The Bridge Street District Plan’s purpose is to envision a future for this critical part of Dublin that takes full advantage of the area’s assets, puts forth a more sustainable pattern for future development, and capitalizes on emerging market opportunities over the next several decades. Economic conditions have created a unique opportunity to explore new avenues of preservation and growth in this important business neighborhood, which contains assets like Historic Dublin and the Scioto River, as well as some of the City’s most strategic redevelopment opportunities. The Bridge Street District already has a strong foundation, with redevelopment providing vital support to the City’s economy, sustainability, and continued high quality of life over the decades to come.
The planning process has included extensive participation from a broad array of stakeholders. The process is also firmly grounded in the realities of the emerging housing and commercial development markets to ensure that the vision is economically viable and supported by realistic market opportunities.
Dublin’s rapid and impressive growth over the past four decades was no accident. The City has consistently and successfully anticipated key opportunities in the development market through proactive planning and strong City leadership. Dublin’s particular success in attracting and retaining a significant corporate presence and a skilled workforce has helped the City finance a high level of services and promote an impressive quality of life for residents.
Today, many of the demographic trends, development patterns and other conditions that helped foster Dublin’s highly successful development model over the past forty years are changing, calling for Dublin to take a fresh look at its strategic development planning. The Bridge Street District Plan represents part of the City’s efforts to prepare for a new chapter of economic competitiveness and quality of life.
Most fundamental among these changing conditions are profound demographic trends that will deepen the market demand for more walkable environments where a variety of activities—living, working and leisure activities—all occur close to one another. The demand for this type of walkable environment increases when combined with growing energy and sustainability concerns.
Always known for high-quality development, Dublin’s development pattern over the past forty years has been characterized by low development densities, careful separation of land uses, and significant dependence on cars to make daily activities accessible. Changing demographic trends strongly suggest that Dublin will most effectively capture future economic opportunities through encouraging high-value, mixed-use development set in walkable environments.
The Bridge Street District Plan is intended to establish a vision for the transformation of underutilized land in the city’s core into just this sort of environment—creating value for the community while continuing to enhance Dublin’s overall economic strength and quality of life. This new development format implies higher development densities and other characteristics that depart from some of Dublin’s planning traditions, yet this type of development can and should continue to be high quality and fully complementary to those traditions and targeted specifically to this portion of the city. In fact, the compact nature of mixed-use, walkable development means it can be instrumental in maintaining the quality, integrity and value of Dublin’s traditional residential neighborhoods over the coming years.
The Bridge Street District combines the strength of the Historic District as an existing center of community, with a growing collection of locally-based shops and restaurants, while several significant development sites possess the location, size, and interested ownership to offer substantial near- and longer-term redevelopment opportunities. Excellent access to regional road systems and major natural areas, including the Scioto River and the Indian Run, will serve as vital public amenities tying the Bridge Street District together.
The Bridge Street District’s many opportunities result from its diverse strengths and variety of characteristics throughout the District. Historic Dublin is a natural starting point for reinvestment, given its traditional walkable character combining a rich variety of destination shops and restaurants with housing, office and civic uses. Physical space constraints, however, dictate modest, infill development unless and until the potential availability of the Indian Run Elementary and/or Sells Middle School sites unlocks broader redevelopment opportunities. Substantial areas on both sides of the Scioto River are ripe for larger-scale and more comprehensively-planned mixed-use developments to create whole new walkable neighborhoods. Other portions of the Bridge Street District will benefit from proximity to new walkable amenities and excellent visibility and access, which will remain important attributes for attracting development.
The Bridge Street District Special Area Plan is a vision for a vibrant and walkable center of the city, with a dynamic mix of land uses and housing integrated with the natural wonders that unify the Bridge Street District. The Bridge Street District is envisioned to be a center of community, with seven unique character neighborhoods designed to highlight the opportunities and special character of all aspects of the Bridge Street District.
Looking at this Special Area Plan as a series of distinct, walkable character neighborhoods is important for several reasons:
- Different areas have unique existing conditions, such as access, topography, development history, land ownership, adjacent land uses, and other factors that significantly affect potential development opportunities, challenges and character.
- Likewise, each character neighborhood will reflect applications of the Vision Principles through their development potential. Some neighborhoods may fulfill certain principles more fully than others, but all of the neighborhoods will complement one another as part of the overarching vision for the Bridge Street District.
- Most development opportunities in the Bridge Street District are geared toward walkable, mixed-use settings that depend on relatively concentrated development activity in specific places.
- These concentrations of development require unique characteristics that deepen their appeal to different niche markets.
- Character neighborhoods can help direct development phasing in ways that maximize the benefit of development at every stage. Development in the Bridge Street District will unfold over many years in pace with market absorption. While property owners and developers will have significant discretion in the timing and location of development around the Bridge Street District, new walkable mixed-use development will benefit from being concentrated in certain areas to establish “critical masses” of place, activities, and infrastructure. Character neighborhoods centered on walkable focus areas of activity are the prime areas to begin establishing critical mass.
CHARACTER NEIGHBORHOOD DESCRIPTIONS
1. Bridge Street Gateway District
Centered on the intersection of Bridge Street with Frantz Road and Post Road, this district is an important gateway to Dublin and the Bridge Street Corridor, has strong potential for high-value development, and needs to support and benefit from investments in walkable mixed-use development in adjacent Historic Dublin and the OCLC campus area.
Issues and Opportunities
This western gateway to the Bridge Street Corridor—as well as a major regional gateway to Dublin as a whole from I-270 and U.S. 33—should send a strong, positive message about the community’s identity. It should signal to drivers a distinct shift from a highway setting to the walkable, mixed-use environment embodied in nearby Historic Dublin and throughout the Bridge Street Corridor. It should also make the statement that prosperity and high-quality people-oriented environments go hand-in-hand in Dublin. This district should also be a prime target for high-value development seeking a prominent address—such as office, lodging and retail uses—owing to the high visibility, excellent road access, established presence of major employers, and significant opportunities to improve walkability within the district and adjacent areas. Principal challenges include reconciling vital pedestrian and access improvements with high traffic volumes, and making the transition (over place and time) from a highly auto-oriented development context to a pedestrian-oriented one.
The Bridge Street Gateway District has important relationships with Districts 2 (Indian Run) and 3 (Historic Dublin) as a critical gateway for each.
2. Indian Run District
This district consists largely of the OCLC campus plus some adjacent parcels, and holds substantial potential for new walkable mixed-use development that takes advantage of excellent highway access and visibility, walking proximity to Historic Dublin, and adjacency to Indian Run Creek and greenways.
Issues and Opportunities
This district represents one of Dublin’s most important opportunities to accommodate significant new mixed-use development, owing to its highly consolidated ownership, large developable parcels, excellent visibility from I-270, potential for improved road access, and proximity to the amenities of Indian Run Falls Park and Historic Dublin.
The district consists of two distinct but related areas: The 100-acre OCLC campus to the west, and the 32-acre Cardinal Health parcel to the east, separated by the North Fork of Indian Run Creek. The owners of each site have expressed interest in high-value development on at least portions of their respective properties. Access improvements, however, will play a critical role in realizing the district’s development potential. In particular, better auto and pedestrian access to and from the Bridge Street Gateway District and the Historic Dublin District via the Bridge Street/Frantz Road/U.S. 33/Post Road intersection and Shawan Falls Drive would ease existing congestion and limitations on traffic movement where Kilgour Place intersects Post Road. Direct pedestrian access and possibly new vehicular connections—but only if designed with extreme sensitivity—across Indian Run to Historic Dublin, independent of Bridge Street, would significantly enhance potential development value and character. The Cardinal Health parcel needs access from High Street/Dublin Road, a necessity recognized in the Dublin Community Plan. Development potential in this district will be substantially improved by a more comprehensive road network that reinforces connections among the other districts and the City’s larger road system, allowing a greater degree of traffic distribution.
The Indian Run District has important relationships with Districts 1 (Bridge Street Gateway) and 3 (Historic Dublin), which provide critical access routes and amenities. The sensitive edges it shares with those districts will require care, both to protect the environmental value of the Indian Run and to introduce two to four corridors of continuous pedestrian-oriented access and development character.
3. Historic Dublin District
Today’s Historic Dublin is the heart of this walkable district, which has opportunity to grow and carefully intensify while preserving historic character and protecting existing neighborhoods. This can occur through strategic infill development, improved pedestrian access and parking, increased focus on the Scioto River and Indian Run Creek, and most significantly, long-term redevelopment of the Indian Run Elementary and/or Sells Middle School sites.
Issues and Opportunities
Historic Dublin has become one of the prime inspirations for the Bridge Street Corridor Vision—due to its tradition as a walkable district of mixed retail, residential, office and cultural/civic uses and to the fact that it constitutes Dublin’s center of community. The emergence of Historic Dublin as a destination for dining and locally-based retail has heightened the District’s role as the center of community. This is also the district where future growth faces the most significant physical constraints.
The vision for Historic Dublin has several distinct dimensions. First, near-term pedestrian and parking improvements—which can be a key element of successful new development—would by themselves enhance existing conditions, bringing the district even greater vitality and success. Second, sensitive mixed-use redevelopment of the relatively few appropriate infill sites—with an emphasis on housing—could provide a valuable complement to existing uses. Third, the long-term potential to redevelop the school sites north of Bridge Street opens much broader horizons with the opportunity for mixed-use development that complements Historic Dublin’s existing core. The natural areas and neighborhoods surrounding the district need to be treated sensitively in all cases; new development must avoid creating negative impacts in these areas. Historic Dublin’s supply of small parcels under private ownership presents inherent redevelopment challenges, but the area’s existing density and richly interrelated uses amplify the benefits of even modest additions.
The Historic Dublin District has important relationships with Districts 1 (Bridge Street Gateway) and 4 (Riverside), its west and east gateways along Bridge Street; each holds opportunities for related pedestrian-oriented redevelopment. Potential for redevelopment into entirely new neighborhoods and districts in District 2 (Indian Run) depends on important connections to Historic Dublin.
4. Riverside District
The Scioto River and improved viewshed and park access set the theme for this district, particularly along its east bank, where several large parcels of land could produce exciting opportunities for walkable mixed-use development.
Issues and Opportunities
The Riverside District stands poised to capture the untapped potential of making the Scioto River even more of a community amenity and centerpiece for high-quality mixed-use development. Introduction of a greenway and destination park along the east bank would substantially raise the river’s profile as an asset in Dublin’s park and greenway network, help bring residents from both sides of the river together around shared activities and places, and anchor a unique new neighborhood. Market opportunities favor an emphasis on housing development in the Riverside District, with a range of unit types and residents, including seniors. Complementary medical and office development toward Tuller Road, and office and neighborhood-retail development near Dublin-Granville Road, are also appropriate as part of a mixed-use neighborhood setting.
Historic Dublin will be a key nearby amenity, but unlocking its full potential will require improved access, with a new signature bridge for walking and biking, improvements for the existing bridge, and transit or shuttle service. Consolidated land ownership in the Riverside District boosts prospects for coordinated mixed-use redevelopment at the neighborhood scale. Successful transformation of the district will depend in part on making pedestrian-friendly transportation improvements that enable river access across Riverside Drive; improving conditions for pedestrians, bikes and cars alike at the Riverside/Dublin-Granville Road intersection; and the creation of a network of improved street and greenway connections to the three districts to the east.
The Riverside District shares the Dublin-Granville Road corridor with District 5 (Dublin-Granville Road) to the east. A shift toward higher-value development along this corridor will be critical to enhancing the identity of both districts as the eastern gateway into the Bridge Street Corridor and the City of Dublin. New greenways and streets would tie the Riverside District to major opportunities for related mixed-use and neighborhood redevelopment in Districts 6 (Tuller/Greenway) and 7 (Sawmill). Improved ties to District 3 (Historic Dublin), creating access to Historic Dublin and the Scioto River itself, are vital to unlocking this district’s potential.
5. Dublin-Granville Road District
This corridor around State Route 161 presents great development potential through its access, visibility, consolidated land ownership, and opportunities to connect with adjacent walkable districts.
Issues and Opportunities
Reflecting a classic pattern of automobile-oriented development, this corridor along Dublin-Granville Road presents some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for high-density, walkable development in the study area. Despite the presence of a recreational path and planted median for some of its length, Dublin-Granville Road does not present an ideal pedestrian environment today. It lacks pedestrian-oriented destinations and presents uncomfortable pedestrian conditions alongside fast-moving traffic. At the same time, high traffic volumes make the corridor a natural place for development that benefits from visibility—particularly hotel and small- and mid-size offices. Office or retail development on several large parcels flanking the road may face market pressure for replacement by uses earning higher development returns over the mid- to long-term. This creates an opportunity over time for pedestrian-oriented office and hotel development–as well as complementary housing and retail—to foster walkable districts on both sides of Dublin-Granville Road while gaining value from excellent visibility and access. This redevelopment pattern would best succeed with a focus on creating critical mass at one or two intersections at a time, rather than spreading new development among numerous locations along the corridor. A continuous pedestrian-oriented environment along the corridor will arise gradually over time in pace with market demand and aggregation of smaller parcels.
The north edge of the district offers one of two major routes for a potential greenway, street, and transit connection linking the Riverside and Sawmill districts. The greenway/street/transit corridor would provide important access and amenity value that would stimulate development along the northern edge of the district. Creating a park and street that links this greenway to Dublin-Granville Road would expand opportunities for high-value commercial or residential development.
Centers of walkable development envisioned in Districts 4 (Riverside) and 7 (Sawmill) can play an important role in stimulating mixed-use development in this district. Potential redevelopment and infill development on the Wendy’s parcel could foster complementary access, development, and open space relationships with District 6 (Tuller/Greenway).
6. Tuller/Greenway District
This district offers opportunities for important connections: a greenway connecting the Scioto River to Sawmill and Dublin-Granville Roads, an expanded street network that integrates existing housing developments into larger walkable neighborhoods, and improves access to Emerald Parkway taking traffic pressure off of Historic Dublin.
Issues and Opportunities
The Tuller/Greenway District plays three important supporting roles for mixed-use development in the study area east of the Scioto River. First, it contains existing residential developments that can contribute a valuable “critical mass” to support new residential development nearby. These developments are poised to benefit from the added amenities and access improvements that adjacent development will bring as it contributes to the creation of a true neighborhood. Second, the Tuller/Greenway District offers two potential opportunities for important east-west greenway, street and transit links between the Riverside and Sawmill districts. The east-west connections also improve regional access to Emerald Parkway as an alternative to Bridge Street and Dublin-Granville Road. Third, this district can deliver substantial additional development capacity, with opportunities to take advantage of visibility from I-270 as well as connections to emerging neighborhoods and districts to create higher-value development than exists in the district today. Land ownership and access patterns in the Tuller/Greenway District offer significant flexibility for providing an optimal response to these opportunities. While this is the study area’s one district not directly accessible from a major arterial—and thus not likely to be a core location for mixed-use development—it will play a very important role as a complement to surrounding districts through the direct street linkages, green space amenities and additional development opportunities it offers.
The Tuller/Greenway District will be highly interdependent with Districts 4 (Riverside), 5 (Dublin-Granville Road) and 7 (Sawmill) in land use and access patterns.
7. Sawmill District
The large Dublin Village Center site and adjacent parcels hold great potential to become a destination mixed-use district with great visibility and access from I-270 and strong connections to adjacent neighborhoods and green spaces.
Issues and Opportunities
The Sawmill District is a prime location to establish a major walkable mixed-use district, owing to its proximity to the I-270 interchange at Sawmill Road and the consolidated ownership of more than 50 acres of land on the current Dublin Village Center site. This district concept depends on the incorporation of enough complementary activities into a dense, pedestrian-oriented network of mixed-use buildings and blocks to form a critical mass that is active weekdays, evenings and weekends alike. The land-use mix should include regional-destination retail, dining, entertainment, offices, and housing. Small-floorplate multitenant office buildings are a prime market opportunity and fit well into blocks that include ground-floor retail and multifamily housing. High density is essential to providing enough people and activities in walking distance to keep the district vibrant and full of choices 18 hours a day, seven days a week. High density also plays a key role in creating sufficient development value to fund structured parking, another essential ingredient to a compact and walkable district. Density and walkability are the foundations of the market opportunity in this district; without them, the market will only support the lower-value, auto-oriented development pattern that exists—and has struggled to remain economically viable—today.
New development in the district also depends on establishing direct access and visibility from Sawmill Road through additional property aggregation and road improvements. Potential greenway and street linkages west to the Riverside District, Historic Dublin, and beyond would open access to critical amenities that support additional development and improve regional traffic circulation. A potential high-capacity transit corridor—linking east and south to Columbus and west to Historic Dublin, Perimeter Road and the Central Ohio Innovation Center—could substantially increase development opportunity and value in the district and throughout the Bridge Street Corridor and beyond.
The Sawmill District is poised to become the prime driver of development growth in Dublin east of the Scioto River, potentially creating a ripple effect influencing the access, greenway and development framework of the Tuller/Greenway, Dublin-Granville Road, and Riverside districts.
Scioto River Overlay
This overlay district celebrates the Scioto River as a unique natural asset and links areas of Dublin on either side to the river through enhanced view corridors, recreational connections, and neighborhoods with destination parks and restaurants.
Issues and Opportunities
This overlay district focuses on celebrating and drawing benefit from the Scioto River in adjoining portions of the Indian Run, Historic Dublin and Riverside districts. A mixture of private- and publicly-owned land parcels is present along both banks of the river. The recommendations of this overlay typically would not be applied directly to smaller private parcels. Rather, they should be focused on larger private parcels where significant redevelopment is proposed, and to public parcels that have potential for park and recreation improvements. The overlay addresses natural resource protection, visual access, physical access, and land use.
Actions in the overlay should first aim to preserve the sustained quality of the Scioto River corridor as a natural asset. Special attention should be paid to avoiding any negative impacts on the sensitive ecology and topography of the river and its tributaries.
Public visual and recreational access to the river corridor should be improved where possible. Principal opportunities include creating a recreational path along the east bank parallel to Riverside Drive, creating a destination public park on the east bank, creating one or more public river vistas from Historic Dublin, and improving walking and recreational access across the river itself through enhancement of existing bridges and, possibly, a new bridge devoted to recreational access and potential future transit. A new bridge would introduce a signature design element and open a convenient pedestrian connection between Historic Dublin and new mixed-use development in the Riverside District. Access improvements would also include more extensive walkable street networks on either side of the river and the integration of new recreational paths into the city’s larger recreational path and bike lane networks. As part of this integration, the suggested reconstruction of Riverside Drive as a parkway should include safe, convenient pedestrian crossings and measures to limit traffic speed, such as a planted median, limited lane width, more frequent signaled crosswalks, and on-street parallel parking.
New development on either side of the Scioto should include a mix of land uses that benefit from the river’s presence and contribute to the quality of public space. For instance, restaurants with views to the river and outdoor seating are encouraged. Multifamily housing and office spaces are also strongly encouraged according to market opportunity. Building and site design should maximize opportunities to capitalize on river views as value assets. Recommendations for accomplishing this objective with multifamily housing, for example, include creating river-facing courtyards and terracing building heights so that as many dwelling units as possible enjoy river views. The success of public open spaces around the river should be judged more on their quality than quantity, since a balance that includes high-value mixed-use development can help provide the funding and presence of people that can draw greatest public benefit from the river corridor.