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Development Project Updated to Preserve Historic High Street Buildings

Walker Evans Walker Evans Development Project Updated to Preserve Historic High Street BuildingsPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The controversial “View on Pavey Square” development planned for a stretch of High Street just north of Ohio State will soon be getting a major revision that will likely please many within the neighborhood. A legal representative from developer JDI Celmark wrote to the University Area Commission on Wednesday, announcing that plans would be presented soon that saves all of the High Street properties in the footprint of the project, rather than demolishing them.

“JSDI Celmark and its prinicipals have collectively done seven other projects in the University District, with each of them being very well received, and none of them causing controversy” explained lawyer James Maniace in the letter. “They regret the controversy over this proposal and, as with their other projects, will continue to work with the University Area bodies and the neighborhood residents to come to a solid, socially responsible solution.”

Maniace goes on to state that JSDI Celmark is working on a plan that will not involve demolition of any of the High Street buildings between Oakland and Northwood Avenues, and will focus on the development of a structure facing the alley on the back end of the site. Of course, the updates don’t mean that the project is in any way finalized at this point, and may not even happen at all.

“They are pursuing this path even though they have not yet confirmed whether the economics of this approach will work,” stated Maniace. “Their commitment to the University Area District is that if the economics of preserving the streetscape does not work, they will not do the project.”

In December, JSDI Celmark presented an original plan that would see the demolition of most of the High Street buildings on this block, and would replace them with an 11-story mixed-use structure. In January, the building was reduced to eight stories, but still required nearly an entire block of demolition.

If the developer presents the revised project in February, it would be in front of the University Area Review Board (UARB), which will meet next on February 18th at 6:30pm.

Update (2/5 4:30pm): Developer Mike Balakrishnan with Celmark Development Group confirmed that the new plan was submitted to the UARB today. The new proposal includes a seven-story building running along the alley on the back of the site that includes 79 apartment units containing 290 beds. The High Street buildings would be maintained as commercial office and restaurant spaces.

“As portfolio developers with a stellar record of other successful developments around the University area, we have as much vested interested in the community as our neighboring residents,” said Balakrishnan.

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