Large Development Proposed for Whittier Peninsula

A North Carolina-based developer is proposing a major new mixed-use project for a 17-acre slice of land on the Whittier Peninsula. The land, which is currently owned by CSX Transportation, sits in between the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and the railroad tracks.

Zimmer Development Company has been working with NBBJ – the architectural firm behind local developments like Gravity and Two25 Commons – to develop the project.

The proposal calls for a first phase that would accommodate between 350 and 400 residential units in two buildings – one seven stories tall and the other 12. Also planned is up to 150,000 square feet of office space, ground-floor retail and a parking garage.

Future phases could bring even more density and height to the site. Materials submitted to the City of Columbus show a four-phase development plan, with one tower that appears to be about 30 stories tall.

Adam Tucker, Director of Development for Zimmer Development Company, said that detailed plans for future phases have yet to be fleshed out, and that it could take 10 to 15 years to build out the entire site.

“We’ll take (the phases) one at a time,” he said, adding that the project team has met once already with the Brewery District Commission to discuss the first phase, and will present more detailed drawings to the group at its public meeting on Thursday, December 5. “The plan was well-received at the work session, and we’re hoping for more positive feedback on Thursday.”

Zimmer Development Company has developed multifamily and commercial projects in over 140 cities, although this would be their first development in Ohio.

“We’ve developed in Midwest before, and we’re always looking for special properties,” said Landon Zimmer, the company’s in-house counsel. “We saw that this was available, and we love the (Columbus) market and have been eager to get in there…and were able to come to an agreement on a contract.”

“We like the adjacency to the park and the interconnectivity to Downtown, that was a big draw for us,” added Tucker. “There’s been a lot of growth in the Arena District, but the Brewery District been somewhat overlooked…we think it offers all the same or more amenities that the northern part of town has gathered in the last couple years.”

A new road would be built that would connect the site to the southern end of Downtown – it would run parallel to the tracks, from Whittier Street to Mound Street (which currently dead-ends just beyond the Miranova parking garage).

The commission will be weighing in on the design of the new buildings, as well as a request to rezone the site from Manufacturing to Commercial Planned Development. The proposal is listed on the agenda as a conceptual review, meaning no vote is expected to be taken at this week’s meeting.

The Scioto Audubon Metro Park opened in 2008 on about 120 acres of land on the Whittier Peninsula, a former industrial site that was home to the city’s impound lot for decades.

Tucker said that his team has met once with Metro Parks to discuss the development, and plans to meet with them more as plans develop.