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East Franklinton Planned as Dense Hub of Urban Creativity

Walker Evans Walker Evans East Franklinton Planned as Dense Hub of Urban CreativityThe Master Plan for East Franklinton calls for dense new development on West Broad Street.
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On Thursday evening, dozens of locals gathered in an empty Franklinton warehouse to review and discuss the finalized results of the East Franklinton Plan.

Public input has been gathered through a series of events over the past twelve months to help steer the development of the new neighborhood plan. The goal of the project is to provide affordable live/work options for the creative community, develop a mix of innovative infill while preserving historic character of existing neighborhood buildings, and help to create a dense walkable urban neighborhood with a distinct identity.

“In many ways the East Franklinton effort is about bringing back a neighborhood that has fallen on hard times, but which is still home to many folks and businesses,” said Vince Papsidero, Planning Administrator at City of Columbus. “So this effort gives the neighborhood legitimacy among other nearby initiatives, while also ensuring the Franklinton has a place at the table in Central Ohio and isn’t lost in the shadow of Downtown.”

The plan calls for the development of the East Franklinton area as a whole through three seperate neighborhood strategies:

  • Dodge Park – (orange) This area will continue to work with the Franklin Development Association on the infill of 250-400 new affordable and market-rate single family homes. The area will see limited densities and retail, but will include the addition of new community focused greenspaces.
  • Arts & Innovation – (purple) The neighborhood surrounding 400 West Rich will be the focus of additional creative spaces including studios, incubator spaces and live/work environments. The plan calls for an additional 800-1,300 residential units to be housed in renovated spaces and new development.
  • Broad Street – (blue) The Broad Street corridor will be the densest of the East Franklinton area with the plan calling for 2,000 to 3,000 new residential units over the next 20 years. Private developers will be sought to partner on building out space for stores, restaurants, boutiques and office uses here.

Combined, these three neighborhoods call for upwards of 4,700 new residential units, 100,000 square feet of new retail space, 100,000 square feet of new creative office space, and 150,000 square feet of studio and entrepreneurial incubator space, all within a 200 acre area. To put that into perspective, the dense Bridge Street Corridor plan in Dublin calls for 8,000 housing units for 1,000 acres.

To paraphrase a famous quote… “with great density comes great responsibility”. But neighborhood leaders aren’t too concerned about the gradual shift toward this new way of life for Franklinton.

“Parking is of course one of the biggest questions people have when redeveloping anything,” said Jim Sweeney, Executive Director of the Franklinton Development Association. “We really believe that density dictates parking and that we don’t intend to follow suburban style parking requirements in this environment. We think people will walk, ride bikes and have fewer vehicles in East Franklinton.”

Beyond density, the East Franklinton plan is being touted as unique as it includes existing ongoing redevelopment efforts, rather than being purely an aspirational document. The goals of the overall plan stretch over the next two decades, but work in the short term will yield tangible results in the next three to five years.

“The plan is building upon efforts to revitalize the neighborhood that started before we undertook the planning process last September,” said Papsidero. “Efforts by the City under the Mayor’s leadership, Franklinton Development Association, CMHA and Lance Robbins together place this plan at a point where it can help draw connections between multiple initiatives, as opposed to trying to jump starting revitalization.”

Papsidero also says that the East Franklinton plan is realistically grounded as it is based upon a conservative market study that forecasts housing, retail and office needs over the next few years. These trends, combined with priorities defined by the residents of Franklinton are what form the driving force behind the new plan.

“The majority of the feedback I received was very positive and supportive,” said Papsidero. “An adopted plan is a key tool to ensure the public interest is taken into consideration as investment decisions are made.”

To view the full plan, CLICK HERE. (10.6MB PDF file)

More information can be found online at development.columbus.gov.

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