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Jeffrey Park Will Add Over 1300 New Residences to Italian Village

Walker Evans Walker Evans Jeffrey Park Will Add Over 1300 New Residences to Italian Village
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Columbus is filled with beautiful historic neighborhoods. From German Village to Olde Towne East to Victorian Village to Merion Village, the central city has a wealth of streets lined with well maintained historic architecture. Which means that modern architecture can sometimes be a little harder to come by.

Jeffrey Park Site Plan (Click to enlarge)

Enter: Jeffrey Park, a massive new $180 million urban development planned for the 41 acre site once home to The Jeffrey Manufacturing Company. Wagenbrenner Development has made plans to build out 1,350 residential units in a mix of apartment buildings for rent and townhomes for sale.

“Essentially, we now have title to the whole site with the exception of the lots where the two existing buildings are located,” said Mark Wagenbrenner, President of Wagenbrenner Development. “We’ve presented this development to the Italian Village Commission about five times now and it’s gone really well.”

Phase one of Jeffrey Park is expected to begin construction on the north end of the site in April, which will include 261 rental units and 73 townhomes for sale. The first phase represents a $34 million investment into the project.

“The future phases are still somewhat speculative, but we’ve been trying to lay out a course of action,” said Wagenbrenner. “All told, this represents around 1,350 units with a community center, a restaurant space and parking.”

The team at Wagenbrenner Development said that high demand for apartments in the urban market is driven by the Millennial demographic, but they hope their new development will cater to a wide range of residents. The configuration of Jeffrey Park will be designed to accomodate pedestrian access with a green promenade connecting pool areas to open green spaces. The townhomes are not being sold as condominiums to help lower barriers to entry for potential buyers.

“We’re working in today’s financing environment and the purchasers of these homes have to qualify for loans,” explained Wagenbrenner. “It’s hard to get condominium loans, so these will be treated as fee-simple homes where your lot is directly under your house. From a financing standpoint you’ll qualify for all of the lending programs and super low interest rates here just like you would if you were buying a house in the suburbs.”

Unlike many of their suburban counterparts, the townhomes found in Jeffrey Park stand out with a sharp modern style courtesy of BBCO Design, a firm based here in Columbus. Many of the architectural details for future townhome phases (some of which are pictured) are still subject to change to fit customer feedback.

If reading all of this is giving you a slight bit of deja vu, it’s for a good reason. A similar project from a different developer was announced for this long-vacant site back in 2000, but it failed to get off the ground due to a variety of issues. Based on several comments from the Columbus Underground messageboard, expectations for the completion of Jeffrey Park have grown higher under the development arm of Wagenbrenner, as they’ve proven their track record with the smaller-but-similar Harrison Park project in the nearby Harrison West neighborhood.

“We’ve been very traditional in our architecture at Harrison Park, but over here we need to embrace a more modern edge,” said Wagenbrenner. “We want to pay tribute to the industrial history of the area with factory windows, black brick and metal panels. But we also try to mix up the building types so that it doesn’t look like it’s one large development and instead feels more like a neighborhood.”

One thing you won’t find much of at Jeffrey Park is commercial space. Other than the Community Center building (which may house a restaurant and/or coffee shop) located at the corner of Fourth Street and First Avenue, the development is completely residential.

“Convincing retailers to build in this day and age is hard because they’re not risk takers,” explained Wagenbrenner. “We still have so many good opportunities for retail development within walking distance on High Street, we don’t see why we should oversaturate that piece of it when what’s really needed is neighborhood densification, which will help High Street retail grow even stronger.”

While most urban enthusiasts might find little wrong with a grand development plan like Jeffrey Park, there are still some issues to be addressed with regard to traffic control and complete streets.

“We just had a meeting with the Italian Village traffic group and we’re going to get together with Weinland Park to really take a look at enhancing some plans that ODOT has already said that they’ll partially fund for bike lanes on Summit and Fourth,” said Wagenbrenner. “We want to get everyone together to collectively go to the City of Columbus and ask for additional enhancements to promote better on-street parking, alternative modes of transportation, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and first and formost, slowing down the traffic on Fourth.”

Currently, Fourth Street is provided with an extra dose of fast moving vehicles by an exit ramp off of Interstate 670. A long term study from ODOT has evaluated the impact of removing that exit ramp altogether. But in the short term, Jeffrey Park is moving forward regardless.

“We’re looking at April on the apartments, and we expect to get the townhouses underway by June,” said Wagenbrenner. “The community center should come along at the same time.”

It will take years for all phases of Jeffrey Park to be complete, but it’s safe to say that this development will have a huge impact on the future of Italian Village. In 2010, the neighborhood was home to approximately 2,200 residents. If an average of one and a half people move into in each of Jeffrey Park’s 1,350 spaces, it will add another 2,025 people to the neighborhood, effectively doubling the population.

More information about Wagenbrenner Development can be found online at www.wagdev.com.

Additional views of the apartments and townhomes can be found below. Click the images to enlarge.

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  • Pablo


  • mbeaumont

    Dear God, please let this happen without delay! So glad I decided to buy our home in Italian Village. There is so much momentum in the neighborhood right now!

  • surber17

    I think I like this better than the original plan for the site!

  • stephentszuter


    So that brings the grand total of apartment/condo units under construction in the downtown and surrounding areas to…. over 6,000….?

  • readysetdisco

    Wow! This is so much better than the last project. Really hope this happens.

  • geoyui

    Columbus Commons Apt developers could learn something here.

  • stephentszuter

    Agree w/ @geoyui.

  • jpizzow

    Makes me glad that the project proposed in 2000 fell through. And it’s about time we get some modern architecture around these parts. I’ve been waiting a LONG time for something like this. This development, along with Wonderbread and the development a block north, are going to add alot of energy to the neighborhood. I’m a little disappointed in the lack of retail and overall mix of uses though. Either way, this is very exciting stuff.

  • Stephen43215

    High Street doesnt have to be the main street in Columbus for retail. Love the fact they are adding over 1,000 new units but negative on bringing any new retail space to 4th.

  • jbcmh81

    @Stephen43215… I think if there was more demand for retail, it’d be a different story, but retail in general is not seeing much expansion anywhere (okay, outside of cornfields in Delaware County). I’m okay with this being all residential because adding 2,000 new residents is going to spur more neighborhood bars/restaurants/shops all on its own anyway.

  • I think Mark Wagenbrenner made a good point that increased population density will make retail more viable in other areas, which is just as important. While it would be nice to have some extra neighborhood-based retail (restaurants, cafes, boutiques), in the bigger picture this development makes Grandview Yard and Downtown Columbus retail more viable as larger destination retail developers draw their customer radius lines in much larger circles. Having another 2000 people in Italian Village is a huge boost to more significantly sized retailers looking to set up shop Downtown or nearby.

    But anyway, that’s only one small piece of this announcement. In my opinion, the density, the architecture and the developer are all top notch for what urban Columbus needs moving forward. Consider this a huge win for the city if it pans out as planned over the next decade or so.

  • mbeaumont

    Not to mention, there is so much potential on Fourth for retail. Tons of empty buildings and tons of empty lots. The whole neighborhood is just bursting with opportunity with existing assets.

  • ehill27

    I’d really like to see 3rd and 4th go back to two-way from 670 to Hudson. These one-way highways are just not appropriate for residential neighborhoods.

  • mbeaumont


  • Misplaced

    This is great news. A solid developer stepping up to fill in a property with so much potential. And I agree that the retail will come once the density increases and traffic is calmed. From a developer’s perspective, why take on the risk of retail development – currently a challenge to finance – when you can just focus on urban residential, which is so hot right now? As stated earlier, there are many existing spaces along 4th and Summit that could be utilized for retail.

  • Analogue Kid

    Glad to hear it, here’s hoping it goes forward this time.

  • scorpcmh

    Have been critical of much of the boring red brick projects lately(ok gotta say it (COLUMBUS COMMONS!) Kudos to Wagenbrenner for coming up with some fresh designs…love it.

  • Pablo

    A traffic signal halfway between 670 and 1st would make 4th more pedestrian friendly. I think it’s pretty scary to attempt a mid-block crossing with cars screaming up 4th. Two way traffic would be the best but hopefully something could be done in the interim.

  • Exciting! The only thing I miss from the original development plan was the single family homes. Either way I can’t wait to see floorplans and pricing.

  • CMHflyer

    This is phenomenal; what a great revival of a long-overdue development!

    Regarding 3rd/Summit and 4th, I really wish the idea of running a light rail line from the northern ‘burbs along those two arteries would be resurrected. It would allow for speedy travel for those commuting but also be a boon for the surrounding neighborhood while still being within close range of High St. Definitely not holding my breath on it, though.

  • Does anyone know if the one newish building toward the back of the property is active and rented? As far as 3rd and 4th going to 2.way. we’ve been told the city and ODOT studied it and its not going to happen. I am happy bike lanes are being included. I also hope Wagenbrenner is successful in get some kind of traffic calming.

  • dru

    @byJody – it is active and rented. i know at one point this summer it was near or fully rented.

  • jpizzow

    Welcome news for those in the lofts, townhomes and the Jeffrey apts. It’s been kind of lonely over there for a while now. The retail space in Kramer Place should have no problem leasing in the next few years.

  • Summit and 4th are both about 45 feet wide. They could each accommodate a protected bike lane/cycle track pretty easily if they are still one-way streets and they are reduced to two car through lanes.

  • columbusmike

    Another singular style development in Columbus. Why can no developer produce variety?

  • Why don’t they put in corner stores to these things. In New York that’s the second thing you notice. There is a corner store on every corner. There needs to be place for people to just walk to get simple items juice, snacks, beer, toilets paper. That’s the thing I ll miss most about NYC the walk ability. Small grocer with fresh veggies and sushi, restaurants, and corner stores. O and the all you can drink brunches!

  • stephentszuter

    @Columbusdreamer Yes! Having corner stores would make it so much easier to live downtown or any of these other neighborhoods.

    Love that idea.

  • “We want to get everyone together to collectively go to the City of Columbus and ask for additional enhancements to promote better on-street parking, alternative modes of transportation, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and first and foremost, slowing down the traffic on Fourth.”

    How do we sign up to do that?

    Let’s revive the Weinland Park Mobility Plan, which literally got neighborhood applause when we saw the drawings of tree-lined, pedestrian+bike+driver – friendly 4th and Summit streets.

    To avoid getting vetoed again by Clintonville commuters, I suggest a serious effort to show those drivers that they won’t be delayed by the changes; replacing traffic lights with roundabouts means they can use the time they now waste stopped at red lights to get an uninterrupted ride at a slower pace.

    This will improve their commute, making a relaxing ride through trees beside smiling walkers. And none of them want to be the driver who hits a kid crossing 4th or Summit at the school.

    What an amazing opportunity!

  • RedStorm

    Agree with the sentiments here. I think this will be a very cool place, especially if the traffic issues can be worked out sensibly.

  • Jody:

    “As far as 3rd and 4th going to 2.way. we’ve been told the city and ODOT studied it and its not going to happen.”

    Did they give any reasons? Can we read their reports?

  • It was relayed to me verbally. The Weinland Park plan mentions it http://publicservice.columbus.gov/WPCMP/

  • Achekov

    This looks great. It sounds like they are still worried about parking. I’m gonna just say that they should build a parking structure or two and offer spaces as an add-on to leases. Put it back by the freeway and RR tracks and throw in some mixed use space and consider it a stop-gap. In a future where it is no longer needed by residents it can then be used people visiting the neighborhood from the suburbs that don’t have trains yet.

  • Ned23

    So, this is finally starting to take shape. what do you think? It’s seems a bit claustrophobic to me at the North end. I took a walk up there at lunch and it’s a seemingly endless monolithic compound of apartments for several blocks, like something you’d see in working class Europe areas.

    • I don’t think it’s quite that exaggerated. It’s certainly dense, which is the polar opposite of an empty dirt lot, so it’s going to feel different. I think once the construction dust settles and the landscaping has some time to grow in, it will feel like a pretty nice neighborhood, density and all. Not unlike Harrison Park.

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