The former Dixie International Trucking Co. warehouse site on the east side of Indianola Avenue -- just north of Weiland's Market -- is big, with the main structure at 265,000 square feet.
What's proposed to replace it is bigger still -- and it comes with an estimated price tag of $60 million.
It's called The Ave, according to a presentation to Clintonville Area Commission members at their March 2 meeting. It will include a three-story, 13,500-square-foot office building with 24 loft apartments on the top floors, 5,000 square feet of restaurant space, and a pair of four-story residential hotel buildings with 301 one- and-two-bedroom suites serving as de facto apartments.
The proposal has neighborhood residents concerned -- but commission members have their hands tied when it comes to Upper Arlington-based Vision Development's project.
City code has been changed to exclude extended-stay hotels from areas zoned for manufacturing, which is the case for most of the Dixie International property. Projects proposed before the new regulations can move forward; developers are required only to "consult" with area commissions.
"It's key to note that the developer does not require a single variance," District 5 representative Matthew Cull said before a presentation by Todd Foley, of the consulting firm POD Design, and Peter Scott, a senior associate with the architectural firm of Meyers and Associates.
Cull urged the 70 or so residents in attendance to be respectful once the floor was opened for questions and comments.
"We're not here to fight this, because we can't fight it," he said.
Vision Development's past projects have included apartment buildings, condos, patio homes and a residential hotel, Foley said.
"It's important to them that they are part of the fabric of the communities they are in," he said.
The site is just under 11 acres, Foley said.
Although the residential part of the project is technically a hotel, Foley told commission members Vision Development "probably" will require one-year leases for tenants.
"This product here is not something that's transient," he said. "Really, this hotel is going to look, it's going to operate, it's going to feel like a class A apartment building. This is a quality project, a quality development that's a major investment."
District 1 representative David Vottero said the proposal is an improvement over what originally was announced.
"I think the community's getting a much better project," he said.
Piedmont Road resident David Maywhoor said property owners in the neighborhood "feel like we're in a bomb shelter.
"We're scared to death about what's going to happen next," he said.
He said residents are concerned about traffic driving through residential streets trying to get from Indianola Avenue to North High Street.
"I'm just imagining 500 more cars on that street, and that every street between there and High Street will become a tributary, and I'm worried about that," Maywhoor said.
Foley said a traffic signal won't be required to handle the additional vehicles going to and coming from the development, adding that it would have a "negligible impact."