Plan for Giant Eagle Site Shared With Neighborhood
Representatives of the Pizzuti Companies presented the latest plans last night for a new development to replace the Giant Eagle store and parking lot at 280 E. Whittier St.
The presentation was made over Zoom to the Schumacher Place Civic Association.
Architect Michael Suriano, of NBBJ, laid out the general outline of the proposal and showed renderings of the building from different vantage points.
He said that the proposal has changed in some ways from the initial concept that was presented to the group last March, based both on feedback from the neighborhood and also on other factors (Giant Eagle announced in August that it will be closing the Whittier Street store at the end of the year).
The current proposal calls for a five-story building – although the fifth story is set back from the main facade and not easily visible from the street – with 330 apartments and some commercial storefronts along Whittier Street.
A parking garage, accessed from Grant Avenue, would hold 220 cars on two levels – one at street level and the other below grade.
“We understand that this is a really iconic neighborhood that has a distinct atmosphere, and we also understand that our city is growing really fast,” Suriano said during his presentation. “There’s an opportunity here to not just match the neighborhood, but really to make it better and improve upon this site.”
Suriano added that the site was never actually home to the type of small brick buildings that are still so common in the neighborhood – it once held a baseball field and at one point hosted the first OSU football game.
Adam Cohn, Vice President of the Schumacher Place Civic Association, stressed to the group that “this project is not about losing a grocery store, and wanting a Trader Joe’s instead – that’s done, and does not have anything to do with this variance request – it’s about the scope, the big size, and the development of the lot.”
He encouraged residents to contact members of City Council, who will make the final decision on the zoning variances required to build the project. The variance being requested include one to allow for residential uses on the first floor and another to reduce the number of parking spaces provided.
Many other residents provided feedback, a lot of them expressing similar concerns about density and parking. The full meeting was recorded and is available on the Schumacher Place Facebook page.
The site is located just outside the boundaries of German Village, so the proposal will not need approval from that neighborhood’s historic commission. It will, however get two votes from advisory groups before it moves on to City Council – Schumacher Place is scheduled to vote on the project on October 6, after which it will head to the South Side Area Commission for a vote.