OhioHealth officials are hoping to build a medical facility on a portion of the United Methodist Children’s Home property at 1033 N. High St. in Worthington, according to city documents.
The Daimler Group, acting on behalf of the health-care company, has filed a rezoning request with the city of Worthington to build a 60,000-square-foot building that would include an emergency room, primary-care offices and imaging and other medical services on roughly 15% of the parcel, according to city spokesperson Anne Brown. A rezoning summary listed the OhioHealth site at 3.4 acres.
“At OhioHealth, we’re always focused on how we can create access to the right care, at the right time and at the right place for the communities we serve,” Dr. Kevin Lutz, project manager for the company, said in a prepared statement. “Many people in the Worthington area look to OhioHealth for their health care. We believe we have an opportunity to make it easier for them to access our care and physicians, and that’s the spirit of what we’re working on.
“Plans are not finalized but we look forward to sharing additional information in the near future.”
The project is expected to generate more than 100 jobs at the southwest corner of High Street and Larrimer Avenue, according to the city.
About 85% of the site is zoned commercial, according to city documents. The remaining portion is zoned special or residential, according to the documents.
The rezoning request will be on Worthington City Council’s agenda for Monday, March 2. At that time, council is expected to refer it to the Worthington Municipal Planning Commission for review and discussion March 12, according to the city. The MPC then would make a recommendation to council.
Brown said city officials are pleased OhioHealth again is planning to invest in Worthington.
“Medical services are always a need in the community,” Brown said. “This will provide services that are not available currently for our residents. In addition, it will bring much-needed income-tax revenue to help us provide the quality services our community expects and needs.”
OhioHealth had announced plans in 2016 to build a similar, 20,000-square-foot facility in Worthington but tabled the request at the Feb. 9, 2017, Worthington Architectural Review Board and MPC meeting, according to city documents.
At the time, OhioHealth officials said they would continue with revisions and seek review at a later date, the documents said.
There have been no new updates as of April 4, 2018, according to the documents.
“We pride ourselves on determining the right level of care for each community,” Lutz’s statement said. “As you know, we’ve opened everything from urgent cares to freestanding emergency departments and medical-office buildings. We’re still finalizing our plans for what we believe is right for the Worthington community.”
The UMCH property off High Street has been the subject of speculation since a residential facility for troubled youth closed there in December 2010.
The 37 acres and two parcels at 1033 N. High St. still are listed with UMCH as the owner, according to the Franklin County auditor’s website.
Columbus developer Lifestyle Communities floated plans for the site in 2015 that included offices, apartments, small ranch houses and single-family houses, but negative reactions from residents helped deter the company from pursuing it.
In 2018, Worthington announced via the city website there was “ongoing dialogue taking place to determine the future” of the site. The conversations reportedly involved Yaromir Steiner, the CEO of Steiner + Associates known for his work developing Easton Town Center, the owners of the former children’s home and Lifestyle Communities.
Last October, a local group presented petitions signed by 1,000 residents asking the city to buy the property to develop into a park.