COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In historic German Village, signs have been popping up showing a giant white building plonked among the neighborhood’s slate-tiled roofs and red-brick houses.
The signs show residents’ concerns over a proposed development at the current Giant Eagle site — a grocery and pharmacy that makes this a walkable community. But the developer’s drawings of the project look very different from the white behemoth of the neighborhood signs.
Karen Stowe, of Kossuth Street, got together with her neighbors to question development plans put forward by The Pizzuti Companies, of Columbus.
“When this came up in a conceptual presentation in March, several of us had concerns about the size of what they were planning to build here, so that got me involved,” Stowe said.
Originally, plans had 279 units in the space, but The Pizzuti Companies dropped that to 263 residential units, said the city’s building and zoning services.
The developer says 263 on-site parking spaces, plus 17 new spaces on Jaeger, are in the proposal. At its highest point, the development will be 62 feet according to plans. But that’s set back and will drop to 38 feet on the north side.
One of the biggest worry for residents is the disappearance of their grocery store, which makes this a walkable community.
“When we were looking to buy property, it was a requirement to have the grocery in walking distance,” said Ana Leonova. “We were attracted to German Village because of the grocery.”
In addition to the loss of Giant Eagle, Stowe is worried about increased traffic. “Parking will be provided inside the complex, but cars will go into Grant Avenue, which will be widened into a street.
“Cars will go into Whittier and need to turn left or right onto a road where the speed limit is 35 miles an hour, and there is a lot of traffic. If they choose to go north, they will come out into Kossuth Avenue from Grant, which has cars on both sides of it, and a single lane typically right down the middle of it.”
Stowe says they neighbors are not against the development, but they want thoughtful planning.
The Pizzuti Companies said in an email statement that it’s dedicated to developing thoughtful and responsible projects, and that they have been communicating with the Schumacher Place community and others over nine months. They say their design team has made many changes to the project, and they’ve now reduced the overall unit count and increased on-site parking.
They also point out that they have the responsibility to convey the project accurately, and their drawings are the only accurate depictions of the scale, design, and height of the project, the company said.