Worthington City Council gave final approval for the Worthington Place apartments April 1, clearing the way for construction to begin as early as July.
The two buildings will be constructed west and southwest of the Shops at Worthington Place, providing 203 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 22,000 square feet of Class A office space.
Council voted 6-0 in favor of a subdivision to create the new lot and an amendment to the development plan for the property; those were the final two approvals needed.
The proposal was before the Municipal Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board for five months and was changed considerably to meet the demands of the city.
"This project is very different than what it started out to be," MPC chairman Richard Hunter told council members.
The plan is a good one, and the developers must stick with the plans, quality of materials and construction promised, Hunter said. The MPC must approve any changes.
Quality and longevity of the development were of utmost importance to MPC and ARB as they reviewed the plans, he said. He is convinced, he said, that the developers from Crawford Hoying Development Partners are committed to making the buildings work in the long run.
"They are invested in what's going to happen, as far as I can see," Hunter said.
The plans nearly were sent back to the drawing board by council after council member Rachael Dorothy said she needed more information about a traffic study that showed the development having very little effect on traffic around the mall. A motion to table was rejected in a 3-3 vote.
When other offices in the Wilson Bridge corridor become more successful, a traffic study of the entire area will be necessary, City Manager Matt Greeson said.
Construction will begin in July and take about 15 months, said Nelson Yoder, of Crawford Hoying. The smaller building, which will be immediately west of the mall, should be completed in a year, and the larger building, which will face West Wilson Bridge Road on the old James Tavern site, should be completed in October 2014, he said.
The five- and six-story James Tavern building will be 22,000 square feet of office space on the first two stories, with 116 apartments above and behind the offices. Parking will be on two interior levels behind the offices.
First-level parking will be for offices, with some for apartments. The second-level parking will be for apartments only and will be gated.
The front of the building will be 30 feet from the right of way. A front patio will extend 20 feet from the front of the building.
The developer will plant 12- to 15-foot evergreen trees along the south side of West Wilson Bridge Road to help screen Ville Charmante condominiums.
The building will feature a pool deck on the third floor at the northwest corner. It will include a multiple-level waterfall, grills and a fire pit.
Other amenities will be provided on a second deck on the third floor.
Residents of the second building will have access to the amenities in the larger building.
The second building will be four stories plus a parking deck below the 59 apartments. Parking also will be provided west of the building, with a bay of parking to the east, separating the apartment building from the mall.
A community room is proposed for the first floor, and a roof-top deck is planned.
A small dog park will be installed between the apartment building and Old West Wilson Bridge Road. Dogs will be permitted in the smaller building only.
The area between the apartments and the mall, as well as the drive along Corporate Hill Drive, will be designed like a street. Pedestrian connections will be provided throughout the site.
Rent will be about $975 a month for the one-bedroom, 735-square-foot apartments. Two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot units will rent for $1,400 to $1,500 a month.