Marion Township Board of Zoning Appeals approves conditional use
New student housing in close proximity to The Ohio State University at Marion and Marion Technical College campus cleared its final regulatory hurdle Monday evening, July 21st when the Marion Township Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit for the 3.25 acre site on the east side of University Drive, just west of Marion’s Walmart.
Appeals board members Ted Babich, Tim Combs, Charles Dilsaver, and Ralph Harris voted unanimously to approve the project with the stipulation that the developer provide a fence, berm, and plantings to shield the student housing from the Marion County Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Center just to the south.
Chief Operating Officer, Tom Tomaszewsk of Mecca Companies, a Midwest based real estate development company specializing in student housing, told the board and Marion Township Trustees Dick Rasmussen, Karen McCleary, and Lynn Clabaugh, who were also in attendance, that they were already planning to provide shielding between the two facilities. Family Court judge Deb Alspaugh came to the hearing, asking that the screening be provided and made permanent.
Tomaszewski said the site plan was changed to accommodate the judge’s concerns by putting the five buildings into the center of the property with parking around the exterior to create a wider buffer. After the hearing, he said he was very pleased with the result and that the project is on schedule for a September groundbreaking.
“We’re in the final stages of setting interior layouts and pricing,” he explained.
The company expects to open a reservation phone number and begin taking reservations for autumn, 2015 occupancy within a month.
The Annex of Marion, as it will be called, will sit on 3.25 acres and feature four housing structures accommodating approximately 190 students and a clubhouse. The clubhouse will be the first to be constructed and will contain a model unit as well as meeting space, an industrial kitchen for residents’ use and other amenities. Several Ohio State Marion professors have expressed a desire to hold study sessions and other events at the property, once it is occupied.
The $7 million project will be financed locally by Fahey Bank, as well as individual investors. Mecca Companies specializes in developing student housing in college communities similar to Marion where student housing has not yet been developed. The company is also purchasing the student housing project adjacent to The Ohio State University at Lima. They have several other properties in Indiana and Illinois.
“We’re excited to see this project taking shape,” said Dr. Greg Rose, Dean and Director of The Ohio State University at Marion.
“We’ve been seeking housing on or near this campus for a long time. This project will help us attract and retain students and will help the university have an even greater influence and economic impact in the community. We’re beginning to look more and more like a college town,” said Rose.
The Annex of Marion is the second privately developed student housing project to take shape in Marion, Ohio. In 2013, local developer Lois Fisher purchased the historic Harding Hotel, in downtown Marion, and converted the apartments to mixed use market rate apartments and student housing. There are currently over a dozen college students that have leased apartments at the Harding Centre, 267 W. Center St., Marion, OH 43302.