Marble Cliff residents will have the opportunity next week to learn more about the potential redevelopment of a Fifth Avenue site that's home to an iconic structure.
An open house will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the village's Administration Building, 1600 Fernwood Ave.
The F2 Companies and Elford Development are proposing a 67-unit apartment building dubbed the Gateway at Marble Cliff at 2015 W. Fifth Ave.
The concept plan calls for the demolition of the current Tudor-style building -- built as a residence in 1908 but serving as a commercial and office building for the past several decades -- and an adjacent multistory apartment building on Arlington Avenue.
Representatives of the two development companies and the architectural firm assisting with the project will be on hand during the open house to answer residents' questions.
"This will be more of an informal-type meeting. It will not be a public meeting per se," Mayor Kent Studebaker said. "Some people are hesitant to ask questions in a public setting. This will give them a chance to interact with the developers on a more-private, one-on-one basis."
The expectation is that individual stations will be set up focusing on various aspects of the development, Fiscal Officer Cindy McKay said.
"There might be a station regarding parking, and if that's a topic you're interested in, you can go to that station and find out more about it," she said.
The developers presented a concept plan for the project at the Jan. 29 meeting of Village Council.
Council is expected to give an informal indication at its next regular meeting Feb. 19 as to whether the developers should continue to pursue the project or whether it's a no-go for the village, Studebaker said.
If the developers proceed, the village would consider the project under a planned development district zoning classification.
"It's a zoning classification we've established in the village that gives us more leeway on addressing all the various details of a project, including the design, landscaping and parking," Studebaker said.
The process and zoning will be similar to approval process for the Prescott Place condominiums built at the former site of St. Raphael's Home for the Aged, he said.
If council's general reaction to the concept plan isn't prohibitive, the developers would have two more stages to go through: formal approval of a development plan and a final plan, Studebaker said.
Council also would have to grant separate approval of the building demolitions, he said.
"It's a process that would take quite some time to go through," Studebaker said. "Our main concern has to be what is best for the village and the community as a whole."
During the presentation of the concept plan, Joe Sullivan of Sullivan Bruck Architects said the development "will fit in with the character of Marble Cliff. We believe this will contribute to the community and its aesthetics" through the quality of its design and details, he said.
The proposed building would include three stories built above a parking structure "that would in essence be like a basement, except that it would be for cars," Sullivan said. The site also would include some outdoor parking spaces.
About 60 percent of the apartments would have two bedrooms and the rest would be one-bedroom units, he said.
Rent is still to be determined, he said.
The target market would be empty nesters or baby boomers seeking high-quality housing options as they look to retire and downsize, Sullivan said.
Many of the residents who move into the apartments likely would be people who already live in the surrounding community and want to remain close to the amenities they enjoy, he said.
Upper Arlington residents who live on West Fifth Avenue across from the property will be notified about the proposed development and invited to give their comments, Studebaker said.
But the decisions made about the project will be based on Marble Cliff criteria, he said.
By Studebaker's count, the Gateway at Marble Cliff project marks the 10th time the village has been contacted about a development proposal for the property at 2015 W. Fifth Ave.
"That has run the gamut from a family that was interested in renovating the building for use as their home to various proposals for office or commercial uses to an idea to open a restaurant on the site," he said.
A final purchase agreement for the property never panned out in any of the previous proposals, Studebaker said.
In some cases, the village never heard from the would-be developers again after they made their initial contact with Marble Cliff, he said.
The home once served as the headquarters for Burgess & Niple, an engineering and architectural firm.
The building sits mostly vacant now, though Vector Marketing and Cornerstone Masonry Inc. are located there.