The city of Columbus is trying to decide what to do with buildings at 757 Carolyn Ave. and 750 Piedmont Road as the last employees working there prepare to move out in April.
Roughly 230 city workers at the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services have been in the process of moving to the Michael B. Coleman Governmental Center, 111 N. Front St. in downtown Columbus. The building is named for the former mayor.
"The city certainly does not have any immediate plans (for the property)," said Joe Lombardi, director of finance and management for Columbus. "Certainly, we're going to see what our options are for that property."
The two buildings sit on nearly 11 acres roughly bordered by Carolyn Avenue, Beulah Road, Piedmont Road and Interstate 71 in the North Linden neighborhood. The entire complex is west of Maize Road.
The two-story building and zoning facility, built in 1968 on Carolyn Avenue, is 65,000 square feet.
It housed code-enforcement, permitting and building-and-zoning staff members and was used for hearings by the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment and Columbus Development Commission.
The Piedmont Road building was built in 1975 and is 41,000 square feet. It will continue to be used for civil-service training for an undetermined amount of time, Lombardi said.
Jennifer Adair, chairwoman of the North Linden Area Commission, said her group has come up with several potential replacements for the Carolyn Avenue site, such as a police substation, dog park or community center.
"There is a lot of potential," she said. "What neighbors don't want is it to be a vacant piece of property."
Meanwhile, the Michael B. Coleman Governmental Center will house 600 employees in an eight-story, 180,000-square-foot building that is being called a one-stop shop for building and zoning, public service, development and a portion of public utilities personnel.
The $74 million facility is scheduled to phase in its last group of employees April 9.
Lombardi said because the various departments have strong relationships, it was only logical to house them in the same area.
"The beauty of the new building is if you're coming in for any kind of permit ... you can do it at one place at one time," he said.
On a related note, meetings of the city's architectural-review boards that serve historic neighborhoods will be moved to the Coleman building.
The German Village Society repeatedly asked the city to allow the German Village Commission to continue to meet in the German Village Meeting Haus.
Shiloh Todorov, the society's executive director, and Nancy Kotting, the society's historic preservation advocate, asked the city to keep the meetings in German Village for the convenience of residents who are required to appear before the commission.
The city decided, however, the commission would begin meeting in the Coleman building starting in April.
"We take your concerns seriously; however, we believe the benefits of moving the meetings outweigh the challenges," Kevin J. Wheeler, planning administrator for the city, wrote to the society.