Continental has done excellent work in other communities as evidenced by this photo from their web site. Unfortunately, the proposal they made for Kingsdale does not include the pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets with on-street parking, widened sidewalks, or areas for street-side cafes shown here.
by Sue Grant
[UAPA collaborated with Sue Grant to create and publish this story. Sue is a landscape architect, OSU grad and UA resident and has been doing her homework on Kingsdale.]
On January 5, 2009 the new plan for the Kingsdale Regency property was presented at the Board of Zoning and Planning meeting. There were only a handful of community members in the audience. It has been a year since the last plan was unveiled. And the plan before that? Who remembers? Talk about this property has gone on and on for so long that we are all getting tired of hearing about it. We are also getting tired of looking at it, too. And we are tired of the diminishing services that it is providing.
A pivotal point for Kingsdale
More importantly, we are now at a point at which we have never been before – a pivotal one in which we could make the difference between having just ‘something’ happen, and making something really spectacular happen. But it will take more than just a handful of people to make that a reality, more than just a handful to make it so that this is the last time we have to hear about what it is ‘going’ to be, more than just a handful to ensure that instead, in the coming years, we hear about its success.
A talented developer offers less at Kingsdale than for other communities
Make your voice heard at the Kingsdale BZAP meeting
Some very big decisions will be made soon that will impact UA and Kingsdale for many years to come. The UA Board of Zoning & Planning (BZAP) wants to hear from all citizens about Continental's Kingsdale proposal:
Special Board of Zoning & Planning for Kingsdale, Monday, February 2, 2009, 7:00 p.m., Council Chamber. This meeting will be open for public comment.
A very talented developer has come to the table to play the game of turning this crucial piece of land into something – the question is what. Although its roots are local in the Columbus area and they do work here, Continental Real Estate Companies’ expertise has been far reaching in its impact on numerous small and large communities across the country.
Continental Real Estate Companies is no normal developer. They are good and they are creative. This is evidenced on their website. The character of some of their projects is people-oriented, with tree-lined streets, wide sidewalks with sidewalk cafes, and town squares. Frank Kass, of Continental, was even voted a #1 business owner in Pittsburgh with his innovative Waterfront development in Pittsburgh years ago, at a time when others said this unique project could not be done. Upper Arlington is indeed fortunate to have them interested in Kingsdale.
So why, then, is the current proposal for Kingsdale just another version of what currently exists there: another retail strip mall? It is because, as Frank Kass put it in his presentation of the plan on January 5, this plan is all about Giant Eagle and its parking; it is the big gorilla in the room. He even admitted that it isn’t about walking or strolling. The ‘pedestrian experience’ will be walking from your car in a parking lot, to the store, then back to the your car.