A Florida developer wants to build a 397-unit apartment complex at the northwest corner of Olentangy River and Henderson roads.

NR Investments of Miami has submitted a site plan to the city of Columbus that calls for construction of five buildings on eight parcels totaling 20 acres at 4497 W. Olentangy River Road.

The property is owned by Zimmerman FT LLC, according to documents filed with the city of Columbus.

Anthony Celebrezze, spokesman for the Columbus Building and Zoning Services Department, said the city likely will combine the parcels.

The developer is seeking a rezoning to L-AR-1, which puts limitations on what builders can do with the property. Variances related to setback and parking are also being sought, Celebrezze said.

The Northwest Civic Association is expected to hear the proposal Aug. 7, followed by the Columbus Development Commission the next day. Columbus City Council will have the ultimate say.

Nick Cipiti, NWCA president, said there should be more appropriate uses for the land "other than cramming 400 apartments in there."

"In the first place it's a much too intense and dense project for the area," Cipiti said. "Traffic in the area is really tight."

Michael Shannon, an attorney representing NR Investments, disagreed, saying the apartments fit in with the Northwest Plan, which recommends office, institutional or multifamily uses.

The land has been owned by the Zimmerman family for almost a century, Shannon said.

The family once owned the property now occupied by the Forum at Knightsbridge, an independent- and assisted-living facility for seniors, just west of the proposed apartments, Shannon said.

The development calls for a 5-acre stream-corridor-protection site and additional tree preservation for the perimeter of the property, Shannon said.

He said the developer has taken great effort to help with the flow of traffic at the Olentangy River-Henderson roads intersection by creating a full access point at Lauraland Drive, which abuts Henderson on the south side of the road.

The developer would create a road on the north leading into the development creating a four-way signalized stop, as opposed to a three-way signalized stop currently there, Shannon said.

Also, access would be limited to a right-only exit farther east on Henderson Road and a right-only entrance from Olentangy River Road, he said.

Additionally, there would be a full-access traffic "relief valve" at Knightsbridge Boulevard, Shannon said.

"We've given a lot of thought to it," he said.

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