While design details still need be nailed down, two key Downtown projects received the green light yesterday.

August 28, 2013

While design details still need be nailed down, two key Downtown projects received the green light yesterday.

Columbus' Downtown Commission gave conditional approval to the Scioto Greenway project, which will remove the Main Street Dam and create 33 acres of green space, and the 250 High building, with offices and apartments, to be located just south of Columbus Commons.

Construction could start on each in the fall.

The latter project is a $50 million building from the Daimler Group and Kaufman Development. It will connect to Columbus Commons' 3,600-space parking garage on Rich Street.

Other proposals for the thin strip of land between the parking garage and S. High Street have come and gone over the years.

"We've looked at three other projects on this site, and they all seemed slammed up against the parking garage," said board member Robert Loversidge. "This is the first one that isn't, and it is really exciting, the scale and the mixed uses."

The first floor of the 12-story building will be commercial space, with a pocket park on the southern edge. The next four floors will be for offices, topped by seven floors of apartments, 164 in total.

"We needed to separate the offices and apartments without it looking like we were putting apartments on top of offices," said A. J. Montero of NBBJ, the architects for the project.

The modern, cubelike design is similar for the offices and apartments, but the offices feature more glass to create an open work environment, while the apartments feature less glass and a more-muted exterior, as well as recessed balconies to provide privacy.

NBBJ has about 130 Columbus employees and could be a 250 High tenant.

"We'd like to be there and are negotiating a lease," Montero said.

Construction could start in 45 to 60 days, said Daimler President Bob White Jr. "We were seeking final approval, but we can proceed with certain conditions," he said.

The building could be completed by April 2015, he said.

Final approval is pending for the exterior details, lighting, signs and landscaping.

The $35.5 million Scioto Greenway project was likewise approved conditionally, with details on the project's infrastructure, lighting and plantings pending.

It will create "a new central park for the core of the city," said Keith Myers, the project consultant for the Columbus Downtown Development Corp., the owner-operator of the site.

It features a new promenade below and connected to the current promenade on the east side of the river below the Ohio Supreme Court building. About two-thirds of the space created by the removal of the dam will be usable.

The project will require that the replica of the Santa Maria be moved. An exact location has not been determined, but Myers said it will be close to the current spot.