Plans for the redevelopment of Worthington's Holiday Inn are progressing, but remain several months away from completion.

Plans for the redevelopment of Worthington's Holiday Inn are progressing, but remain several months away from completion.

Witness Hospitality -- formerly Alliance Hospitality -- announced early in 2016 that it plans to demolish the Holiday Inn at 7007 N. High St., replacing the hotel with a mixed-use "village" concept that would include two smaller hotels and several restaurants.

In February, Managing Director Ohm Patel said continued use of the Holiday Inn name after 2017 would cost the company "a tremendous amount" of money, leading to the company's decision to redevelop the site.

Now, redevelopment plans are with the city's architectural review board and municipal planning commission, where Witness representatives and city staff are slowly developing the final design for the project.

Lee Brown, planning and building director, said the project is "on the right track," but will be under review for several months.

"I envision several more meetings on architecture, then we'll circle back around back to the site plan to talk traffic, lighting, storm water, all that stuff," he said. "But the next few months will be architecture-focused."

Witness Hospitality's plans have remained largely consistent since they were first discussed. They're still refining color and design -- which Brown said will "probably change multiple times," by the end of the process -- but are still showing the same structures.

The highlight of the project will be the new four-story hotel, which exceeds the currently permitted three-story limit, but matches the ideas in the Wilson Bridge Corridor plan developed by the city. Witness is also asking for variances on setbacks from High Street and Wilson Bridge Road and perhaps a parking variance.

But through the process, Brown said nearby residents haven't expressed too much displeasure with the idea.

"A few of the neighbors are still asking questions about height and landscaping and setbacks and screening, but a lot of that is balanced with, 'Here are the existing zoning rights; here's what they're proposing; here's what they could do,' and really focusing on the architecture part of it," he said.

Brown said he expects the ideas to move smoothly through the ARB and MPC, but didn't want to predict the outcome.

"From our standpoint, it matches up with what's been adopted and what's in the land-use plan," he said. "So from staff's standpoint, our recommendation to the boards and commissions would be for approval, just since it matches up with the guidelines."

As plans are refined, the redevelopment will go through the board of zoning appeals, which will determine whether to grant the variances. Worthington City Council will not need to approve the project.

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