Westerville's planning commission gave favorable feedback during its March 27 work session to a proposed site plan that would put a mix of office and residential space in buildings on 19.5 acres at 170-200 E. Broadway and 233 Old County Line Road.

If approved, two buildings would front the proposed extension of McCorkle Boulevard.

The buildings would have 80,000 square feet of new office and residential space, 80,000 square feet of new office and warehouse space and 63,500 square feet of repurposed office and manufacturing space, according to the agenda.

City staff asked the commission to consider items in regards to the conceptual plan including: a request that a flex-office building proposed along East Broad Street should be pulled up closer to the street with parking in the rear; buildings should have additional frontage where they coincide with a biking and walking trail, removing the drive between the existing building and the bike path; fitness trails that cross public roadways should be at intersections instead of a crossing mid-block; and there should be on-street parking for the streets inside of the development.

Architect Scott Harper is the applicant for the plan that intends to take an industrial look to the property similar to properties seen in the Arena District, such as the Buggy Works building at 390 Nationwide Blvd. in Columbus.

"I believe the concept we are presenting to you is something that I feel we can deliver," said Scott Hrabcak, a commercial real-estate agent and representative of Harper, who could not attend the work session. Hrabcak said there would be three flex-office buildings, two that would run parallel to the McCorkle extension. He said the office and warehouse building space would depend on the demand. He said there would be two 10,000-square-foot pads for a flexible office space.

Hrabcak said those buildings also would have four or five units per level of two bedrooms and two bathrooms in open-floor-plan apartments.

The applicant would remove two buildings on the lot as part of the plan.

"We think this would fit in with the city's community plan," Hrabcak said.

"This is the first time I think we've seen a concept like this that extends McCorkle but increases the density," commission member Steven Munger said.

Munger also commented on the existing buildings on the site, saying "I'm not particularly attached to them. ... Those two aren't good examples of the history of Westerville."

Other board members asked about security of the apartments and suggested the applicant revise the plan in terms of the warehouse portion for truck access.

"This is the first plan for this area that we've seen that delivers some creativity," said Paul Johnson, commission chairman. "I think this is a good idea. I hope you can make something like this happen."

The plan will return to the commission at a date to be determined.

ominnier@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekOlivia