DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Developers are aiming to convert a Dublin extended-stay hotel into an apartment complex and construct a new 53-lot neighborhood north of Bridge Park.

The two proposals were given informal reviews by Dublin’s Planning and Zoning Commission on March 2 to provide feedback and suggestions. Residents in attendance spoke for and against the proposals as they moved through the first step of the commission’s planned unit development process.

Hotel-to-apartment conversion

Churchwick Partners, a real estate investment firm based in New York, is proposing Sonesta ES Suites Hotel at 435 Metro Place S. be converted into apartments after purchasing the property in May of last year for more than $5 million. The 4-acre site is north of Smiley Park and west of apartment buildings across Frantz Road.

Built in 1991, the five buildings are two stories housing 106 units including one-bedroom rooms measuring 460 square feet and two-bedroom rooms measuring 770 square feet. Each room is outfitted with a full kitchen and access to amenities including green space, outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and a dual-use sports court.

The proposal states a redevelopment of the property would increase community safety given crimes relating to weapons, assault and theft occur with a higher frequency at local extended-stay hotels, according to data from the Dublin Police Department. Churchwick said rezoning the property would also improve the area’s housing stock.

“This rezoning will create a safe and walkable multi-family dwelling, preserve the character of the city, enhance the neighborhood character, and add a greater mix of housing types to ensure households have quality options that are also walkable to places of employment, retail, restaurants and recreation,” the proposal states.

Several members of the commission spoke in support of the renovation but noted the proposal has many steps to complete before recommendation to city council. Next, a preliminary development plan will further outline the site’s layout, open space and street design followed by a final development plan.

“To change the use from a long-stay hotel to residential makes perfect sense to me,” said commission member Kim Way. “[The property] sits in an area of the city that has all of the support services that it needs in terms of supporting a community like this.”

View the proposal here.

‘High end’ neighborhood north of Bridge Park

Grand Communities, a subsidiary of Fischer Homes, is proposing a new neighborhood on 18.5 vacant acres at the intersection of Emerald Parkway and Bright Road, a four-minute drive north of Bridge Park. The site is also directly east of a new Mount Carmel Hospital currently under construction.

Grand Communities’ proposed conceptual plan. (Courtesy Photo/City of Dublin)

A conceptual plan calls for the homes to be constructed on the west side of the property with open space left on the east side for four commercial parcels to be developed later on. The 53-lot neighborhood would include homes ranging from 1,800 to 3,100 square feet, with two to five bedrooms and two-and-a-half to four-and-a-half bathrooms.

The Uptown Collection, a community of Fischer Homes yet to be built in the Columbus market, is “high-end architecture” eyed as the design inspiration for the site. The proposal said the homes, open space and amenities will be governed by a homeowners association.

However, several members of the commission noted approval of the proposal would require rezoning as the site has been marked for suburban offices. Member Jamey Chinnock said the proposal currently does not meet the requirements for the commission to recommend a rezone.

“It’s got to be something really special, something that fits within the neighborhood, something that the residents in the area are really excited about,” Chinnock said. “It’s a big deal for us to make that change.”

Dublin residents also spoke in opposition to the neighborhood. Pete Albanese, a resident around the corner on Macduff Way, expressed concern with the proposed neighborhood’s density and said the development’s aesthetic doesn’t match the surrounding area.

“What we’ve tried to maintain at our place and in our neighborhood, this really doesn’t fit,” Albanese said. “I’m totally against it.”

Scott Haring, a resident south of Bridge Park and a member of the East Dublin Civic Association, echoed Albanese and said the proposal lacks ample parking.

“This proposal as initially presented here, much too dense, I don’t see the parking and it doesn’t fit with the community plan that [east Dublin] has worked on for all these years,” Haring said.

View the proposal here. The commission meets twice each month, watch previous commission meetings here.