A $32 million mixed-use redevelopment plan for a high-profile site near Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 23 in Worthington is moving forward, after more than two years of planning and tweaking.

The Village at Worthington Square recently gained conditional approval from the city's architectural-review board, meaning it could gain all necessary approvals this month and break ground by the fall.

A Hampton Inn & Suites with 111 rooms is planned on the site, along with a total of 19,000 square feet of office space and 26,000 square feet of space for restaurants or "personal-care" businesses, such as fitness studios or beauty salons.

Ohm Patel, CEO of the developer, Witness Group, said plans call for operating the Holiday Inn on the site, across the street from the Shops at Worthington Place, through July. The company's agreement with the brand expires at that time.

The 232-room property at 7007 N. High St. has been a Holiday Inn since the 1970s. The new hotel will have fewer than half that number of rooms.

Witness Group will need a variance for height, since its planned buildings go up to four stories rather than the three for which the area originally was zoned. The city recently revamped its guidelines for the Wilson Bridge Road corridor, however, including allowing for greater density and buildings that can be four stories tall.

Architectural board members also requested extra landscaping at a few areas on the property, Patel said, along with more consistency in design details.

The developer at one point had proposed two separate hotel buildings on the site, but scaled back to one after concerns were expressed about traffic flow in the area.

mrose@dispatch.com

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