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2014 Year in Review: Urban Development

Brent Warren Brent Warren 2014 Year in Review: Urban Development
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2014 was another banner year for urban development in Columbus. As we usually do at this time of year, we’ve complied a list of projects – mostly in urban Columbus – that were either completed, started, or announced this year. We’ve also included a recap of the significant urban planning efforts that have been undertaken. As you will see, the lists are long, and speak to a bustling real estate market that appears to be fully recovered from the housing crisis of 2008.

Development Projects Completed in 2014

The Wood Companies completed their renovation of the Leafy Dale building – now known as the Dennison – but work continues on the adjacent 12-unit addition and parking garage. Also in Victorian Village, both the Aston Row Apartments and the Aston Row Townhomes are completed.

Anthropologie opened, as did the parking garage in the Joseph, while the hotel across the street – Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph – is scheduled to open January 15th. Chipotle has opened up shop in the Fireproof Building, while pre-leasing has started and residents will soon be moving into the apartments.

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The Neighborhood Launch development downtown continued to grow, with work wrapping up on the Normandy apartment building and the Welsh community center (a renovation of the former Faith Mission building, a church built in 1867).

Construction also wrapped up this summer on the Highpoint Apartments on the Columbus Commons, and the new Columbia Gas headquarters in the Arena District was completed.

The Mound Street Connector opened, changing the route for many commuters entering downtown.

Wagenbrenner Development’s first market-rate homes in Weinland Park were completed on North Grant Avenue, while the first of their renovated row houses on 11th Avenue is now for lease.

North of OSU, student renters have moved into Norwich Flats and a new apartment development at Neil & Tompkins. Local Cantina has taken up residence in a new single-story retail development farther north on High Street, in Clintonville.

The three-story Village Pointe project was completed on Parsons Avenue.

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The first phase of major infrastructure improvements in the American Addition neighborhood was completed, paving the way for more new home construction from Homeport. 

At Grandview Yard, new openings included the Giant Eagle Market DistrictHofbrauhausKeystone Apartments and a second parking deck.

While native trees and grasses continue to grow in along the banks of the Olentangy River north of Fifth Avenue, the city celebrated the completion of their river restoration project in September of this year – about two years after work to remove the Fifth Avenue dam was first started.

Development Under Construction in 2014

Work has started on the Harrison Park Townhomes, the final piece of Wagenbrenner Development’s larger Harrison Park development. The Harrison West neighborhood also saw the start of construction on the Trotter’s Gate development.

Although actual construction may still be a ways off, remediation work began on Wagenbrenner’s Grandview Crossing site near the intersection of Grandview Avenue and Dublin Road. And work has begun in earnest on their massive Jeffrey Park project in Italian Village, with construction well under way on apartments and the community center/restaurant at the corner of North Fourth Street and East First Avenue.

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Also in Italian Village, the Battery B apartments are close to being finished, six new houses on Summit are already under construction, and Borror Properties has broken ground on both their Prescott and Pearl and Truberry on Summit projects.

Borror Properties has also started work on 42 West Third Avenue in Victorian Village, while work continues on the largest new addition to that neighborhood – Westiminster-Thurber’s new seven-story building.

On campus, work continues on the the View on High, while the View on Fifth, by the same developer, is partially completed. OSU’s massive North Residential District project continues, with a number of buildings topped out and ready for interior work this winter.

The large-scale renovation of the Leveque Tower continues, with a big announcement coming in July about a future hotel tenant being lined up for the historic building. The other major renovation downtown, the Atlas Building, is nearing completion – pricing and floorplans were revealed over the summer.

At Neighborhood Launch, the second phase of the Bishop’s Walk condos are reportedly selling quickly, before they are even completed.

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Work on the first of two eight-story apartment buildings at the corner of High and Rich streets downtown continues, while just down the street the twelve-story 250 High building has gone up quickly over the course of the year.

Also downtown, work continues on the renovation of the Julian Building at Front and Main.

Farther afield, pre-leasing has begun on the Worthington Place Apartments, which have been built on part of the parking lot of the Worthington Place Mall.

Proposals for Dublin’s Bridge Street Corridor continued to come in; Casto’s Tuller Flats will add 392 units, while a 42-unit mixed-use project  is underway in Dublin’s historic center by the district’s primary developer, Crawford Hoying.

The addition of new green space in urban Columbus continues to be an important story – the  shaping of 33 acres of new park space downtown (created by the removal of the  the Main Street dam) continues, while plans for Wilson Road Park include a trailhead providing access to the recently-funded Columbus portion of the Camp Chase Trail.

Development Projects Announced in 2014 

At Grandview Yard, a large new office campus for Nationwide Insurance was announced, which will bring 3,000 employees to the site by 2019.

Borror Properties spent a lot of time at historic review commission meetings this year; their list of proposals includes the JeromeTruberry on Second, a new mixed-use project replacing the Short North White Castle, a six-story Pearl Street condo building, and a recently-announced downtown development.

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Joe Armeni wants to put condos in a historic Italian Village church, while the corner of Fifth and Summit could see a five-story mixed-use building. The Donatos Building in the Short North will be replaced by a larger building with office space and a brewery, and the corner of Third and High could see a six-story apartment building.

The Wood Companies unveiled the latest renderings of their Hubbard Park Place development early this year, although construction has yet to start. They also took plans for a five-story mixed-use building – across the street from Northstar – to the Italian Village Commission.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s (CMHA) ambitious plan for Poindexter Village on the Near East Side, which was first unveiled in March, received a boost when the US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a $30 million grant for the project. We also sat down with Bryan Brown, Senior Vice President of Business Development at the CMHA, to talk about the agency’s plans for 13 acres of land in Franklinton.

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Edwards Communities proposed a four-story apartment building on Lane Avenue (next door to Tommy’s Pizza), as well as a 65-unit renovation of the Citizens Building on the southwest corner of Gay and High streets downtown. Across Gay Street from that development, Edwards has plans to build a seven-story apartment building where a parking lot currently sits, although they have yet to officially submit those plans to the Downtown Commission.

Construction will be starting on more Neighborhood Launch buildings in 2015 – additional condos on Gay Street, the Neilston apartment building on Long Street, and a proposed six-story storage building at the corner of Long and Young streets.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library unveiled their plans for a major renovation and addition to the main library downtown, as well as plans for a new Parsons branch, but announced they’d be scaling back plans for the Northside Branch on High Street.

In  Olde Towne East, a forty-unit apartment building on Parsons was proposed. Farther south on Parsons, Bob Leighty is looking into building a large-scale commercial building, which could include a greenhouse and a grocery store.

Plans for a new Vets Memorial Museum were approved by the Downtown Commission, and plans for new bridges and highway caps were unveiled by ODOT in March.

Developer Brad DeHayes has two proposals for historic buildings downtown, both involving micro-apartments – one for the Stoddart Building on South Fourth Street and the other for a collection of buildings at the southeast corner of Front and Long Streets.

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Campus Partners announced plans to expand the South Campus Gateway, while Buckeye Real Estate unveiled their concept for renovating two prominent buildings across the street. Campus Partners also acquired two carry-out stores in Weinland Park.

Homeport revised their plans for the former Barrett Middle School in Merion Village, and received approval for the project from the South Side Area Commission.

The Dublin Green development could add 400,000 square feet of retail space to a green-field site located approximately half-way between Dublin and Plain City.

Bexley’s two-story Giant Eagle was approved by the planning commission, as was a proposal to build three full-floor condos above retail down the street. Nationwide Children’s Hospital made a splash at the end of the year by unveiling plans for two six-story buildings on Livingston Avenue.

This fall saw different outcomes for two of the most controversial development proposals – a four-story mixed-use building at the former Olympic Pool site in Clintonville has been put on hold, while 48 townhomes on King Avenue were approved by City Council.

Urban Planning for 2015 and Beyond

The biggest urban planning story of 2014 was insight2050, a study commissioned by the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) that aims to show the future impact of our current development choices. We had an in-depth discussion with MORPC’s William Murdock and Kerstin Carr about the study, and reported on the final results, which were released in November.

We also highlighted planning efforts in two important Columbus neighborhoods; the University District plan calls for pushing density to High Street and Lane Avenue, while the West Franklinton plan aims to encourage long-term stability and growth in the neighborhood.

A proposed Innovation District inspired discussion, and OSU’s draft Comprehensive Transportation and Parking Plan suggests major changes in how staff and students get around campus. The city also is looking to implement a new Complete Streets Thoroughfare Plan.

COTA is moving forward with the potentially transformative recommendations of their Transit System Review undertaken earlier this year.

Columbus Recreation and Parks also completed a major planning effort, and noted planner and walkability advocate Jeff Speck spoke with Columbus Underground in advance of his appearance at the Great Placemakers Lab.

As always, you can find more information in our Development News section and the Development Discussion area of our messageboard. You can also watch the work in progress with the regular installations of our Construction Roundup photo series. Also of note for those interested in development, architecture and planning is our ongoing Design Digest series. This year also saw a series of in-depth interviews with developers who are shaping the Short North; Doug BorrorMark WoodMichael Schiff and Joe Armeni. 

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