Metropolitan Holdings provided a glimpse of a proposed 129-unit apartment development along Mill Street during an Oct. 9 workshop with the Gahanna Planning Commission.

Matt Vekasy, president of Metropolitan Holdings, said his team has been working on the project a couple of years, and he wanted to go through the workshop to share the company’s vision and solicit feedback.

He introduced Brad Parish, president of Archall Architectural Alliance; Andrew Wappner, development coordinator at Metropolitan Holdings; and Doug Maddy, whom Vekasy called a partner in the project.

Maddy of Brookewood Builders and Developers owns the former car wash on Mill Street.

The development is proposed for 2.3 acres on the east and west sides of Mill Street, south of Carpenter Road and at the northern boundary of the Creekside development.

Vekasy said the project involves about an acre at the corner of Carpenter and Mill, and the plan is to vacate North Street and construct a building up close to the street.

“We have 78 units in that building,” he said. “On the east side of the street, we have another companion building that has 51 units, as well. There’s parking in the back that kind of comes behind the Shampooch building.”

He said the buildings would be 5 stories tall.

Parish said he started working on the project with Metropolitan Holdings and looking at the area.

“We thought it would be fitting to sort of have a vernacular of a Mill building, so we started to look at some historical mills for the sort of signature view of the project here,” he said.

Parish said the entrance, leasing and amenity area, with a clubroom and a fitness room, are planned close to other retailers on Mill Street.

Parish said his team wanted to give the smaller building its own identity.

“We didn’t want to replicate sort of the Mill Street design on this building,” he said. “We give it a homogenous design between the two buildings. So that’s where the inspiration from the project came from.”

Commission member Bobbie Burba said she had some parking concerns regarding the proposal.

Vekasy said parking requirements could be achieved.

After the meeting, Maddy said EMH&T Inc. used to be housed on the site that required parking for 300 versus the proposed 129.

“It won’t be 100% parked all the time,” Maddy said. “I think we’ve heard normal concerns. We’ll take the comments back and see if we can incorporate (solutions) in the plan.”

Maddy said the project site currently includes 10,000 square feet of office space, of which only 2,000 is occupied.

Commission member Michael Greenberg asked if any thought had been given to development with storefronts.

Vekasy said he has talked to “research folks” who advised the demand isn’t there.

Commission chairman John Hicks asked if mixed use is an option.

“No, unless we have a tenant,” Vekasy said.

Commission member Thomas Wester said he’s in favor of responsible development.

“We have seven people on the commission, seven on City Council,” he said. “The city doesn’t have a development director right now. (Deputy development director) Michael (Blackford) is filling in.”

Wester questions the city’s vision for the area, not just the corner being discussed.

He asked that the renderings be integrated with the Creekside development to show how it would look with the materials being proposed.

From the commission’s standpoint, vice chairman Michael Suriano said, he doesn’t see anything out of character.

“We just implemented the land-use plan that outlines guidelines,” he said. “I don’t see anything here that would stand out. Seeing it contextually with the balance of Mill Street would be helpful.”

Suriano said he appreciates the developer and architect offering the workshop.

“It’s a big development,” he said. “It’s an important corner, especially in Olde Gahanna. We owe it to ourselves to understand it.”

Hicks said he’s in favor of development in the proposed area.

“It has to be appropriate, responsible,” he said. “Hopefully, you heard feedback on what you’d like to see addressed. I look forward to seeing this progress and evolve into a project the commission can get behind.”

Vekasy said he’s scheduled to return to City Council’s committee meeting Monday, Oct. 14, with a revised developer’s agreement.

Check for updates.