COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A proposed plan that would transform an abandoned baseball stadium into a mixed-use development with apartments, an outdoor amphitheater and retail space was approved during Monday’s Columbus City Council meeting.

Cooper Stadium housed the Columbus Clippers for decades until 2008, when they moved to Huntington Park in the Arena District. The stadium, located on the south side of West Mound Street, has been abandoned since.

Franklin County sold the property in 2012 to SPARC (Sports Pavilion and Automotive Research Complex) Holding, whose parent company is Arshot Investment. The corporation originally planned to redevelop the space into a racetrack and automotive center, but that project fell through. 

Now, Arshot sought and received approval from City Council to rezone the 47-acre lot to include mixed-use buildings, apartments and an outdoor event space.

The site plan displays proposed retail space along West Mound Street, proposed mixed use buildings perpendicular to West Mound Street, and a paved event space, proposed dog park and seating area near the existing grandstands. It also shows shipping containers surrounding the property (Photo Courtesy/City of Columbus).

“It’s a very large site in an area of the city that could use more housing and certainly more investment in it, and so we’re just hopeful that, you know, this legislation will allow that to happen more easily moving into the future,” said Rob Dorans, chairperson of Columbus City Council’s Zoning Committee.

The new zoning could also potentially allow “research laboratories, wholesaling, distributing, and warehousing uses,” according to a Columbus City Council ordinance.

The developer plans to develop the site in multiple phases, the ordinance says. The first phase details plans for up to 51,440 square feet of office space, up to 13,440 square feet of retail space and up to 200 apartments.

The first phase would also consist of rehabbing two existing buildings on Mound Street to be used for office space, retail space or restaurants. It would additionally include enclosing the backside of a section of the stadium’s bleachers to create a usable space for office, retail or industrial uses. 

The developer proposed to secure the perimeter of the site with shipping containers, which could also be modified to serve as an additional office, retail or storage space. 

Paved areas in the development may be used for a park-and-ride facility, with public parking and a shuttle service to Downtown. The park-and-ride area could also be used for the testing of driverless vehicles. 

“They (the developer) have identified a number of things they would like to potentially see in the project, doesn’t mean all of those things are going to happen, but that the zoning would allow them to occur,” Dorans said.

Dorans said he believes the property has a high likelihood of developing in the near future. 

“From a viability standpoint, you know, I certainly think it’s a higher likelihood that this project will move forward in some form and fashion in the near future, than I think what had been proposed for the site previously, which was a very specialty specific use,” Dorans said.