58-Acre Development Proposed for Prime Westerville Site
Add Westerville to the list of Columbus suburbs with significant urban infill proposals on the table.
Joining the two large mixed-use developments being proposed in Worthington – and one in Upper Arlington – a plan for a 58-acre site at the intersection of Cooper Road and Cleveland Avenue is now making its way through the approval process in Westerville.
The initial proposal calls for 648 residential units, 340,000 square feet of office, 25,000 square feet of commercial space, and 8.75 acres of open space. Also proposed is a new COTA Mobility Center that would include a new park and ride providing access to the CMAX line (the current park and ride is located around the corner from the site, on Main Street).
The site, which is known as Braun Farm, sits across Cleveland Avenue from homes and apartments, but otherwise is surrounded by commercial and institutional uses. To the south is a large office complex and Mount Carmel St. Anns hospital; to the north is a retail center as well as The Point at Otterbein, an innovation hub that the university opened in 2018; and to the east, across Alum Creek, sits the main Otterbein campus.
The new plan is being spearheaded by Otterbein University, which purchased the northern portion of the site in 2012 for $4.2 million, and bought the rest in 2019 for $8.6 million.
The university brought on the planning firm Looney, Riggs, Kiss (LRK) to come up with a vision for the site, which MTS Planning & Architecture and G2 Planning + Design refined. The project is being called Uptown West, a reference to its proximity to Westerville’s historic center, known as Uptown.
A narrative submitted as part of the zoning application describes the proposed development as a net benefit for Westerville – bringing housing, office space and amenities – as well as a way for Otterbein to grow and expand its footprint in a way that will benefit its students:
“Uptown West will be designed and implemented such that Otterbein students will have access to food, activity, exercise, entertainment and other amenities located within Uptown West…and residential units at Uptown West will be attractive to faculty, staff and others interested in proximity to the arts, culture and other outlets available on the Otterbein campus.”
A new pedestrian bridge over Alum Creek would connect the new development to the main campus and to Uptown Westerville.
A preliminary development plan for the project was discussed by the Westerville Planning Commission at its meeting on September 23. More information and materials from that meeting are available here.