Wagenbrenner on Plans for a New Bike Path, Plus More Details on the Big Quarry Announcement
When Columbus Underground spoke with Joseph Reidy, General Counsel for Wagenbrenner Development, about plans for a new Metro Park and mixed-use development on former quarry land off of Trabue Road, there was plenty of useful information that didn’t make it into the main story. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some additional excerpts from that conversation, read on for more.
CU: Can you give us an idea of what the housing and commercial development that you are planning for this land will look like? Will it be similar to any of the other projects Wagenbrenner has done in the region, or is this a complete departure?
We are just now starting to work with architects on concepts for the project, but we expect the homes and multifamily buildings will look different than the other buildings that we’ve built in Central Ohio. If you look at Jeffrey Park, for example, we tried to give buildings more of an industrial feel as an homage to that site’s past…that was a conscious design concept for us.
This will have a Metro Park right next door, and it sits along the river corridor — it’s a more rugged and natural setting than even some of our public parks. The terrain, with the shear rock walls left from mining, is really more like something you’d see out west.
We’re working with the architects to develop designs that will complement that natural setting as opposed to a dense, urban, industrial setting like Jeffrey, or even the single family and multifamily that we’ve done at Grandview Yard.
CU: Will there be limitations as to how tall the buildings can be? I know you ran into that at Grandview Crossing, which is also a former landfill site.
JR: The nature of the waste at the Grandview Crossing site is somewhat different than at the quarry. We’ve done some geotechnical investigation, and we do believe some multi-story residential buildings are possible. So we won’t be limited to only one or two stories, although at the same time, nobody is expecting anything like a 20 story building… that wouldn’t make sense in a park setting.
CU: The land where you’ll be building currently has lots of growth and trees on it, will some of that remain?
JR: We’re going to have to clear the areas that we need to cap off existing vegetation. The land was initially a quarry, and, like at many quarry sites, after they were done taking stone out, they started throwing trash in. Just like at Grandview Crossing, where we worked with the EPA, then put on a cover and a venting system, we would be looking to construct similar controls at this landfill, in order to safely put houses and other uses on top of it.
So we’ll clear those areas, grade them, and cap them, but the corridor along the river will not be cleared, and the Metro Park section across the street will not be cleared. So the footprint of our development will be cleared, but it will be bounded on either side by green space.
CU: How did Wagenbrenner came to be involved in this project?
JR: Others have looked at this land for a golf course off and on over the years, but you’re not seeing many new golf course communities being built right now in Central Ohio, and some are actually being repurposed. So, we don’t think there’s a market for a golf course, and as people started rethinking and looking at other ideas for the land, they knew there was this landfill baggage that needed to be cleaned up.
Because Wagenbrenner has done so many other brownfield sites, people reached out to us. We saw the property was available, so we looked at it, and as we did, we saw the potential for a new park as a tremendous amenity to our mixed use development. That prompted us to reach out to Tim Maloney at Metro Parks, and they really got it from day one. They saw that it was in a location where there is really not a lot of green space, and they saw what a unique opportunity this was.
CU: What are the plans for the portion of the site that fronts the Scioto River?
That’s another part of this that we find exciting. If you look along the east side of the property, there’s about two miles of frontage along the Scioto River. We’re looking to partner with the City of Columbus to get them to extend their existing bike trail up from West Fifth Avenue. The city already owns the railroad bridge at the southeast corner of property, and has easements already in place along the east bank of the river. So if the city extends its network north from Fifth to the quarry property, we envision working with Metro Parks and the city to extend the bike trail on our property all the way to Scioto Darby Road.
The City of Hilliard, along with Columbus and Metro Parks, has also discussed plans to extend Heritage Trail down to Scioto Darby Road. So, you’d be able to get on bike downtown, ride along the Scioto River, and make your way out through Hilliard to Plain City, all without leaving bike trails…that’s pretty cool.
We’d like to see this project and the Grandview Crossing project as catalysts for economic development along the Scioto River corridor, to fill it in between the quarry site and the Scioto Mile. That corridor is such a natural feature for Central Ohio…there are hundreds of acres, some of it publicly owned. That’s part of our urban core, but it’s completely under-utilized. It’s really a hidden gem, and we think it deserves to be opened up.
For more information, visit keepitontheqt.com.
All photos provided by Metro Parks / Wagenbrenner.