant, after standing vacant for a decade, was torn down two years ago.
The proposed building would be located 30 feet from the setback and would take up nearly all of the five-sided lot.
The first two stories would be 11,220 square feet of Class A office space. Parking decks are proposed behind the offices on both levels.
The first-level parking would serve the offices, the second the apartments. Access would be from Corporate Hill Drive.
A total of 147 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments would be built on five levels on the Wilson Bridge Road side, and six levels on the north side.
Two amenity decks would include a pool, gym and other community features. All apartments would have balconies either facing outward or facing an amenity deck.
The second building would be four stories with a parking deck with 44 spaces below. Fifty-nine one- and two-bedroom units would be included.
A community room is proposed for the first floor, and a roof-top deck is also proposed.
MPC/ARB members ex-pressed concerns about pedestrian and bicycle access, amenities and materials, and requested the applicants return at a future meeting with more details.
Board members James Sauer said it bothered him that the only access to the offices and apartments is through the garage. To ride a bike or walk a dog, a resident would have to go through the garage, he pointed out.
"I don't find this appealing," he said.
Scott Myers, the Worthington City Council representative who is a non-voting member of MPC/ARB, requested the developers and architects also consider how to get bicycles to the recreation path, which will probably be extended to the mall in the future.
Pedestrian connections also need to be addressed more broadly, said MPC/ARB member Chris Hermann.
Sandy Byers, a resident of Ville Charmante, the condominium complex located directly across West Wilson Bridge Road from the larger of the two buildings proposed, said she was concerned about the building's setback and height.
Residents would look directly into the windows and patios of the Ville Charmante units closest to the road, she said.
More details about materials and construction are also necessary, said MPC/ARB chairman Richard Hunter.
"We want a first-class project we can not only be proud of now, but that will stand the test of time," he said.