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Buckingham Companies Named as Developer of 21 Acre Scioto Peninsula Project

Walker Evans Walker Evans Buckingham Companies Named as Developer of 21 Acre Scioto Peninsula ProjectRendering provided by Buckingham Companies.
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Local leaders gathered this evening at COSI to announce that Indianapolis-based developer Buckingham Companies has officially been chosen to build out the large-scale 21-acre “Scioto Peninsula” project, adjacent to Downtown Columbus.

“We were really impressed with their experience,” stated Guy Worley, President and CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC). “We felt like their plan was realistic and that they could execute their plan.”

The details of the development project from Buckingham align very closely to what was first conceptualized back in February. Their proposal calls for 1,700 residential units, 800,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail space and a 150-room hotel. Most of the development would take the form of five to ten story buildings, with no taller tower buildings in the initial portion of the plan.

“The cost structure to get into those truly high rise buildings is still aspirational for Columbus,” explained Steve Schoeny, Director of the Columbus Department of Development. “Hopefully over the course of this development, our market changes with regard to what you have to do to accomodate cars. Right now you can’t achieve density when you have to spend an extra $60K per unit to store two cars.”

Schoeny added that Buckingham has committed to building 20% of of the project’s residential units — approximately 340 units — as middle-income housing, where rents would be priced based on the 80-percent and 100-percent median area income levels.

“This has to be a transition from Franklinton to Downtown, not a wall that separates them,” he stated. “Recognizing the art culture in Franklinton is also fundamental, and Buckingham is a developer that can manage that very well.”

Once completed, the project will serve as the private-sector anchor to the Scioto Peninsula, while COSI, the National Veterans Museum and Memorial, and a third yet-to-be-determined cultural amenity will anchor the west bank of the Scioto River. The newly opened Scioto Peninsula Park will serve as a central greenspace for the area.

“Greenspace spurs new development, as evidenced by the Scioto Mile and Columbus Commons and the RiverSouth neighborhood,” stated Worley. “We’ve taken some of those lessons learned and applied them to this bigger site of 56 acres.”

The 21 acres being purchased by Buckingham will net CDDC a total of $29 million, which Schoeny explained would occur in phases to protect the city’s ownership of the land and give assurance that the project will be seen through to completion. Worley added that approximately one third of the sale of the land has already been earmarked for the endowment fund for the National Veterans Museum and Memorial, which will open in late summer 2018.

Currently, there is no definitive timeline for the long-term development of the full 21-acre site, but Worley said that he expects to see ground breaking on the first phase in late 2018. CDDC will present an economic investment package request to Columbus City Council next Monday which will lay out the full financial terms of the project.

Buckingham was founded in Indianapolis in 1984 and works on real estate development projects across nine states with similar types of large scale mixed-use projects that include CityWay in Indianapolis and Aertson Midtown in Nashville. Their partnership in the Scioto Mile represents a major financial investment from an external company that currently manages approximately $1 billion in real estate assets across the US.

“Buckingham’s experience creating vibrant new neighborhoods is a natural match for the impressive vision that Columbus has for the Scioto Peninsula,” stated Scott Travis, Senior Vice President of Buckingham Companies. “We pride ourselves on building the right environment in the right place.”

Additional members of the Scioto Peninsula team are Atlanta-based Cooper Carry Architects, Denver-based Oz Architecture, and local planning and landscape architecture firm MKSK.

For more information, visit www.columbusddc.com/projects/scioto-peninsula.

CU Writer Brent Warren also contributed to this story.

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