Worthington News

Fresh Thyme gets approvals months ahead of schedule


Less than four months after its first announcement of plans to build a new grocery store in Worthington, InSite Realty has all of the city approvals it needs to begin construction of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market at 933 High St.

With the city moving more quickly than expected, opening is now set for next April for the 26,000-square-foot market that will sell natural and organic foods, local produce, bulk items, meats and fish, prepared foods, and beer and wine.

When InSite representatives first approached the city, the opening date was set for the third quarter of 2015.

The first applications were filed with the city in April. On July 18, the Municipal Planning Commission approved final development plans for the new store and demolition of the two-story office building there, and the Architectural Review Board granted a certificate of appropriateness.

No last-minute changes were made to the plans, just inclusion of such details as the color of the bike racks -- green and yellow -- and the placement of cart corrals and the design of benches that will allow people to sit in front of the store or near the entrance, which will be on the rear of the building.

During the approval process, the only major sticking point was the entrance location.

City design guidelines call for new businesses in that location to be built near the street and have High Street entrances. Only after many meetings did the city agree to permit the doors to be in the rear because the store's layout, which is dictated by the size and shape of the lot, would not permit entrances on both sides.

Parking will be in the rear, with 111 parking places. The vehicular entrance and exit will be in three lanes on the north side of the building.

Sidewalks on the north and south sides will allow for pedestrian access, and High Street seating will be on the north end of the front of the building, as well as near the doors.

The brick building will appear to be two stories, with the top being a facade to screen mechanical equipment.

Properties north, south and west of the store will be screened with existing or new 8- or 9-foot wooden fences.

InSite Realty is headquartered in the Chicago area, where the first Fresh Thyme opened this past spring. More than 60 new stores are planned for the Midwest over the next five years.

Also at the July 24 meeting, MPC/ARB approved signs for the nearly completed apartment building next to the Shops at Worthington Place. Identical signs announcing the Heights at Worthington Place will be mounted on canopies above the two main entrances. One is on the south side; one is on the east side.

Commissioners also learned that the configuration of some of the apartments in the building under construction facing West Wilson Bridge Road has changed.

To meet demand, 14 planned one-bedroom units will be seven three-bedroom units.

Crawford Hoying is building both apartment buildings, bringing approximately 200 apartments to the area around the mall. The building facing West Wilson Bridge will include office space on the ground level.

In other matters at the meeting, MPC/ARB:

* Tabled a request for a conditional-use permit to operate an automobile wholesale business at 1004 Proprietors Road. The city has received complaints about vehicles parked too close to the street. Members want to see a plan for how the vehicles would be parked farther from the right of way in front of the business.