Eight-Story Hotel Proposed for University District
The latest proposal for the University District calls for an eight-story hotel with ground floor retail at the corner of West Eighth Avenue and North High Street. That puts it right next door to the currently-under-construction Northside Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
NBBJ, the architecture firm responsible for the library’s design, presented the new proposal to the University Area Review Board last night. The plan would require the demolition of two buildings, both two stories tall and both built in 1920, according to property records.
The proposed hotel is 85 feet tall, and would require zoning variances for height and parking. The site is currently zoned for a maximum height of 35 feet, but if proposed changes to the zoning code in the University District are enacted, structures up to 72 feet could be built on this section of High Street without a variance. Structured parking in the building would provide 121 spaces, 30 less than required.
“We looked at this as an opportunity to create something really iconic at that corner, something that would complement a really great urban experience at the base of the project,” Mike Suriano of NBBJ told the board. “By emulating the style of the library and by moving the massing down as it approaches the library, we’re trying to create a cohesive block with this project,”
Board member Doreen Uhaus-Sauer said that she is “somewhat impressed with how it pays homage to library, but I wish it did that for the surrounding neighborhood… it only orients to the library.”
Pasquale Grado commented that the zoning committee of the University Area Commission – which discussed the project on Monday – expressed “considerable concern about parking, and about the height…it’s one story too high probably.”
Other board members were generally very positive in their comments about the design, but warned that the architects would have to make a strong case to the community for why the building needed to be taller than the guidelines set out by the University District Plan. Because this was a conceptual review, no vote was taken.
Also heard at the meeting was a review of signage for the Target coming to the Wellington development at 16th and High. The submittal and discussion revealed that both a CVS Pharmacy and a Starbucks will be located within the new Target store, which is not scheduled to open until 2018.
Renderings via NBBJ.