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CDDC Looking to Build Apartments Near Topiary Park

Brent Warren Brent Warren CDDC Looking to Build Apartments Near Topiary ParkThe building would replace an empty lot at 497 E. Town St. Rendering by Moody Nolan.
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A new plan for an empty lot across from the Topiary Park Downtown could bring a five-story, 90-unit apartment building to the site.

The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) bought the 0.7-acre parcel in February for $1.8 million. Located at 497 E. Town St. and once owned by Franklin University, the lot held a three-story medical office building for many years before it was demolished over a decade ago. Two different development proposals have been floated for the site since then – one in 2016 and another in 2018 – but neither came to fruition.

The new proposal is outlined in a Request for Proposals (RFP) packet posted on the CDDC’s website. It calls for 90-95 units and a ground floor parking garage with space for 50 cars.

The goal of the project, according to the documents included in the RFP, is to provide “housing Downtown that is accessible to tenants earning between 60 and 100 percent of the area median income.”

Also specified is a unit mix consisting of roughly 30% two-bedroom apartments, 50% one-bedrooms and 20% studios.

Elevations and renderings by the architecture firm Moody Nolan were included in the packet, although it was noted that revisions could be necessary – the site is in a historic district, so any design would have to get a vote of approval from both the Historic Resources Commission and the Downtown Commission.

The RFP seeks a company to be the Construction Manager for the project.

The news of the proposal comes on the heels of an announcement last month that the CDDC’s long-time President and CEO Guy Worley would be retiring at the end of May. Worley’s retirement, along with the appointment of new board members, was described by Mayor Andrew Ginther’s office as part of an effort to realign the organization around an “equity lens,” with an increased emphasis on creating mixed-income developments that include affordable and workforce housing.

Additional Reading: Is the City’s Tax Abatement Policy Meeting Affordable Housing Need?

The Town Street side of the proposed building. Visual by Moody Nolan.
The lot in 2016, photo by Walker Evans.
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