Columbus Commons was unveiled in early 2009 as a three-phase project. Phase One is coming to a close this spring with the opening of the new Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion, which will be the crown jewel of the six-acre Columbus Commons park.
Today, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation announced formalized plans to begin Phase Two: the addition of six-story, mixed-use apartment buildings along the High Street side of the development.
“We have selected Carter as a private developer who is going to build a 300-unit apartment project at Columbus Commons,” said Guy Worley, CEO of Capitol South and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation. “The rental market is going very strong right now and there’s a huge demand for it Downtown.”
Carter is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is currently the third largest commercial developer in the United States. This project represents a $50 million private investment into Downtown Columbus.
“Our investments in Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile have been catalysts for development,” said Worley. “We’re pleased that three years after announcing this plan we were able to get a developer that has the experience and expertise that Carter brings to the table.”
The announcement of the Columbus Commons Apartments comes several years ahead of schedule, as the timeframe for Phase Two of the development was expected to not be announced until 2014 or beyond. Instead, the project will break ground in August 2012 and is expected to be completed in early 2014.
“It’s important to point out that the park will remain open throughout all of the construction timeline,” said Amy Taylor, chief operating officer at The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation. “None of the programming or events at the park will be interrupted.”
The six-acre park will remain at the center of the site, becoming more of a “courtyard” type of space. The new mixed-use buildings will contain 23,000 square feet of new retail space, all of which will face High Street.
“The type of retail that will fill these spaces is still up in the air, but my gut feeling is that it will be more along the lines of Short North type boutique retail,” said Worley. “This really meets the goals of the Mile on High initiative.
The Mile on High is a retail-focused initiative launched in 2008 by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman. The program provides incentives for retail developers to fix up older empty spaces, and to assist with tenants interested in opening stores Downtown.
“I am very excited about this project,” said Coleman. “We have a great local developer teaming up with one of the best national developers in the country. A mix of retail and residential surrounding the beautiful Columbus Commons is what we had planned for this site when City Center was demolished.”
The Columbus Commons apartments will go before the Downtown Commission on April 24 for architectural and project review and approval.