Project Update: Quarry Trails
A little over two years ago, Wagenbrenner Development and Metro Parks announced a plan to transform a large former quarry site north of Trabue Road into the region’s 20th Metro Park and an adjacent mixed-use development (both the new park and the development are called Quarry Trails).
Soon after, it was announced that the land had been officially acquired, but there has not been much news about the project since then. Plenty of work was going on behind the scenes, though, and we now have lots of information to share about the project.
The first phase of the Metro Park – which will be 118 acres in size and include two large lakes and a waterfall, among other features – is now scheduled to open some time in the fall of 2020.
Steve Studenmund, Metro Park’s Strategic Planning/Land Acquisition Manager, said that the plan is to eventually build out a total of 220 acres of parkland on the site, although no timeline has been set for those future phases.
Plans for the development, meanwhile, have been mostly finalized and are likely headed to Columbus City Council for approval in September.
Steve Bollinger, of Wagenbrenner Development, said that the first phase of the project now calls for up to 50 single family homes, 315 apartments and 100 for-sale multifamily units (72 would be “condo flats” and 28 would be townhomes, both based on designs the developer has proposed for phases six and seven of Jeffrey Park).
Also planned for phase one are about 57,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space.
Another 279 single family homes and 120 for-sale multifamily units are shown on the development’s site plan – and are allowed under the zoning variance to be voted on by council – but Wagenbrenner Development has agreed to hold off on building out that portion of the development until the completion of a regional traffic study.
The traffic impact of the development has been the biggest concern expressed by members of the West Scioto Area Commission, who were split in their support of the project (four voted against recommending approval of the council variance and four voted for it).
Bollinger said that they plan on bringing the project to council with that split vote, but will continue to keep the commission and area residents informed of the latest plans.
“We’ll continue the conversations and have additional meetings,” he said. “We want to keep everyone informed…we’ll be showing them the new imagery, programming, everything.”
Recommendations from a traffic study analyzing the impact of the first phase of construction include improvements to the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Trabue Road, which will get a traffic light and added turn lanes. Other development in the area – as well as road construction on Fishinger Road and I-270 – has already led to changes in traffic patterns and increased usage along Trabue.
If the variance for the project is approved by council, Bollinger said that site work could start as soon as October, with the first vertical construction following in early 2020. Crews have already been working for the past several months to create a stable base of land to build on using a process known as dynamic compaction (the site was used as a landfill after it was a quarry, so it was not stable).
Although Wagenbrenner Development has completed many significant brownfield remediation projects in Columbus, the scale of this one is on a completely different level, and company representatives have been consistent in saying that it will have a look and feel that is distinct from any of those other developments.
One way it will be different is its embrace of the Pocket Neighborhood concept, particularly the clustering of single family homes around a communal green space. In this case, the green space will take the form of 50-foot-wide buffer zones between the front doors of the homes that will provide a pedestrian connection to the dramatic new parkland next door.
“It’s unlike any other development…they’ll have a 220-acre park out their front doors,” said Bollinger, who added that it was the unique potential of the site that made it so important to take plenty of time to discuss the project with all of the stakeholders, and to try out different site plans and designs until they came up with one that worked.
“We’re just really excited, it’s been great working with the area commission and Metro Parks,” he said. “We know how important this is, not just for us, but for the city and region… even nationally, there aren’t too many projects in the country like this.”