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Mixed-Income Apartments, Commercial Proposed on East Main Street

Brent Warren Brent Warren Mixed-Income Apartments, Commercial Proposed on East Main Street
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Mixed-income apartments and a to-be-determined commercial tenant could be coming to the long-vacant, three-acre lot at the southwest corner of East Main and 18th streets. The lot, which the boxer James “Buster” Douglas bought in 1991 with the intention of developing into condos, sits about a half mile from both downtown (to the west) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (to the south).

Wallick Communities presented a plan to a September 1st neighborhood meeting describing their concept for the residential portion of the project; a three-story building at the corner of Main and 17th with community space on the first floor, apartments above, and a 150-slot covered parking lot to the south. Eight townhouse units at the corner of East Mound and 18th would bring the total unit count to 100.

“In doing our due diligence on the site, we found there is a substantial need for affordable housing in the area” said Tim Swiney of Wallick, adding that, “there is also a substantial desire from the community to have a commercial retail component.”

The commercial portion of the project, which would take up about one and a quarter acres at the corner of Main and 18th, is being developed by the Smith Tandy Group, which bought the site in 2012 for $575,000.

Swiney said that Smith Tandy had been in discussion with Turkey Hill about bringing a store/gas station to the corner, but ultimately the company did not think there was enough traffic to justify pursuing the project.

The hope is that Wallick’s plan to add residents to the site will make it more attractive to potential commercial tenants. “We’ll be working with the landwoners to make sure whatever goes in there complements both the residential side of the project and the neighborhood in general,” said Swiney.

About a quarter of the residential units could end up being market-rate, with the remainder targeted toward those making incomes of between $30,000 and $47,000 a year. Swiney stressed that the vision is workforce housing marketed toward young professionals.

He also said that the total number of units on the residential side could be reduced as they re-work the project based on the initial round of feedback received from the community. “There were some concerns that 100 units might be too large for area, so we’re looking at our options for reducing that, maybe by getting rid of the eight townhome units.”

The timeline for the project will depend on whether or not it’s approved for affordable housing tax credits. Swiney said that Wallick will apply for the credits in February and will find out if they are awarded in June, and would likely apply a second time if they are not granted during the upcoming round. Even if they receive good news on the tax credits and acquire all the necessary city and neighborhood approvals – the plan will be presented to the Near East Area Commission in October – ground breaking would still be at least 18 months off.

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