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Eight-story hotel proposed at High and Eighth

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An eight-story hotel is proposed for the corner of North High Street and West Eighth Avenue with plans for retail space and a library. Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ.

An eight-story hotel is proposed for the corner of North High Street and West Eighth Avenue with plans for retail space and a library. Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ.

Regulars of the Village Idiot and Daredevil Dogs might soon have to find another place to indulge in their beers and wieners, as an eight-story hotel is being proposed for the corner of North High Street and West Eighth Avenue.

The hotel was proposed Thursday at the University Area Review Board meeting, by architects NBBJ, designers of the would-be adjacent Northside branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, which is currently under construction. The proposed plans for the hotel include ground-floor retail space and a transparent, glass first floor.

“We looked at this as an opportunity to create something really iconic at that corner, something that would complement a really great urban experience at the base of the project,” Mike Suriano, an architect at NBBJ, told the board. “We are really trying to be sensitive to create a cohesive block.”

NBBJ came before the UARB for a conceptual review, seeking approval on requests for variances from the zoning code. The proposed hotel would stand 85 feet tall, meaning, prior to construction, the company needs a zoning variance granted from the University Area Review Board for a 50-foot extension on the currently allowed height. The land the hotel would sit on is currently zoned at a maximum height of 35 feet.

A proposal to amend the zoning code in the University District is underway and, if passed, it would allow structures of 72 feet to be created without a necessary variance request. Although the hotel would still need a variance for another 13 feet, it’s possible the neighborhood will see the more tall buildings joining the district.

Architects also sought a parking variance. The hotel is currently designed to have 121 parking spaces, 30 fewer than the minimum requirement for a building of that size.

Neither of the variances was granted at the meeting, but board member Pasquale Grado noted that the zoning committee of the University Area Commission expressed concern over the building being “one story too high” and not supplying the necessary amount of parking.

Sean Mendel, attorney for NBBJ, said the goal of the building is to take out roundabout traffic by making part of Eighth Avenue a one-way street, and mentioned that the firm is currently working with the Columbus Department of Public Service for an easier way to get in and out to High Street from the hotel.

While the current structure has yet to be voted on, it is possible the height variance will be granted, but at a lower height, since multiple board members expressed approval of the building design.

“I think it’s great, and you should just build it like it is,” said board member Frank Petruziello. “I think it’s a good thing and I can’t say anything negative.”

Some board members, however, did express concerns.

“For many people, it will represent one more glass box,” Doreen Uhas-Sauer said.

Village Idiot was declined comment on the looming closing. Tomos Mughan, owner of the 2-year-old DareDevil Dogs told The Lantern Monday that while the project is still a while away, the building’s landlord is keeping them in the loop.

“We’re excited to see where the neighborhood goes,” Mughan said. “And we’ll remain alive as a business regardless of us having to possibly close our location here.”

Correction, 11/22: A previous version of this article mistakenly attributed a quote from University Area Review Board member Frank Petruziello to Rory Krupp, who is in fact a member of the the University Area Commission, a separate zoning entity.

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