Updated: 7:46 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Posted: 1:25 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009
By Ed Richter
This alternative proposes a redevelopment concept that retains portions of the existing Towne Mall with at least one anchor. The site design is revised to allow for the redevelopment of the frontage of the site with new outlot developments and improved design features including a boulevard, multipurpose recreation paths, landmark features and a central /park plaza area to accommodate outdoor venues and activities.
Key recommendations include:1. Retain existing anchor building and retrofit the structure for a “grand” entrance on a plaza on the south side of the building to incorporate it into a new retail development that fronts onto a new landscaped boulevard.
2. Create a plaza and outdoor gathering space to provide a terminal vista for the axis oriented to increase visibility for the retail development from Ohio 122 that would also include landmark features in plaza design.
3. Establish a new large format entertainment or destination use like a movie theater to serve as a recreational draw to the site and support the retail development.
4. Provide small format retail spaces as part of the site redevelopment. Businesses should be oriented toward the south and incorporate opportunities for outdoor space associated with uses.
5. Encourage development with restaurant or hospitality uses. This location could support office, research facilities, restaurants, or retail. If a hotel is established in this area it would be best supported with an event venue like a convention/conference center on the other portion of the site.
6. Provide a large public open space to create a vista running north-south to improve visibility from Ohio 122 to the reformatted retail. Include facilities in the open space for outdoor events like concerts, farmer’s markets, and festivals as well as walking and biking. Use this area to serve as a key pedestrian and bike connection in the center of the site.
7. Encourage a large format cultural destination use that will employ signature architecture. Appropriate uses in this location include a college branch location, performing arts theater, conference center, or a large format research or office complex. A destination lodge could also be an appropriate use of this portion of the site.
8. Promote development of additional small and medium format retail to support the reformatting of Pendleton Circle into a landscaped thoroughfare rather than an access drive. This would allow the Sears store to maintain dual entrances from the north and south facades.
Alternative 2 proposes to clear the site of the Towne Mall and create a new urbanist-style town center with a new site design and building configurations.
The proposed concept includes a central intersection that effectively divides the site into quadrants. This alternative also includes a pedestrian component that extends out of the study area to the northeast to Dixie Highway.
The alternative is pedestrian oriented and should be designed with human scale architectural features. The central uses should be a vertical and horizontal mix of retail, restaurant, office and services with potential upper story residential, based on market demand. Buildings should be of a moderate scale, but include multiple floors. The site should also accommodate civic or destination uses.
Key recommendations include:1. Encourage compact small scale multi-family residential development, well buffered from adjacent commercial/retail uses.
2. Create a dual purpose open space to buffer residential development from service areas and provide stormwater management facilities.
3. Include small scale freestanding structures to accommodate retail, office and service uses, or possible hotels, near the perimeter of the site. Buildings should be oriented to the new internal streets.
4. Encourage vertically mixed-use structures with pedestrian friendly architecture that create the feel of a traditional main street district. The buildings could accommodate retail, service, office and residential uses. Parking should be provided in rear parking lots or in structured parking.
5. Encourage a unique or destination use that features signature architecture: Potential uses include a conference center, branch college, civic building, performing arts theater, research and development facility or destination lodge.
6. Develop a well landscaped boulevard as a central access street for development, include street trees, decorative lighting and furniture to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Orient entrance ways and street level activities toward this boulevard.
7. Provide well landscaped surface parking lots and additional screening between parking lots and Ohio 122.
8. Create multi-purpose open spaces such as plazas and small parks where events such as farmer’s markets, concerts or festivals could be held, and daily activities, like outdoor dining areas or recreation, can be accommodated.
Alternative 3 proposes a redevelopment of the site into quadrants. The front two quadrants would be dedicated to medium and large format retail with outlot sit-down restaurants. The rear and east quadrant would be dedicated to destination uses or hospitality and office, with opportunity for a small conference center and adjacent hotel. The northwest quadrant would be dedicated to a mix of townhouses and multi-family housing into a traditional style neighborhood. All of the quadrants would be centered around a central roundabout with a park or green.
Key recommendations include:1. Create a residential neighborhood to accommodate townhouses and multi-family residential in a traditional neighborhood format. Allow for on-street parking and individual garages. The neighborhood should have screening along the southern portion of the quadrant.
2. Create a central park and green focused around a square or roundabout, to add a focal point to the site and provide open space for the residential and hospitality uses.
3. Create landscaped boulevards with lawns, street trees and sidewalks or multi-use paths.
4. Encourage a business-class hotel/conference center with extensive landscaping of the site.
5. Encourage a medium to large format cultural destination use that will employ signature architecture. Appropriate uses in this location include a college branch location, performing arts theater, conference center, or a large format research or office complex.
6. Allow for one or two large format retail uses between 40,000 to 80,000 square feet to anchor a shopping center. The rear facades may face Ohio 122, but landscaping should be used to soften the view, and the facades should be completed of high-quality materials on all four sides to present a finished appearance to the road.
7. Allow for outlot development for restaurants, and encourage sit-down restaurants or outlot retail.
— Compiled by Staff Writer Ed Richter