FairOaks Mall design, development boards to meet Thursday

The board and committee overseeing a project to repurpose FairOaks Mall, Donner Center and the surrounding area will meet this week to accept a final master planning report and discuss the next steps in the project, which has been placed “on pause” due to the pandemic.

The FairOaks Community Development Corp. Design Committee will meet at 11 a.m. Thursday at the former J. Nicole storefront at FairOaks Mall. The FairOaks Community Development Corp. Board — which includes Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Columbus Regional Health CEO Jim Bickel — will meet at noon on Thursday in the same location.

Both meetings are open to the public, but space may be somewhat limited due to social distancing guidelines, city officials said. Everyone in attendance will be required to wear a mask. The public can also watch the meetings virtually via WebEx.

The committee is expected to consider recommending design firm MKSK’s final conceptual master planning report to the board, which would then decide whether to accept the report, said Tom Brosey, a consultant hired by the city to help guide the master planning process.

MKSK is a collective of architects, urban designers and planners with studios in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis and West Lafayette; Detroit, Michigan; Greenville, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The conceptual master planning report is expected to serve as a roadmap for the city and hospital to continue working on design and architectural efforts in the future, phasing recommendations for facilities and the next steps in the project, MKSK officials said in an earlier interview.

The board will also discuss on Thursday how to prepare for the next phase in the project, including potentially performing a scan of certain areas of the mall property for more detailed information about its structure, Brosey said.

“It might be six months before we start that next phase, but getting prepared for it in terms of information gathering and that type of thing,” Brosey said.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.