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Designing the Grandview Yard Master Plan and Implementation in Grandview Heights, Ohio

MKSK MKSK Designing the Grandview Yard Master Plan and Implementation in Grandview Heights, OhioDesigning the Grandview Yard Master Plan in Grandview Heights, Ohio.
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Just over a decade ago, Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) announced plans for Grandview Yard, a 125-acre mixed-use development located just outside of downtown Columbus, in the first-ring suburb of Grandview Heights. NRI partnered with MKSK to develop the master plan for the new development.

Three years after the initial announcement, the first phase of Grandview Yard opened, forever changing the landscape of what was once a blighted industrial district and site of a shuttered grocery warehousing and distribution center. The $800 million landmark development is nearing completion with 1.2 million square feet of office space, substantial retail, dining and hospitality components.

With long-term vision, a neighborhood development strategy, and a market-sensitive master plan, NRI has incrementally developed Grandview Yard into the thriving urban neighborhood it is today. MKSK has continued to serve on the development teams for the design and implementation of all the streetscapes, parks and open spaces within Grandview Yard.

Apartments at The Yard & Yard Club amenities at Grandview Yard
Apartments at The Yard & Yard Club amenities at Grandview Yard.

Building on the residential character of the small town, more than 1,500 residential units are nearing completion through a diverse transect of living options comprised of apartments, townhomes, condominiums, and single-family homes.

In addition to the growing number of residents at Grandview Yard, the neighborhood is today anchored by and supports thousands of office workers including nearly 4,000 Nationwide Insurance employees, providing a generous daytime population to the residential neighborhood and activating the streets, open spaces, and retail amenities.

Grandview Yard supports a true live-work-play environment boasting a mix of retail and commercial offerings ranging from beauty to urgent care services and a variety of fast casual and dine-in restaurant options, two hotels, an event and conference center, more than three acres of parks and green space, and beautifully landscaped sidewalks, with convenient parking options, and easy access to major freeways and downtown Columbus.

The Framework Plan and Master Development Plan for Grandview Yard

The development is rich with amenities within walking distance for workers and residents, and in turn, assists in boosting economic growth with substantial commercial anchors for the city. Design elements were carefully selected to incorporate contextual sensitivities while still establishing Grandview Yard as a unique destination distinctive in character and immediately recognizable as users enter the district.

Grandview Yard Master Plan
Grandview Yard Master Plan

The Framework Plan and Master Development Plan builds off the existing historic roadway grid of the Grandview Heights neighborhood creating a seamless transect from historic neighborhood to new mixed-use neighborhood. Adding importance to connectivity and the grid, primary roadways are largely terminated with neighborhood and civic scale parks and open spaces in the creation of a robust social infrastructure network.

Related: A look back on what the area looked like 10 years ago

Building on the turn-of the-century street grid, the master plan continues the traditional urban framework and connected grid including the arrangement of corridors, open spaces, land uses, buildings, and parking.

Additionally, urban design details for all public and private improvements were established and MKSK provided consulting services to secure development rights through a new overlay district adopted by the city zoning department.

Community festival event in Ray E. DeGraw Park, Grandview Yard.
Community festival event in Ray E. DeGraw Park, Grandview Yard.

The neighborhood also features a civic keystone with a 3-acre park and plaza, tying directly into the historic neighborhood grid at the heart of Grandview Heights. Ray E. DeGraw Park features more than 100 mature trees that extends the established streetscape of the adjacent neighborhood into the new park

This open space also provides office workers to the adjacent corporate campus and residents, a flexible venue for functions ranging from picnics and kickball games to large-scale events including community festivals, concerts, and street fairs.

Parking Considerations

With a development of this magnitude, shared parking considerations are paramount and careful consideration was given to the location of all hidden parking resources to maximize traffic flows and create safe pedestrian access.

Planning, design, and implementation of parking considerations included: integrating parking locations within the urban fabric so that parking structures become place-making; developing functionally and visually dynamic pedestrian connections as a component of the environment so the user experience is not of a traditional parking lot; and nesting parking structures and lots into the infrastructure of the site making parking locations a part of the street grid.

The Grandview Yard development is a pioneering and successful urban development example of sustainable design and was the first development in the Midwest to be pre-certified as a LEED-ND Silver community, making it the highest rated neighborhood by the U.S. Green Building Council.

MKSK Planning Urban Design Landscape Architecture

MKSK is the landscape architectural designer for the outdoor spaces that were featured on the 2021 Urban Living Tour, including the third-floor courtyard and pool deck with dog park at The Nicholas and exterior spaces for the Apartments at the Yard featuring Brooks Building & Yard Club amenities. These features were included in the Urban Living Tour booklets and are being featured on Columbus Underground. For more information, visit mkskstudios.com.

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