Urban Plan Finalized for Near East Side Redevelopment
The “Partners Achieving Community Transformation” (PACT) working group unveiled their finalized plan tonight for the redevelopment of the Near East Side of Columbus after a three-year process. The plan, known as “The Blueprint for Community Investment”, seeks to enhance the quality of life for the area by focusing on housing, workforce development, neighborhood assets, education, wellness, retail, greenspace and other factors.
The PACT blueprint seeks to achieve those improvements through a physical development framework that targets five key neighborhood focus points located within the larger 800 acre study site:
The Taylor Avenue corridor stretches from Leonard Avenue to Broad Street and features two major medical anchors: Carepoint East at OSU University Hospital East. This area is also home to East High School, the Isabelle Ridgeway senior care center, and the Pilgrim Elementary School, which is currently vacant.
The blueprint designates Taylor Avenue as the primary area to receive the $10 million in investment allocated by OSU in 200x. The investment would go toward a $14.75 million plan that includes the development of a mix of for-rent and for-sale mixed-income housing, homeowner assistance loans, and over 5,000 square feet of retail at Long Street and Taylor Avenue. Additionally, the former Pilgrim School site is proposed for reuse as an adult education center.
The former Poindexter Village site (pictured above) is currently owned by the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and is undergoing demolition of the existing buildings. Up to 10 original buildings are being reviewed for preservation while the rest of the 23 acre site will be cleared to make room for new development.
The blueprint calls for up to 500 new residential units, mostly in the form of two-to-three story mixed-income townhomes and multi-unit apartment buildings, as well as designated greenspace and an intergenerational day care center. CMHA is already working on the development of a 104-unit senior housing development on the site.
The total redevelopment of Poindexter Village is expected to require a total investment of $80 million through multiple development partners. PACT and CMHA are submitting an application for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for up to $30 million. Additionally, CMHA and PACT have announced a partnership with McCormack Baron Salazar, a St. Louis based private firm that specializes in the development and management of “economically integrated urban neighborhoods”.
Mt. Vernon East
The portion of Mt. Vernon Avenue at the intersection of Champion Avenue (pictured below) is designated as a development anchor to connect Poindexter Village with the neighboring stretch of this commercial corridor. This area currently contains several vacant properties including the prominent Carl Brown IGA building and two auto repair shops. This area was previously home to Poindexter Tower, which was recently demolished.
The PACT blueprint calls for $17 to $27 million in investment in this area on the development of new mixed-income housing with 14,000 square feet of new ground-floor retail space. A conversion of the former grocery store building to an institutional or municipal use is recommended.
Mt. Vernon Business District
The remaining portion of Mt. Vernon Avenue closer to Downtown is planned to remain a business district as currently exists today, with improvements to be made to infrastructure, streetcape, building facades and infill development. Another 100-125 units of mixed-income rental housing is allotted with another 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The area is currently home to the King Arts Complex and the Mount Vernon Plaza.
Long Street Business District
The Long Street corridor currently runs through the middle of the King-Lincoln District and is home to the renovated Lincoln Theater , Gateway mixed-use building at Hamilton Avenue, and the recently completed Charles mixed-use building. The PACT blueprint recommends a continuation of this existing development with more multi-story housing with ground floor retail, complimented with streetscape improvements to create a better neighborhood environment. Once ongoing highway construction is completed (pictured below), Long Street will have a newly renovated connection to Downtown, creating a new “front door” to the Near East Side.
The total recommended investment plan for this area is $15.4 million, with encouragement to seek private development partners that specialize in urban retail and residential development. An emphasis is also made on student housing here for the nearby colleges of Columbus State and CCAD.
With many different individual pieces and parts, the PACT blueprint has a staggered and flexible timeline for development and execution. Some projects are already in motion, such as the demolition of Poindexter Village and the application of federal grant funding by CMHA. Much of the recommended commercial and residential is planned to occur over the next two to ten years, depending upon the right public-private partnerships being forged.
While the blueprint has been finalized, there is still work to be done by neighbors and stakeholders who want to have an ongoing voice in the redevelopment plans of the Near East Side. PACT partners including McCormack Baron Salazar, Urban Design Associates and CMHA will be hosting workshops from July 22nd to July 25th to refine plan details on the redevelopment of Poindexter Village.
More information can be found online at www.eastpact.org.
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Renderings and maps provided by PACT. Long Street Bridge photo by Walker Evans.