Ohio State University officials are planning to build an ambulatory care facility on the eastern fringes of the Northland area, and a small hospital will follow.

An attorney representing the university and its vice president of planning and real estate appeared before the Northland Community Council development committee March 28 to begin laying the foundations for making the medical campus part of the burgeoning development near the intersection of North Hamilton Road and state Route 161.

"We want to make certain with this type of development, this type of investment, there's no confusion about the uses," attorney David Hodge said of the proposal for 31.59 acres at 6060 N. Hamilton Road.

Officials at OSU are "excited to become part of the Northland community," vice president Keith Myers told committee members. This will be the first medical-care facility for the university outside of the outerbelt, he said, "and as such will be a flagship."

"This is a very important site to us, a very important project," Myers said.

An ambulatory care facility of about 200,000 square feet would be the first phase of the project at what is being referred to as Hamilton Crossing, a major project involving three developers and construction of apartments, office buildings and retail sites.

Appearing at the same development committee session, attorney Charlie Fraas, representing Casto, one of the developers, sought and got approval for rezoning that consolidates the business and office aspects of Hamilton Crossing. He noted that the retail anchor, a prototype Target store, would be one with two entrances -- a design not yet seen east of the Mississippi River.

The ambulatory care facility would be for patients who don't need overnight medical care, Myers said, but would offer some procedures that could spare Northland residents the hassle and stress of making their way to the main campus.

The second phase, the small hospital, would be for "low-acuity" patients, Myers said.

"It basically means you're not that sick," he said.

There has been no decision yet on the number of beds in the hospital, but it would offer diagnostic and treatment services, Myers said.

Some specialty care, same-day treatment and walk-in services also would be available at the hospital, he said.

"It won't be a large regional hospital," he told committee members. "We're still trying to wrestle to the ground the kind of architecture we want to bring to the building. We're just beginning to explore that."

The hospital probably would be five stories, Hodge said.

"There'll be no trauma center," Myers said, but added that all hospitals must provide some form of emergency treatment.

No timetable for the project was discussed during the meeting.

William Logan, vice chairman of the NCC's development committee, expressed reservations about a request included in the OSU proposal to waive landscaping requirements regarding trees in the parking lot. City code dictates one tree for every 10 spaces.

"I'm concerned with what you're proposing," he said. "Why do you find it necessary to eliminate the landscaping buffer and screening conditions that are, quite frankly, standard in the city?"

Logan said that without trees, the parking lot would be a "sea of asphalt."

Myers agreed to abide by landscaping requirement for the number of trees, but said it was important because of the nature of the ambulatory care facility and hospital to have parking as close to the buildings as possible.

In his report, committee Chairman Dave Paul said the members voted 14-0 with two abstentions to recommend approval of the updated development standards for the medical campus, with the landscaping requirement reinstated.