A pitch for Worthington Place sailed by Worthington City Council on March 11.
Worthington planning coordinator Lynda Bitar indicated a vote on the proposed apartment/office buildings at the Shops at Worthington Place could be taken as early as March 14, when applications will be again reviewed by the Architectural Review Board/Municipal Planning Commission.
Council will have final say on the development plan and subdivision plat that are part of the application. On March 11, none of the council members expressed major concerns about the project.
Developers Nelson Yoder and Brent Crawford, of Crawford Hoying, presented a glowing picture of the two proposed buildings, as did Shops owner Tom Carter.
"This is a new urban project that will stand the test of time," Yoder told council.
The project would provide 205 apartments and 20,000 square feet of office space in two buildings.
The largest, which would be six stories at its highest point, will have the first and second floors as office space, parking garages on two floors behind the offices and apartments above and in the rear.
It would be built on the former James Tavern site, just southwest of the mall, directly across from the Ville Charmante condominiums.
The other building would be in what is now the parking lot immediately west of the mall. It would be four stories with its own parking deck.
The Wilson Bridge Road building would include 73 one-bedroom and 71 two-bedroom apartments; the other would include 23 one-bedroom and 36 two-bedroom units.
One-bedroom units would be approximately 735 square feet in size and rent for approximately $975 a month.
The 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom units would rent for $1,500 a month.
All units would have either gardens or balconies overlooking the street or the amenity decks, where pools and other shared relaxation and recreation facilities would be.
Only the smaller building would be pet-friendly, allowing dogs of up to 20-25 pounds. A small dog run would be built between the building and Old West Wilson Bridge Road.
The buildings would be a mix of old and new architectural features and materials designed in what Yoder called "modern classicism style."
The two bottom floors of the main building are shown with glass fronts for the office space. Three floors of apartments would be above the offices.
After residents of Ville Charmante expressed concerns about the view of their homes from the upper levels of the apartment building, the developers agreed to plant a row of tall evergreen trees between the condos and Wilson Bridge Road.
Council member Bob Chosy said he is concerned about the two floors of glass, but council member Joe Davis commented that the building "doesn't feel massive at all."
An ongoing concern has been the quality of the materials that would be used and how well the buildings would maintain their quality over time.
"We want to use the best materials so in 20 to 30 years, the buildings will still look great," Crawford said.
Chosy asked what would happen if, after a few months into construction, money runs short and the builder wants to substitute cheaper materials.
"What keeps you from doing that?" he asked the developers.
Past experience and an understanding of the costs before construction begins would prevent that, Crawford said.
"We're not going into this guessing at the cost," he said.
Council member Bonnie Michael said she has been stopped on the street by residents who want to know how they could rent one of the apartments before they are even built.
"This is a very exciting project," she said.