Fast Forward: East Franklinton & The Scioto Peninsula
As the City of Columbus continues to grow, many neighborhoods are evolving along with it. One area in particular that will see rapid transformation over the course of the next decade is the area just west of Downtown Columbus. Large-scale plans have been announced for the 21 acres of land adjacent to the Scioto River, now known as The Scioto Peninsula. And on the other side of the railroad tracks, the eastern side of the Franklinton neighborhood is filled with sizable development projects that collectively add up to major changes.
In this installment of our “Fast Forward” series, we take a look at these two Downtown-adjacent areas and how they will be transformed in the years to come.
New Greenspace and Cultural Centers
While new office, residential and retail development is certainly needed in these areas that have remained largely empty for the past several decades, it’s exciting to note that a sizable amount of land is being set aside to increase the public space and cultural amenities in these neighborhoods. By the end of the year, a new eight-acre park will open to the public on the west side of COSI, establishing a large “front yard” for the Scioto Peninsula that compliments the existing Scioto Greenways that connect to multiple riverfront recreational trails.
Directly to the north, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is replacing the old Veterans Memorial building, which will offer a new institution for visitors from all across the state. The 53,000 square foot complex is set to host multiple types of events, and is slated for a 2018 grand opening.
Nearly 1,000 New Residents Will Soon Move In
While master planning efforts call for thousands of new residential units across the Scioto Peninsula and East Franklinton, the current slate of announced development projects will be bringing the first set of 1,000 new residents into 663 apartments and condos slated for construction.
Ground has already been broken on phase one of River & Rich, a new mixed-used development located on the southeastern edge of East Franklinton, which will contain 230 residential units once completed in the summer of 2018. Work has also begun on Gravity, a new mixed-use project from Kaufman Development that sits on Broad Street, and will bring another 250 residential units to market in 2018.
Other residential developments planned in East Franklinton that have not begun construction yet include the contemporary Out of Town project on West Town Street, which will contain 45 new housing units, and the two-part Lucas Lofts development, which could add a total of 138 new residential and live-work units next door to 400 West Rich.
Over 140,000 Square Feet of New Retail and Office Space
East Franklinton and the Scioto Peninsula will not just be home to new homes. Quite a few of the announced development projects include both office and retail space as well. The aforementioned Gravity and River & Rich properties include a combined total of 40,000 square feet of office space and 55,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.
Additionally, a previously half-demolished building near 400 West Rich Street is slated for reconstruction by developer Urban Smart Growth to become a new three-story building with 34,000 square feet of new office space and an extra 10,100 square feet devoted to restaurant, retail, kitchen or event space. The old Engine House #6 will be undergoing a historic renovation into new office space where Heritage Ohio will relocate their offices. And last but certainly not least, BrewDog recently unveiled their plans to convert an old warehouse building into a 4,000 square foot taproom with a 3,000 square foot rooftop patio.
The Great Unknown
While everything announced thus far in East Franklinton and on the Scioto Peninsula adds up to quite a bit of upcoming development, it only represents the tip of the iceberg. Once a developer has been chosen to build out the 21 acres of open land on the Scioto Peninsula, it alone will contribute another 2,250 residents to the area with over 1,500 more residential units, as well as an additional one million square feet of office and retail.
Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) — the developer firm that planned and built both the Arena District and Grandview Yard — is also making a big plan in East Franklinton. After purchasing the old Byers Chevrolet site in 2014, the company has continued to acquire additional parcels of land in the surrounding area, consolidating enough property for a larger scale project. No specific details have been announced as of yet, but NRI president Brian Ellis told Columbus Underground in 2014 that it will likely take the form of a dense mixed-use project.
Beyond NRI, the city plan for East Franklinton that was finalized in 2012 calls for continued infill development of the neighborhood that includes a mix of affordable, market-rate and luxury housing and many types of artistic and commercial spaces to provide amenities for this growing area.