High North (Worthington Mall)
High North Development Approved
On April 19, 2021, Worthington City Council approved a plan to redevelop The Shops at Worthington Place mall into a mixed-used space rebranded as High North. Plans call for a phased approach to redevelop and revitalize the 15+ acre property southwest of the I-270/SR-23 interchange. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2021. The City has been pursuing Class A office space to help attract and retain businesses with a desire for nearby quality of life amenities for their employees. In addition to the economic impact of the project, the plan includes amenities such as a public plaza and additional dining options.
Council approved the request submitted by property owners Direct Retail Partners to rezone the property to a Planned Unit Development (PUD). They also approved a subdivision, which creates a new parcel for the new northern office building. This new parcel will be part of the Architectural Review District.
- April 19, 2021 City Council Presentation
- April 19, 2021 City Council packet (High North Memo and Materials begin on page 31)
The rezoning is subject to a 60-day referendum period. After 60 days, the property owner will come back to the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) for PUD final Plan and Architectural Review Board (ARB) approval.
The MPC unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning and subdivision at its March 25, 2021 meeting. The ARB also approved a separate application to demolish approximately 21,000 sq. ft. of the existing northern portion of the mall. If for some reason the rezoning were to be delayed or overturned, this application requires the northern side of the mall to be refaced and the site to be restored in compliance with the approved plans.
High North Development Plan
Direct Retail Partners, a development team from Dallas, Texas, purchased the property in December 2019 with plans to revitalize the underperforming retail space and rebrand the development High North. They filed a development application with the City of Worthington in September 2020 seeking to rezone the property to a PUD. Since its submittal and initial review in 2020, the applicant has made several modifications to the original proposal. The changes reflect comments from the community, ARB & MPC members, and changes related to the current market conditions.
The redevelopment of the site is expected to occur in two phases. Phase I calls for the demolition of the mall’s existing northern portion to make room for a 10-story Class A office/mixed-use building.
- Renovation of the existing mall and construction of a central promenade for pedestrians will also occur in this phase.
- Reconfiguration of the access drives adjacent to the east and west sides of the building.
- Phase I will also include the removal of the westernmost section of the existing retail.
Phase II plans include a 6-story Class A office/mixed-use building on the southern portion of the site. This height is reduced from the originally proposed 10-story request. The building would have a maximum height of 4-stories within the first 100-feet of W. Wilson Bridge Rd. with the remaining height stepped back from the roadway. This reduction in height addressed staff comments and comments from the community concerning the height. The 10-story hotel/residential/mixed-use building has been removed from the proposal.