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Forty-Unit Apartment Development Proposed for Olde Towne East

Brent Warren Brent Warren Forty-Unit Apartment Development Proposed for Olde Towne East
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A 40-unit, three-building apartment development has been proposed for a long-vacant lot at 122 Parsons Avenue. The project, which is being developed jointly by Woods Development Group, Brexton, and Arch City Development, has been presented to the Near East Area Commission but still awaits final approval from the group.

The proposal calls for a four-story building facing Parsons, with two-story townhomes on the ground floor and twelve one-bedroom apartments above. The buildings along Gustavus Lane and East Chapel Street would each be two stories and face each other, with a green space in between.

In all, there would be 28 townhomes, each with two bedrooms, a den, a finished basement and a one-car garage. Two small parking lots would provide additional spaces for the townhomes and apartments. The name chosen for the development is 122 Olde Towne.

Michael Woods, CEO of Woods Development Group, said that pending neighborhood and zoning approval, they’d like to break ground in April or May.

“We’ve been looking at the site for nearly a year and a half,” he said, adding that, “the demand is there in Olde Towne, it’s like a sleeping giant. We talked to multiple property management groups in area, and they say that vacancies are snapped up immediately.”

Woods also expressed confidence that the development will stand out from the many other urban apartment projects coming onto the market; “we’ve done a lot of extensive research, and we see the units going up all over the central city, but what we are doing is a different product; two story townhomes with attached garages.”

As for the potential impact of the 70/71 split project (ODOT plans to expand the freeway and take out the ET Paul and Carabar buildings), Woods acknowledged that it will directly affect the development but thinks that added green space across the street will be a net-plus. He also noted that the impact from any ODOT work is probably still about three years off.

For ongoing updates and discussion about the project, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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  • The design reminds me of the Civil War portion of the old Ohio Pen. It’s a bit bland in coloring/design, and I don’t like how ODOT’s reconfiguration of the streets leaves the main building set back. But obviously a huge improvement over a vacant lot.

  • jpizzow

    I’m a little confused. The first rendering shows cars and bikes on a road directly in front of the building. However, the second from overhead shows a green space in between the road and the building.

  • Jpizzow – If the project moves forward quickly, then there will be Parsons Ave directly in front.

    But once ODOT reconfigures everything, it will change the street and add the grass and trees, creating the setback.

  • Neutzy

    Ugh. ODOT is the absolute worst.

  • shondra_chels

    Love to see this area growing.

  • jkincaid76


  • Jkinkaid – there’s no prices set for this development yet.

    Also, The Columbus region is growing at a rate of 20,000 people per year (10% pop increase per decade). More housing is needed, especially in urban neighborhoods as demand increases.

    Also, new businesses are already coming to the area. There’s thousands of new jobs right down the street at Children’s Hospital in addition to new retail businesses in OTE and Downtown.

  • heresthecasey

    The project itself looks great! I hope it can get underway this year like the developers are anticipating. It’s great to see quality infill springing up in OTE. Growth in population/residents will spur additional business and retail growth in the area.

    OTOH, the ODOT plans for this corridor are beyond awful. Destroying even more historic neighborhood fabric for the 70/71 rebuild should be completely off the table.

  • mbhays

    Unfortunate design. Would look really out of place scale wise and doesn’t relate in any way to the historic buildings of the neighborhood. They could do a lot better by taking a hint from some of the projects around Gay and 5th or in the Short North even.

  • @mbhays – Neighborhood Launch (Gay and 5th) includes a mix of styles and architecture types. The Short North is also a mix of modern and historic buildings of various styles.

  • futureman

    scale? really? On parsons Avenue, an important north/south road can’t handle a four story building? You have an awful looking three story building next door and a couple of historical three story buildings down the street.

    Scale is perfect, design is good – massive improvement for the area. Too bad about the reconfiguration of Parsons with it’s out of place setback for the building.

    It would be nice it did have retail on the first floor along Parsons. There I said it … waiting for Rus’s obligatory comments that everything should be turned into a parking lot.

  • mbhays

    So everyone thinks this is an elegant addition to the neighborhood? I live about two blocks away and was hoping for something better than “good” and an “improvement over a vacant lot”. A tad bland, tan, repetitive, and flat for my taste. Maybe it’s just an uninspired rendering. I’m not against the project, just the design.

  • I didn’t say anything about it being elegant or not elegant. Just pointing out that your referenced neighborhoods include a mix of styles. So I don’t think it has to be a perfect match with the rest of the two-story brick buildings on that strip.

    I do always try to take color palates with a grain of salt in renderings though, as they’re never exactly correct. For an example, compare the dark gray bricks in the Aston Place rendering to the much lighter appearance they have in real life.

    The greenery usually isn’t quite as green either, leaves won’t be on the trees in the winter, and the sky is not always blue every day like they are in renderings. ;)

    All that being said, the tan, off-white and black accent color palate does seem a little safe, but I imagine it will age well and look pretty traditional/timeless compared to something more modern that might look dated in 20 years.

  • urbanenthusiast


  • Eugene_C

    I really like the styling and the minimal set-back with the stoops. Even the roof line is not bad. I think it could use some facing and color variation between the units, though. The color is a little monotonous. Streetscapes like that will have a little more charm if it doesn’t look like the entire block was built all at once, overnight. Some darker stone on a couple of the units might do the trick.

  • citywalker

    Since Parsons is already a hodgepodge of architectural style, I’d prefer something modern/contemporary here. But I understand this is an architecturally conservative city for now.

    What I really object to is, as mbhays says, the scale. If you include the roof, this building is really 5 stories. This makes it 2 stories taller than anything in the area unless you count Children’s Hospital or the Columbus Health building, but both of those have significant green space around them to help with the scale. (Not that I am a fan of that suburban-style hospital development.)

    This is a wide lot and since the building will be hugging the lot lines, it makes for a massive building plunked down in the midst of smaller buildings (even the parsons’ elevation of the large building next door). This width combined with the 5 stories will make this building significantly out of scale with the rest of the street.

    We do not need NY-style density/height in this city when there are still so many empty parking lots and empty buildings in the core.

    What would help would be to chop off that silly gable/dormer roof. Not only would that help with the scale but it would also bring it more in line with the large-building styles in this area. It it were brought down to 3 stories, I would be satisfied with the proposal.

    Beyond the style/scale problems, this building could be the beginning of short-north style parking problems in this area. The proposed parking should be enough to contain the occupants, but throw in the cars from Carabar and the guests from a couple apt parties on the same night and whatever space is still available on Bryden will soon start filling in.

  • Ned23

    @citywalker: I generally agree, but sometimes the extra density also translates into more affordable units, which is something the area could use.

  • @citywalker – I respect your opinion, but wholeheartedly disagree.

    A taller building will not look out of place in an urban neighborhood like OTE, especially on a commercial corridor like Parsons. Building upward in a city’s center is not a problem. I also think it’s a stretch to call a five-story 40-unit building “NY-style density”.

    Further, parking problems are a nonissue as this development includes its own parking for residents and no retail component. Planning urban neighborhoods with a parking-first mindset is a very poor idea that leads to a continued proliferation of surface parking lots that we don’t need. We need better transit, bike infrastructure and walkable neighborhoods.

  • nfisher2

    Our region is creating jobs…so, for every job that is created, you need to have 1.25 housing units to support that job. I welcome the new development…that piece of dirt has been an eyesore for 15 years. I think the scale and design are fine with me.

    My guess is a min of $1.25 per SF in rent, which would be:
    1000 SF for 1 BD w/Den……$1250/month
    1800 SF for 2 BD townhouse……$2250/month
    Those are some large unit sizes.

    Both of these have much smaller sized units.
    High Point rent ranges from $1.50 -$1.80
    Wonder Bread is even higher at $1.90 for 1 BD
    & $1.50 for 2 BD

    For older rentals, if you can get $.75-1.00SF….you are doing pretty well.

  • citywalker

    @Walker said: (How come the quoting tool doesn’t appear sometimes?)

    |A taller building will not look out of place in an urban neighborhood like OTE, especially on a |commercial corridor like Parsons. Building upward in a city’s center is not a problem. I also |think |it’s a stretch to call a five-story 40-unit building “NY-style density”.

    First, I completely agree that a 5 story building is not NY-Style density. I was using that in the way you say “We don’t need 50,000 snowplows” over in the snow-clearing thread. I have read a lot of comments in various threads from people who seem to want buildings to be as tall as possible, so the exaggeration was addressed to them.

    Nevertheless, 5 stories is taller than we need in Columbus. When I travel down High street, whether by car, bicycle or foot (and especially by foot) the section that I find most undesirable is South Campus Gateway with all those 5 story buildings towering over me. It creates shade and darkness where I don’t want it. And this is High street which is 5 lanes in most areas. Parsons, at least at 122, is only 2 travel lanes and 1 lane of parking. So while it may be Commercial (and currently even considered an arterial street), it is the same or smaller than some residential streets.

    What’s more, as designed, the building exceeds the current zoning height which is why they are asking for (among 7 other things) a height variance. The main argument for the variances is that the zoning is keeping them from building something consistent with the existing buildings. I know there are people who like this building but I don’t know of anyone who thinks this building is consistent with existing buildings. Among other things, existing buildings are not 5 stories tall.

    What’s even more, what I have learned since my first post is that the current design for the building shows 52 feet. But the variance is for SEVENTY feet. Everyone is looking at the picture, but if this height variance is allowed, that unused 18 feet could be used to add TWO more floors.

    @Walker said:
    |Further, parking problems are a nonissue as this development includes its own parking for |residents and no retail component. Planning urban neighborhoods with a parking-first mindset is |a very poor idea that leads to a continued proliferation of surface parking lots that we don’t need. |We need better transit, bike infrastructure and walkable neighborhoods.

    Nowhere did I say that more parking should be added to this site. I am not in love with parking lots. However, you can’t deny that there are parking problems in the Short North that affects the people who live there. My point is with the removal of existing Carabar parking lot and the addition of cars from the guests of 122, we will now be adding that many cars to the streets. So this Could be the Beginning of parking problems in this area that Could affect existing residents.

  • @citywalker – The quote option is only on the messageboard. Not on news posts like this one.

  • Abnormal_Allies

    As a local business on this block and Olde Towne East residents, we wanted to put in writing our official stance on the building of 122 Parsons Ave.

    We are not against the idea of development and expansion in Olde Towne East. We are not against new businesses and people trying to make a buck. That is the American Dream. Neighborhoods need change and growth to prosper. Neighborhoods need new people and new businesses to fuel this growth. Most of the people moving to Olde Towne are willing to buy distressed houses, get their hands dirty, and spend lots of time and money to make these dwellings their homes.

    We feel that even though there are still many of these distressed homes in Olde Towne that still need “fixed up,” there is still a place for new buildings, like the one proposed at 122 Parsons Ave.

    Our issues with this project revolve around the way in which the developers are handling the community, property owners, and local business’ inputs and feelings. At the NEAC meeting the board members, property owners, business owners, and people who live in the community all asked questions and voiced their opinions and concerns.
    The developers were asked many questions, but the questions that voiced the biggest concerns were:
    1. Would they entertain the idea of changing the first floor of the building to retail?
    2. Were they willing to make the building three stories vs four?
    3. Were they willing to work on the facade of the building to make it look more Victorian?

    The immediate answer to all of these was a resounding NO!
    These are the plans, this is the proposal, and this is what we intend to build.
    So our question to our fellow business owners and neighbors is:
    “Is this the kind of neighbor/investor we want?”

    This development company has been working on this proposal for a year and a half. At any point in its early stages they could have had the same meetings that are happening now, heard the communities issues and worked to find a solution that most would find acceptable.

    So to reiterate, we are for development, expansion, new business, and new people in Olde Towne East. We are against the mentality of big business and these developers that lack the sensitivity and ability to work with their neighbors.

    We hope to see all of your faces (regardless of your position) at the upcoming meetings and forums.
    Thank You,
    Abnormal Allies

    If you are interested in signing the petition go to this link:

    If you are interested in going to the Board of Zoning Adjustments Meeting, it is this Tuesday, February 25th at 6pm at 757 Carolyn Avenue in Clintonville.

  • mbhays
  • BillyB

    I have been an Old Town resident for 14 years and regardless of one’s preference in architecture, we should all be thankful that another empty lot with trash blowing through it just might be developed and inhabited by young people in need of quality urban housing. Let’s support this project and choose our battles wisely. For instance, how about focusing on the need to return the median strip to the center of E. Broad Street with trees and landscaping. It will help re-connect the neighborhood on each side of the street and slow traffic considerably. Let’s not forget that Old Town is also North of Broad. We are separated from our southerly neighbors by what is essentially a highway called Broad Street.

  • OldeTowneAlaskan

    Is there any update on this project? It generated a lot of discussion almost 11 months ago but now all seems quiet?

  • rswank

    Hopefully the update is a new design something akin to the Normandy on Long St.

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