With a redevelopment project for Goodale Boulevard nearing completion and a plan to adapt an existing property approved, the city of Grandview Heights is beginning to mull how it can shape future development along the thoroughfare.
Brexton Construction is halfway finished with the five-story building it is constructing on the former reTAGit site at 1123 Goodale Blvd.
The ground floor will have covered parking, with self-storage space on the second, third and fourth floors and Brexton's new corporate headquarters on the top floor.
The city's planning commission April 19 approved a major site plan for the renovation of the adjacent property at 1133 W. Goodale.
Search2Close, a national title agency now based in Powell, has purchased the site and will remove about 1,100 square feet from the back portion of the 10,300-square-foot building to allow for more parking.
The company plans to move its offices into about 2,500 square feet of space in the back and will look to market the front section of the building for retail use, said Brad Parish, president of Architectural Alliance, the firm designing the project for Search2Close.
While it's likely the types of development on Goodale will change, it's just as likely that most of that development will involve adapting existing properties, said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration/economic development.
"Given the size of the lots, I think most of the properties on Goodale would be more suitable for renovation rather than tearing down and building something totally new," he said.
The W.W. Williams property at 835 Goodale is one of the few properties on the roadway that is large enough to allow for a full redevelopment, Bowman said.
"It's only 5 acres, but in Grandview, that's a lot," he said.
The city likely will hire a consultant to assist with the upcoming planning process, Bowman said.
"That's certainly what we have heard from the planning commission: that a consultant would help set the perimeters for the process we will be going through," he said.
"I think a consultant can help us consolidate our effort," planning commission Chairman Jamie Gentry said. "If it's left just up to us, it could go off into a lot of directions. A consultant will help bring clarity to the process."
Parking is an issue with many of the lots on Goodale, Bowman said.
"It's like with Grandview Avenue: There's just only so much parking available on Goodale because of the size of the lots," he said.
The city will need to strike a balance in setting parking standards along the boulevard, Bowman said.
"You may need to look really hard at setting a strict number of parking spaces per 1,000 feet (of building space)," he said. "You don't want to have a larger use come in and take up a lot of on-street parking, then another medium-sized use comes in and there isn't enough on-street parking. Then you have a big issue and people aren't happy."
Another issue that could impact development on Goodale is that about 15 parcels, comprising about 10 acres located on both sides of the street between the AEP property and Northwest Boulevard, remain in the flood plain, Bowman said.
That fact impacted Brexton's plans for its project, said Tim Galvin, the company's CEO.
"Our original plan was to simply keep and adapt the reTAGit building for our use," he said.
Because the property sits in the flood plain, federal, state and city regulations limit the cost of renovation to being no more than 50 percent of the property value, Galvin said.
"Our cost to renovate would have been more than 50 percent of the property value," he said.
The high cost of flood insurance also required the first floor be used for covered parking rather than the retail or office use desired, Galvin said.
"Hopefully, someday, the property can be removed from the flood plain and we would be able to use the first floor the way we'd like to," he said.
Removing the properties on Goodale from the flood plain has long been a goal for the city, Bowman said.
In the early 2000s, the city engineer identified a potential project involving the installation of a flap gate across the railroad tracks along Goodale that could've taken the corridor out of the flood plain, he said.
The city's efforts to pursue the project with the railroad and the city of Columbus did not prove fruitful, and Goodale remains in the flood plain, Bowman said.
The most recent survey of the Olentangy River revealed its elevation had dropped and there is a possibility that a study of the Scioto River could lead to the same conclusion, he said.
"It could be if that trend continues, that could be our best hope for getting Goodale out of the flood plain, but it's not something we can count on," Bowman said.
Changes in zoning?
As part of the upcoming planning process, the city will look to invite property owners to give their thoughts about the important issues regarding potential development on Goodale, he said.
Goodale has split zoning, with the north side of the street zoned C-2 Commercial and the south side M-1 Light Industrial.
"I'm more and more convinced that our end result from this planning process needs to be either a new zoning district or an overlay," Bowman said. "Doing that, I think, would be of even greater benefit for property owners and prospective developers as it would for the city."
A new zoning document could set guidelines demonstrating the type of development the city would favor along Goodale, he said.
"It would help keep a developer from spending the time and money on a proposal that would not fit the guidelines we could establish," Bowman said.
The planning process will allow the city "to look comprehensively at Goodale so it can develop as a whole," he said.
"I don't know if we can use zoning to force a reuse of a building," Gentry said. "The market will go a long way to determining how a developer wants to use a property, depending on what makes the most economic sense for them."
But the city can use the upcoming planning process to give a nudge to encourage some kinds of development to occur, while discouraging others, he said.
Galvin said he is concerned that property values on Goodale could lead some developers to seek approval of higher density, residential development along Goodale.
He said he would rather see smaller development involving office or retail use.