Talk of extra traffic ties up Metrovia discussion in JT

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 Metrovia drawing by TRIAD Architects

The Jackson Township meeting room was filled to capacity by residents from the City area.

They all converged to learn more about the Easton-esque shopping center that is proposed to be built in Urbancrest and to address their concerns on the project to the developers and the board trustees.

In its embryonic stages of development, the Metrovia Towne Center would cover 34 acres of land, six acres from the Westside of State Route 62 and the rest of the 28 acres coming from the former mobile home park.

Taking up the 34 acres would be 484,000 square feet of retail space, 369,000 square feet of office space and 203 residences located just off of I-270 (near the I-270 and State Route 62 interchange).

"We feel that the south side of Columbus has been neglected and we want to bring development to the area that will improve the quality of life," said Christopher McPherson, the president and chief executive officer of The Simons/McPherson Property Group (SMPG). "We’re hoping that with the assistance of Jackson Township that we can make this a nice place for everyone to experience."

While some residents expressed their excitement for the project, others are worried about the traffic such a large scale center may cause.

One resident complained of how small the roads are, and another said increased traffic may be harmful to the children who play in the area because coming off the interstate, they may not slow down in time or abide by the speed limits set in place.

"We are all concerned about traffic," said Peter Macrae, the lead architect on the project and president of TRIAD Architects. "We are working with ODOT (the Ohio Department of Transportation) to look at how we could control it."

McPherson also added that while they take pride in thinking about how a project like this will affect the community, they have to work within the parameters to cautiously deal with the traffic issues.

Traffic issues aside, for now, Macrae spoke of his vision for Metrovia.

"We want this to be a true mixed use development with urban renewal," he said. "There is nothing like this in the central Ohio market in terms of lifestyle and the inclusion and integration of living units. I think it will be an exciting environment to live in and visit."

While his excitement was clear, a few residents around in the vicinity where the Metrovia Towne Center will be, spoke of having realtors sending letters offering to buy their property in case this town center takes flight.

"If you have been solicited, it was unbeknownst to us," said Patrick Shivley, the senior communications associate specialist of Caldwell Banker Commercial.

Before the meeting adjourned, Jackson Township Chairman David Burris reminded the residents that the projected time for the Metrovia Towne Center was three months; and in those three months they (SMPG and the developers working on Metrovia) would know if the project was a go or not.

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