The West Innovation District comprises the western extent of future commercial expansion and outward development for the City of Dublin. The planning area stretches from Shier Rings Road on the south to SR 161 / Post Road to the north. Dublin’s 2007 Community Plan took a much broader view that extended up the U.S. 33 Corridor. Based upon the sheer size and scale considered, the Community Plan created a very generalized framework of land use patterns and schematic road layouts. Additional planning work around the U.S. 33 / SR 161 interchange also centered on specific development proposals that drove surrounding uses, roads and infrastructure. Consideration of new development options and the potential to encourage growth beyond the interchange area required further analysis to identify key opportunities and constraints.
Getting You There
Primary access to the West Innovation District is provided off U.S. 33 at the Avery/Muirfield and SR 161 / Post Road interchanges. The area is close to I-270, and businesses can get to key points around Central Ohio with ease. Avery Road provides arterial access at the east end of the West Innovation District linking the planning area with Hilliard to the south and accessing the majority of Dublin’s residential development to the north. SR 161 also creates the northern edge of the West Innovation District and provides easy access from the Plain City area. Dublin’s Thoroughfare Plan identifies the importance of these roads, and many improvements have already been planned. Most significant is the City’s approved interchange design at U.S. 33 / SR 161 and regional efforts led by Dublin to begin study and design for improving the I-270 / U.S. 33 interchange.
The West Innovation District primarily consists of an existing network of township roads that are yet to be improved. The character of these roads provides a unique opportunity to consider a new network for improved access and development potential. Providing a system that will protect neighborhoods while establishing the greatest access and mobility possible can benefit future companies and employees in the West Innovation District. The presence of the CSX railroad along the western edge, in addition to interstate access, also provides opportunities to move goods and supplies.
Getting a Feel for the Area
The West Innovation District includes a wide variety of uses that range from agriculture to older industrial businesses, office or research uses. The West Innovation District is poised for growth along Dublin’s periphery and includes very flat, open land that creates high visibility with the capability for long sightlines. The physical character of the West Innovation District provides opportunities for greater corporate awareness with options for design considerations to appropriately buffer and screen support functions. Wind on this western edge of Dublin adjacent to the wide open farm fields of Madison and Union Counties, creates an opportunity to consider renewable energies and alternative heating and cooling methods.
Portions of the South Fork Indian Run and Cosgray Creek flow through the West Innovation District. These streams seem insignificant in appearance and may be periodically dry, but they serve an important function for the area’s drainage. They serve as agricultural ditches and portions of the creeks have been tiled over. Current conditions provide opportunity for relocation and restoration as amenities. The area’s heavy clays and flat topography foster seasonal ponding and flooding, but are easily addressed with basic engineering. In total, the West Innovation District provides a blank slate for growth that can facilitate Dublin’s desire to develop with ease.
Providing the Basics
Dublin is widely known for its ability to plan for and provide infrastructure in a manner that fosters coordinated growth. Many utilities are located within the area, and the City of Dublin has completed capacity analyses as part of the 2007 Community Plan update to ensure the area will be adequately supported at build-out. Many projects such as water and sewer extensions, dedication of land for electric substations and the construction of a new water tower have been proactively completed to ensure the needs of business are met. The West Innovation District area includes the ability to address a comprehensive system of water, sewer, electric, gas, fiber and other support services that will augment current infrastructure and coordinate with road networks. The City has made efforts to proactively reach out to private utilities so that new capacity can be added for businesses.
Searching for Identity
The West Innovation District is located in a transitional area and includes a mix of architectural types ranging from contemporary offices to ranch-style churches and one-story industrial construction. Opportunities are available at this strategic northwest gateway to Dublin to create a sense of arrival and unique appearance. Dublin Methodist Hospital provides the most identifiable character element in the immediate area. This potential to expand architectural style provides a unique opportunity to set the West Innovation District apart from other areas of Dublin.
The planning area also has natural features to build upon. Streams, fencerows, and woodlots should be used as elements by which to build character. The wetland appearance of the Glacier Ridge Metro Park and Red Trabue Nature Preserve, as well as the links-style landscaping of the Golf Club of Dublin provide opportunities for larger connections and a landscape character that complements the area in a distinctive manner.
Recent residential development to the south in Ballantrae was initiated to improve development quality adjacent to the West Innovation District. The ability to obtain a cost-effective, acceptable level of quality is critical to establish the this business neighborhood as a unique employment center. Recent agreements with the City of Columbus to coordinate annexation and development just north of SR 161 provides an opportunity to better manage the front door appearance of the West Innovation District. Identification of gateway treatments, signs, art and streetscape elements will play important roles to form a highly visible environment to attract technology-related development.