After five hearings and scrutiny of dozens of details, the Worthington Place Apartments won the approval of the Worthington Architectural Review Board/Municipal Planning Commission on March 14.
The two apartment buildings proposed for lots adjacent to the Shops at Worthington Place next will go before Worthington City Council for approval of a subdivision plat and an amendment to the development plan, both of which the ARB/MPC recommended for approval.
The commission also decided to not include the apartments in the Architectural Review District, meaning the findings of the review board would be included in the development plan.
Most of the changes to the plans covered during the March 14 hearing were refinements of details, such as changing the exterior brick on the building to full-depth bricks instead of the partial bricks originally proposed; the addition of sidewalks along West Wilson Bridge Road and throughout the internal site; and the addition of a fourth elevator to the apartment building facing Wilson Bridge.
The project is being developed by Crawford Hoying Development Partners, the same company that is constructing a similar apartment-office building on Lane Avenue, across from the Shops at Lane Avenue.
The Worthington development will be two buildings, one facing West Wilson Bridge Road on the former James Tavern site and one immediately west of the mall, near the northwest entrance.
The larger building will be 50 feet from the West Wilson Bridge right of way. The first two stories will be 22,000 square feet of office space, with three stories of apartments above.
Some portions of the building behind the offices will be six stories. Parking will be in garages behind the offices and beneath the apartments.
On the third floor, fitness and community rooms and some apartments will be built. The total apartment count is 144.
Balconies are proposed for most of the units and will either face out or overlook the amenity deck.
The second building will be four stories with 59 apartments. A parking deck with 45 spaces will be below the apartments, with surface parking planned on the west side.
Like the other building, the smaller one will have a flat roof and a mixture of brick and paneled sections. Design elements of the two buildings are similar but do not match.
Traffic has been an issue during ARB/MPC discussions. A traffic study provided by the developers projected "a negligible effect on the existing traffic operations to the area."
The city and the property owners along West Wilson Bridge Road and Old West Wilson Bridge Road should look at traffic flow through the area, ARB/MPC chairman Richard Hunter said.
Parking has been another issue, but mall owner Tom Carter said that between the parking added at the apartments and some restriping that is planned for the east side of the mall, 40 additional parking spaces should be made available by the development.
Quality and long-term viability have been other issues, with ARB/MPC members insisting that the development be built to stand the test of time.
After looking at material samples and drawings of interior and exterior plans at the meeting, Hunter told the developers they might make upgrades during construction but not downgrades.
"What has been submitted, at least in my mind, is locked in stone," he said.