Decade in Development: Jeffrey Park Reinvents Italian Village
A lot has changed in Columbus between 2010 and 2020. In this series we take a look at large-scale development projects and trends that shape where we live, work and play.
In 2010, the 41 acre site formerly home to the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company in Italian Village was a mostly empty dirt field. In 2004, a local developer had announced a grand vision for a new community called “Jeffrey Place” that never fully got off the ground. Only two smaller buildings were ever constructed before the developer ran into financial issues, and the site sat empty for the next six years — proof to skeptics that urban development in Columbus was an early 2000s fad with no real long-term legs.
Fast forward to December 2012, and local firm Wagenbrenner Development (rebranded in 2019 as Thrive Companies) announced new plans for the site that would include over 1,300 residences to be built out in phases over the next several years.
The ambitious plans were met with some skepticism, and rightly so given the previous developer’s failure, but Wagenbrenner’s track record of cleaning up former brownfield sites gave urbanists hope that this Downtown-adjacent land could become a brand new neighborhood.
Construction of the first phase of Jeffrey Park began in 2013 on the north side of the 41 acre site, starting with multiple five-story apartment buildings and three-story for-sale residential units. Over the next six years, new buildings continued to growth southward on the site in a piecemeal fashion, while community amenities popped up in between in the form of pocket parks, pools, community centers and Hoof Hearted Brewing.
Today, Jeffrey Park is home to hundreds of residents as the final phases come into completion over the next several years. For-sale homes and for-rent apartments have provided a mix of neighbors in the community, already covering over half of the site as the decade comes to a close.
Of course, one of the biggest impacts that Jeffrey Park has had is the shift in the center of gravity in the Short North. While High Street has historically been the commercial corridor of the neighborhood with residential neighborhoods Victorian Village and Italian Village flanking both sides, Jeffrey Park has pulled more commercial weight and residential density over to Fourth Street. Since 2013, a dozen other sites nearby have seen smaller development projects pop up with apartment buildings lining Fourth Street and new single-family homes filling in the gaps.
Jeffrey Park contains little commercial space within its boundaries, but the sheer volume of residents has given enough of a push to inspire additional nearby development that includes bars, restaurants and breweries. Many types of neighborhood-based commercial businesses require a certain degree of critical mass to be successful, and Jeffrey Park has contributed that critical mass.
Thrive Companies has announced that the southern end of the site will be anchored with a taller office building, more residences and a larger central community greenspace.