Stark Enterprises, the owner of Crocker Park, is in talks to acquire additional land from Lakewood Country Club. The country club owns undeveloped property directly south of the section of Crocker Park on which American Greetings plans to build its new corporate headquarters.
News of the talks between Stark and Lakewood Country Club came from Steve Rubin, chief operating officer of Stark Enterprises, during a Planning Commission hearing Monday night. During the hearing’s public session, two residents asked about rumors of such talks. When Planning Commission Chairman Richard Schultz directly asked Rubin, he confirmed that such discussions were ongoing but said he could not comment further.
At the meeting, Stark Enterprises presented a revised preliminary development plan for Crocker Park that includes an initial layout of where American Greetings’ office buildings will be located.
Architect Jack Bialosky explained that Main Street will be extended south into two blocks of new buildings. American Greetings, which is expected to utilize 780,000 square feet of office space, will be the main occupant of either two, or four, out of six new buildings planned in that section of Crocker Park, Bialosky said. Two buildings will be seven stories in height, the others six stories. The first floor of all the new buildings will be retail, consistent with the rest of Crocker Park. Three new parking garages of varying heights are also planned for the area, he said.
Eight residents whose homes are near or adjacent to the section of Crocker Park where American Greetings will locate expressed their concerns to the commissioners. While most acknowledged the economic benefits of the company’s move to Westlake, they were unhappy that significantly tall buildings and parking garages would be going up near their properties. The neighbors, mostly residents of Georgia Drive and Wyndgate Court, also said they worried about heavy traffic, noise and electrical lighting bleeding into their yards.
The original plans for the southern section of Crocker Park were for townhouses. But those plans changed once American Greetings entered the picture. Georgia Drive resident Robert Boas said he purchased his home two years ago assuming manor homes would be build across his property line instead of a parking garage.
Rubin said Crocker Park will pay attention to the concerns of its neighbors and work on mitigating their concerns as the process moves along. Rubin asked that the revised preliminary plan be tabled, which the Commission did.
Schultz, the chairman, said the approval process, which includes action by City Council, will not be completed overnight.
“This is going to be a numerous-meeting discussion until we are able to get close to voting on it,” he said.
The matter will taken up again at Planning Commission’s next meeting, Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.