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Edwards Pushes for Urban Density with New Apartment Developments

Walker Evans Walker Evans Edwards Pushes for Urban Density with New Apartment DevelopmentsRendering of the student apartment development Edwards Communities is proposing at 150 West Lane Avenue.
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Columbus is seeing a huge influx of new apartment development, and the Edwards Communities is hard at work to make sure their developments are some of the first to come available for residents to move in and start renting.

Tribeca is the name of their community development located at 700 West Third Avenue, which is already under construction. This development will feature 183 one and two bedroom apartment units, a fitness center, pool, theatre room, club room and an interior courtyard space.

“The warm winter has been very good for construction,” says Ryan Szymanski, Senior Vice President of Development at The Edwards Communities. “We believe there’s a good market in this area for apartments and it will be advantageous to get out in front of our competition. We expect to be entirely completed with this project by the end of the year.”

No rental rates have currently been set, but Szymanski says that they’ll be competitive to rates at The Flats on Vine and Grandview Yard Apartments. Tribeca is expected to attract a young professional demographic due to the price points and location.

“It provides proximity to the OSU Medical Center and Downtown,” says Szymanski. “This development will be great for people that don’t want to live right in Arena District, but still close enough to the action to easily take a cab there.”

Additionally, residents at Tribeca will be within close proximity to the ongoing development of Grandview Yard, which includes a recently announced Giant Eagle located right next door. The new grocery store could break ground before the end of the year and is anticipated to be open by the Summer of 2013.

Edwards is working on several other apartment developments located much closer to the campus of The Ohio State University, but those are progressing at a slower pace.

A year ago, Edwards presented a student apartment project located just east of The Ohio State University between 15th and 16th Avenues. That project is being developed in collaboration with Campus Partners and has been put on hold as officials at the University wait to see how the initiative to house Sophomores in on-campus dormitories will affect the demand for off-campus housing.

Meanwhile, on Lane Avenue, Edwards is planning a new five-story development that would be home to 40 apartments containing 112 beds and podium-style parking below the units. The project has faced opposition by the University Area Commission for not providing enough parking spaces for the building’s residents. The original plans call for a ratio of 0.6 parking spaces per bed, providing parking spots for 60% of the tenants.

A rendering of the “Tribeca” apartment community, which will be located at 700 West Third Avenue.

“We firmly believe that with the proximity to campus that the parking plan would be more than sufficient,” said Szymanski. “We’re targeting students who don’t want to own a car.”

The development plans presented by The Edwards Community meets city code, and variances for reduced parking plans can be applied, but Szymanski says that the university overlay is more stringent.

“We did a parking study on the Lane Avenue area and found that most apartment buildings are below the 0.6 level,” he explains. “So we went to the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment, but they asked us to find more parking.”

Nearby, Edwards has proposed a similar student-oriented development at 236-262 West Norwich Avenue. This collection of four three-story buildings provides housing for 156 residents with two stories of parking, but faces similar opposition because of required parking variances.

“The Area Commission is against it, and the neighboring land over filed an appeal on our BZA variances,” explains Szymanski. “A lot of these types of projects get a lot of variances. Some landlords want you to believe that a one-to-one parking ratio is necessary. But we believe that the area around OSU has the best transit alternatives in all of Columbus, between COTA, CABS, Hertz on Demand, and the walking proximity — all those things justify our request for the reduction of parking.”

A rendering of the apartment development proposed by The Edwards Communities for Norwich Avenue.

In addition to their work in Columbus, Edwards is working on student-oriented residential projects in Tampa, Florida and Boulder, Colorado. Szymanski says that city, neighborhood and university officials in those markets have been somewhat easier to work when building denser urban development.

“This is not meant to be a knock on Columbus or OSU, but it’s just tougher to get deals here in terms of high density student housing,” he says. “We’ve found Tampa and Boulder to just be very supportive of the need.”

The Edwards Communities will present an updated plan for 150 West Lane Avenue that includes additional parking accommodations for approval on April 24th.

More information can be found online at www.EdwardsCommunities.com.

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