Planning effort launched for casino corridor

on Monday, 20 September 2010.

Business First of Columbus


Columbus, Franklin County and community groups are working on plans aimed at guiding cohesive development of the West Broad Street corridor in connection with a $400 million casino being built on the west side.

Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman said in a release Monday that the city, county and Greater Hilltop Commission are amending the Greater Hilltop Plan to tie together development along West Broad Street between the Hilltop neighborhood along West Broad west of Interstate 70 and Penn National Gaming Inc.’s casino site at West Broad and Georgesville Road.

The effort also includes the establishment of a regional commercial overlay that sets development standards along the corridor and plans for a market study. Franklin Township officials, who have jurisdiction over part of the corridor, are also involved in the process.

“We are creating a vision for seamless development along the West Broad Street corridor,” Coleman said in the release, “as we lay the groundwork for the revitalization of the west side.”

Penn National’s Hollywood Casino is under development at the site of the former Delphi Automotive Systems plant on the west side. Penn officials have said they hope to open the casino in the second half of 2012.

Owners of businesses and property near the casino are hoping it provides an economic boost to an area that has suffered through hard economic times since the Delphi plant closed and Westland Mall has seen most of its stores leave.

The Columbus development department will submit to city council this week an amended Greater Hilltop Plan that recommends commercial and mixed-use development along the West Broad Street corridor consistent with the casino. In addition, Columbus will implement a recommendation of the Hilltop plan by beginning the process of establishing a regional commercial overlay for West Broad Street. It will establish new standards for development relative to building and parking placement, landscaping and graphics.

“We are fortunate to have this economic opportunity on the west side of Columbus and recognize we have one chance to get this right,” Franklin Township Trustee Timothy Guyton said in the release. “It is imperative that all entities continue to work together toward our desire to set common goals and standards, where the quality of the end use will be up to our expectations.”

The release also said Franklin County will develop a smart growth overlay for Franklin Township parcels along Georgesville Road, Philippi Road and West Broad Street. The goal is establish similar standards to those in Columbus to ensure seamless development along West Broad as new investment occurs in the future.

Columbus and Franklin County are working with businesses and residents on a market study and economic development implementation strategy. It will involve hiring a consultant with an understanding of the economics of casino district development.