Former Village Bookshop Part of Apartment Proposal Heading to Commission
A Worthington-based firm is moving forward with a development plan that involves the former Village Bookshop, at 2424 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., as well as eight acres of land directly to the north.
The historic portion of the former bookstore – which was built as a church in the 19th-century – will be renovated to serve as a leasing office and community room for the larger development, according to Kevin Rohyans of the New England Development Company.
The rear, cinderblock addition to the church building will be demolished and replaced with two new structures which will hold eight apartments (technically classified as an extended stay hotel to avoid the need to rezone the property).
Meanwhile, a plan to build a 154-unit apartment complex just to the north of the Village Bookshop property is headed to the Columbus Development Commission on June 13.
That development – featuring three, three-story buildings and 231 parking spaces – would require the demolition of several single family homes.
Since that part of the plan does requires several zoning variances, it has was brought before the Far Northwest Coalition for a vote before moving on to the Development Commission.
Aaron Neumann, President of the Far Northwest Coalition, said that the group voted in April to recommend disapproval of the application, “based on concerns on the impact on local safety, traffic, infrastructure, greenspace, and neighborhood cohesion.”
The issue of traffic along that section of Dublin-Granville Road (also known as State Route 161) has been a flashpoint for years.
A 2013 plan to build a shared use path along the road was scrapped after running into public opposition, and in 2017 the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) produced a study that looked at options for improving the corridor between Olentangy River Road and Sawmill Road.
That study recommended installing a center left-turn lane and leveling out the roadway where it crosses the railroad tracks, among other fixes. It also recommended building a shared use path on one side of the road and sidewalks along at least part of the other side.
Breanna Badanes, Public Information Officer at ODOT, said that there is not currently any funding identified for any of these projects. A resurfacing project that is scheduled for later this year will not include any of the recommended improvements.
Rohyans said that he is confident the project will be a net benefit to the area. He cited infrastructure improvements, like the addition of city water and sewer systems, as well as new sidewalks and streetscape upgrades.
He also said that over half of the site’s area will remain as open space, including the northern portion of the parcel, which features large trees and a ravine.
“The natural beauty of the site was a major attraction for our team,” Rohyans said. “There are very few sites around the city that contain an iconic historic structure, large areas of pristine wilderness, and developable building areas of this size, thus we are very excited to bring this development to the Linworth area.”
The Development Commission meets at 6 p.m. on June 13 at 111 N. Front St.