New Hotel Could be First Step in Densification of Easton
After two decades of growing out, Easton could soon be growing up in a significant way for the first time.
A request to allow buildings as tall as 200 feet to be built at the southwest corner of Stelzer Road and Alston Street – just south of the 16-acre Easton expansion that saw its first openings over the holidays – was approved by the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on February 25.
Plans submitted to the city as part of the request show a 12-story hotel, a parking garage and a second mid-rise tower on the 12-acre parcel.
In addition to that approved request, a larger rezoning proposal is working its way through the approval process that would establish a height district of 200 feet for much of the remaining undeveloped land to the south and east. The new zoning would increase the allowed height from 60 to 200 feet for the parcel at the northwest corner of Stelzer Road and Easton Way, as well as for the area east of Stelzer that extends to I-270 (a portion of which once held the Aladdin Shrine Temple).
The new zoning would clear the way for buildings as tall as 20 stories, although the developers behind Easton Town Center – L Brands, The Georgetown Company and Steiner + Associates – remain characteristically tight-lipped about what exactly that future development will look like, or what the timeline for building it might be.
A spokesperson for the developers would only say that “the height modification request is to allow for flexibility as Easton plans for the future.” She further clarified that the plans and renderings submitted with the zoning request “are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only.”
In recent years, though, Easton’s developers have been upfront about their vision for the future – taller buildings containing a mix of uses that are laid out in a much less car-centric manner than what has been built so far.
“There’s lots of land sitting empty, and our partners, we all buy into the importance of using our land wisely,” said Yaromir Steiner, Founder and CEO of Steiner + Associates, when he was interviewed by Columbus Underground in 2018. “And that means any expansion of Easton going forward will be deck parked; we will not have surface parking anymore…this is a major commitment to density.”
Steiner went on to say that in the next 20 years we can expect to see “thousands of residential units at Easton – whether that is condos, rentals, high-rises or low-rises – that’s the long-term goal, and we’ll start seeing things come out of the ground soon.”
Some of those residential units will be located to the north of the new RH Gallery and other buildings coming up along Worth Avenue (where the height limit is 110 feet), but others will likely be built to the south and east, on the 91 acres of land the developers hope to get zoned for 200-foot-tall buildings.