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New Proposal for Vacant Lot on Parsons Calls for 78 Units, Retail

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Proposal for Vacant Lot on Parsons Calls for 78 Units, RetailAll visuals by JL Bender Inc Architects & Planners.
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A new proposal for a long-vacant lot at 122 Parsons Avenue calls for 78 apartments and about 3,300 square feet of retail space. A three-story building would fill most of the one-acre site, with a 106-space first-floor garage providing parking, along with nine outdoor spaces and 20 individual one-car garages accessed from Gustavus Lane.

A previous plan for the site by a different developer called for three buildings and a total of 44 units, and did not include a retail element.

Attorney David Hodge of Underhill and Hodge, who is representing the new developers, said that they were very aware of neighborhood concerns about that project.

“Our proposal is much more in accordance with the city’s land use plan recommendation for the property, and that’s very purposeful,” he said.


Hodge represents an investor group – registered under the name Parsons Parc, II, LLC – that includes John Royer, of Kohr Royer Griffith, and Metropolitan Holdings. The group closed on the property in December of last year.

Their proposal cleared its first hurdle after a site hearing on Saturday morning, when the zoning committee of the Near East Area Commission voted to recommend approval. Hodge said they hope to bring the project before the full commission this Thursday.

“I’m very bullish on the market in general, and on Parsons from Bryden to Broad particularly,” he said. “We’ve been in this 30-year conversation about the revival of Olde Towne East – I think it’s actually happening this time, and I believe this project will be a catalyst for additional positive things in the neighborhood.”

All visuals by JL Bender Inc Architects & Planners.



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  • WJT

    Much better!

  • Marcus Shull

    I still don’t see how this structure’s design, scale and position on the lot benefit OTE and the Parsons Ave corridor. This in Franklinton? Sure. Corrugated steel siding and a design esthetic reminiscent of a warehouse are cool, but not so much on this stretch of Parsons. did the design team even look at the surrounding architecture of the neighborhood. From a retail standpoint, positioning the building bluntly on the sidewalk with no setback eliminates the possibility for sidewalk seating-scratching most restaurant/cafes from the potential tenant list. Adjust your design to compliment the neighborhood, please. It will be great seeing the space utilized, but as such a key location on Parsons, they really need to step up the design game.

  • JMan

    How much more unimaginative, boring, plain, and flat could we possibly be? It must come down to economics. And why do we always opt for shorter – even from a very meager 4-6 stories?

  • I think the design is lackluster but I am glad it includes retail space and has more units than the previous proposal.

  • lbl

    these residence will have a loud & clear view of the highway once all the reconfiguration is complete.

  • ryan883

    Move this proposal from 122 to about 822 and we’ve got something!

  • superdave

    more like 1422

  • RellekOTE

    Loving the design update. It’s by no means an architectural masterpiece, but it’s a far cry from the more plain suburban traditional rendering proposed previously. And it’s great that they are including some retail now… The Parsons corridor is a great neighborhood business strip, but it’s very limited in space– having more businesses in this area will be super beneficial to OTE. Looking forward to seeing this come to life.

  • Just for reference… here’s the empty gravel lot that is located on this site currently…

  • WJT

    I really don’t think the design is that bad. It is not great(lackluster was a good word for it), but it is not horrible and does not really seem terribly out of place in that location. This is an upgrade as far as the retail space and the number of units. I think some things could still be upgraded and the idea for restaurant patio space among other ideas is a good one. I think it certainly is a step in the right direction.

  • Marcus Shull

    When the best anyone can muster is “not bad” or lackluster”, rather than “Wow” or “what a great addition to OTE”, it would be prudent to do some reworking. Why should we be happy with “Good Enough”? That mentality is what lead to all the out of place multi unit apartments that already occupy property designed for single family homes along Bryden, Franklin. I want something here that is beneficial not just to the owner, but to the community on the whole. This design neither compliments, nor elevates the neighborhood.

    • RellekOTE

      Because other areas of Columbus clearly have done so well with designs to compliment or elevate neighborhoods (cough, cough, High Pointe)… This is the first development proposed in this area in who knows how many years, you should know this city well enough to know we aren’t going to get ‘knock it out of the park’ architecture. And what would be more complimentary to you, out of curiosity? Something that is designed to look ‘old’ but ends up looking too forced? Something super modern that will be out of place? This is a simple design that mixes traditional with some contemporary. I think it looks great.

  • Bob Wilkinson

    Mundane to say the least. No reference at all to the surrounding architecture. But this runs true throughout Columbus. There is no outstanding architecture in this city except the AIU tower.And that was built 80 years ago. I still feel sad about the demolition of the beautiful apartment building that once stood at Parsons and Oak.
    Much progress, little thought.

    • “There is no outstanding architecture in this city except the AIU tower.”

      That’s extremist.

  • Bob Wilkinson

    And Walker look around the neighborhoods, that proposed block of sameness is totally ugly. I might have liked it 30 years ago but now I have a sense of history and style. What next? tear down Governors Square?

  • Kokumo

    It looks like a jail, which is quite appropriate for Parsons.

  • citywalker

    Style will be a never-ending argument – some people like historical styles while others like glass boxes. Either could be well done but mostly will not because it takes money that developers won’t want to spend and the occupants don’t know any better to demand. That is why we end up with buildings like Highpoint(e) (plastic “muntin” window grids and all) and people who can afford to live pretty much wherever they want, actually move in and pay rent.

    One of the main problems with this proposal (and others where apartment buildings are being dropped into older pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods), is building scale. I don’t have a problem with the number of people/units, just the cars that would be allowed and the physical scale of the building. If you have proper scale (real or perceived), then even ugly facades have minimal impact to the rest of the street. This is a relatively large site and, as proposed, it will be the widest and tallest building fronting Parsons.

    All you tower lovers will scoff that I can even suggest this building is too big but Parsons Ave. is not High Street. It may be a commercial strip but it is a relatively narrow street (3 lanes max in front of the site) and the other buildings are narrower and shorter.

    It does look like they have tried to break up the 2nd and 3rd stories a bit on the front elevation only, but for pedestrians in front of the building it will be a long slog without rhythm or interest. If you are walking south towards the building it will seem like you are leaving one neighborhood and entering another that is less residential and more industrial with larger building masses. I think Parsons Ave should have a cohesive feeling from Broad down to Bryden (once you get past Bryden there will not be much in the way of a positive pedestrian experience with the current highway/feeder plans).

    I think this giant mass can be reduced by ditching the symmetry and making it read as two or more buildings on all 3 stories.

    Another big problem with this proposal is they are changing the zoning from ARLD to CPD (supposedly because they need it for retail) but then asking for a variance to add residential back into the ground floor.

    The problem with changing to CPD is that it allows for 65 ft height and for a variety of business uses that no one who lives here would want. (I am not sure why the other CPD zoned lots in the vicinity are at 35 ft). The proposal says the building is 42 feet high (which is already too tall) but there is nothing from stopping them from building it even higher after they get the things they want. 65 feet would way be to high for this site if you care anything about context, pedestrian experience and relationship to the rest of the street and neighborhood.

    I think it would be better to keep it zoned for residential and then grant a variance for retail. I don’t know anyone would oppose that.

  • RellekOTE
  • tonloc620

    Can someone copy and paste this article I have used my 5 views this month and cannot read the article.


    • No. Pasting full articles from any other websites is not allowed here, and will be removed.

    • heresthecasey

      Use incognito mode.

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