Revised plan for Gahanna's Crescent at Central Park would bring 240 apartments

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
A new concept for Crescent at Central Park includes 50 acres of office/commercial uses, 40 acres of parks and open green space and nearly 15 acres of residential use. A public hearing on the plan will will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 15.

Gahanna residents are invited weigh in on a 240-unit apartment development that is part of a new concept for Crescent at Central Park.

Gahanna City Council has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 15. To listen to the meeting, residents should call 513-306-4583 and, when prompted, enter conference ID 140332630#. Anyone wanting to participate in the public hearing must notify the council clerk via email at april.beggerow@gahanna.gov at least one hour prior to the meeting.

Council will consider legislation from applicant Larry Canini, representing Crescent at Central Park LLC, to change the zoning of a 17.90-acre parcel off Hamilton Road from select commercial planned district to limited multifamily residential development for 240 apartments.

The multifamily residential development would be the initial component to a mixed-use development, according to the zoning-change application. 

The site is southeast of the South Hamilton Road interchange at Interstate 270 and north of Tech Center Drive.

A public hearing on the matter originally had been set Dec. 7, but the applicant temporarily withdrew the application for a revision after concerns had been raised about the residential component that was calling for about 310 apartments.

Michael Blackford, Gahanna city planner and zoning administrator, said council had raised questions about the residential component and footprint of the residential portion of the development. 

The residential portion has been revised and has been reduced by 70 units and 2.5 acres, he said.

 “The developer went back to the drawing board,” Blackford said. “The residential footprint is now smaller than the initial proposed project.” 

The total breakdown of the proposed project, if the zoning change is granted, is 50 acres of office/commercial uses, 40 acres for parks and open green space and 15 acres for residential use, he said.

“Residential is a big part of what drives the rest of development of retail and office,” said Jennifer Syx, Gahanna interim development director. “Time and time again, we have seen that residential will drive retail- and office-space development.”

She said the project is 100% in line with the development happening right now in the region. 

“MORPC has identified that we need to diversify our housing stock, and we are poised and ready to do that,” Syx said.

Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin said the multifaceted campus development from Larry Canini encompasses roughly 100 acres of commercial and retail space, open parkland, green spaces, medical-office space and residential housing. 

Canini said during a Jan. 25 council committee meeting that the original goal was a townhouse product to attract a variety of residents. 

He said the revised proposal is a condensed version of what was presented a few months ago. 

Canini said the Walnut Creek Wellness Center has proposed a surgical center and that other medical professionals seem eager to expand in the area.

Jadwin said that area already is focused on medical offices, which is a focus of the city’s development efforts. 

“With Central Ohio Urology (Group) and Walnut Creek (Wellness) Center already established in the area, the Crescent at Central Park campus continues to draw interest for future additional medical office spaces,” she said. “The combination of medical-office, commercial, and retail space and housing for potential employees makes sense and is a win-win.”

Every time the city meets with businesses about potentially locating in Gahanna, their first concern is the availability of housing for their employees, Jadwin said. 

“Seventy percent of our housing stock was built before 1990,” she said. “We lack both availability and diversity in our housing inventory.” 

If the city wants to attract businesses and build out its income tax base, which is most of the city’s revenue, Jadwin said, Gahanna has to build the housing it needs. 

“That’s why everywhere around us, you see mixed-use development happening, which includes a variety of housing,” she said.

Gahanna’s Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the application and related legislation to city council on Sept. 23, 2020.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla