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Franklin Park Trolley Barn

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Development Franklin Park Trolley Barn

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    Previous News:

    • Ideas Sought for Franklin Park Trolley Barn Project (Aug 2010)

    East Columbus Residents Want Historic Landmark Cleaned Up

    Saturday September 29, 2012 6:15 PM

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Residents living near the Franklin Park Trolley Barn want the owner to take responsibility for the graffiti and vandalism at the once historic landmark. The facility has been unoccupied for years and now, even the façade worries some people. “Slate that’s fallen off the roof, it’s very sharp and jagged,” said James Flannery, Franklin Park Civic Association.

    READ MORE: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2012/09/29/columbus-history-landmark-cleanup-fight.html


    Pro Se

    Just walked past there a bit ago… The barn itself seems to be in decent condition but the remaining structures on the premises do look pretty bad. Would be fantastic if they did something with this. I recall they were to build condos across the street before the housing bubble burst… Would have surely put this project in better posture if that condo development would have gotten under way. Here’s to hoping something is done on that site in the near future.


    Wish I could get in there and take a look around sure theres some rusty treasure in there.



    To the untrained eye, much of the site may appear beyond hope but it isn’t yet beyond salvage. But, the longer that rescue is delayed, the greater the cost. Continued delay could also result in loss of some of the structures.

    The most recent proposed plans for development of the site are as a mixed use complex. The design is to reflect the Community’s trolley past with an industrial look (concrete, exposed ducts, stainless steel finishes).

    Community input has been sought and incorporated into the goals of proposed redevelopment plans and include:
    restoring the historic facility and returning it to economic use
    creating a new place of activity and a regional tourism attraction
    resulting in a high-quality amenity that is a source of pride for the Community

    The largest structure most commonly referred to as the Trolley Barn is proposed as a market and special event pavilion. The structure that has experienced the collapse is proposed as a community gathering place, including a full service restaurant and bar, outdoor dining and community space for meetings. The car house at the easternmost edge of the complex is proposed as an artist’s village with one and two bedroom loft-style apartments with “French Alleys.” This is envisioned as live/work space with outdoor areas for monthly showings by residents and the ability to host small summer festivals, events and gatherings.


    Sounds awesome.

    In the meantime, whoever owns it should be heavily fined for letting all the graffiti persist.



    Franklin Park Civic Association
    Position Statement on the Franklin Park Trolley Barn Complex

    At the September 25, 2012 meeting of the Franklin Park Civic Association, the membership, by resolution, approved the issuance of the following position statement relating to the property located at 1600 Oak Street, commonly known throughout the Community as the Franklin Park Trolley Barn Complex.

    Whereas, the Association has a vested interest in the health and safety of the Community, within which nuisance properties are an issue that we must deal with throughout the Community, the residents and members of the Association regularly report violations to city officials for properties throughout the Neighborhood in an effort to abate such nuisances; and

    Whereas, the Association recognizes the property at 1600 Oak Street, also known as the Trolley Barn Complex, to be an important historic landmark located within the Franklin Park Community, and we encourage the City of Columbus to work with appropriate development and philanthropic organizations to protect this valued piece of Columbus’ history before it is lost to neglect; and

    Whereas, the Association recognizes the potential for redevelopment of the existing complex to serve a mixed-use purpose that could bring broad economic benefits to Community, and aesthetic improvements to the Complex would promote pride in the neighborhood. In its current state, the Complex has a negative impact on the property values of the neighborhood at large; and

    Whereas, the Association supports the residents of the Community who are frustrated with the lack of significant action to address the problems existing with the site by its current owner, and heightens the need for immediate action; and

    Whereas, the Association recognizes that in its existing state, major issues impacting resident quality of life, and health and safety, include but are not limited to:

    The Complex is a magnet for criminal activities. This is confirmed by widespread graffiti on the structures of the site and evidence of trespassing into the site due to inadequate fencing of the Complex.

    The Complex contains numerous discarded tires which collect rainwater and serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. At the time of the September 4, 2010 Community Visioning Session, one section of the car house without a roof was found to contain dozens of tires.

    The Complex is populated with vermin including ground hog, opossum, skunk and raccoon.

    The Complex is a hazard to pedestrians and motorists, as slate has repeatedly fallen from the roof of the main structure at Oak and Kelton to the sidewalk and street.

    The Complex is a danger to neighboring children, who have frequently been observed entering the site.

    The Complex has experienced multiple partial building collapses, including the east wall of the car house into an adjacent property to the east; and

    Whereas, in addition to issues outlined above, the Community is also concerned about the possibility of arson. The Columbus Fire Department has clearly indicated that they would not enter the structures of the Complex in an attempt to fight such a fire due to concerns for firefighter safety. Such a scenario poses a real threat to the neighborhood, particularly to those residents and properties immediately adjacent to the Complex; and

    Whereas, the Association is not confident that the current owner is committed to adequately addressing the numerous problems existing within the Complex, since they have not been addressed in over nine years that the property has been held by the current owner; and

    Whereas, the Columbus Compact Corporation has, on several occasions, presented proposed development plans for the Complex. The Compact listened to the Community and presented a development concept that the neighborhood supports; and

    Whereas, the Association realizes that projects of this cost and magnitude require a community-wide effort, and acknowledges the costs of developing the site to its potential could range from $5 to $10 million and a period of time to develop the site may take 2 to 3 years; and

    Whereas, the continuing deterioration of the property strongly suggests that the current owner does not have the capacity to build community-wide support and has furthermore demonstrated, by continued inaction, a lack of resources or resolve to address the above issues.

    Be it therefore resolved that, the Franklin Park Civic Association, in representing the Community, opposes any additional Secure Permit beyond those that do not require special approval of the Chief Building Officer, as permitted to the owner per Columbus Code; and

    Be it further resolved, the Association encourages that the Chief Building Officer exercise authority, as provided for by Columbus Code, to deny additional time for the owner to delay taking appropriate action to abate the Public Nuisance property via rehabilitation or demolition; and

    Be it further resolved, the Association encourages the owner to sell the property at 1600 Oak Street to an entity that can build the support required for a desirable adaptive reuse and to prevent the tragic loss of a complex of this historic significance.


    Pro Se

    Seems like the current owner doesn’t have the resources to take on such a huge project. I don’t blame him/her–few people have access to 5 to 10 million. City Hall should acknowledge this and bring a civil environmental action against the owner for the numerous code violations. If the code violations are addressed, great. If not, the remedy is foreclosure with the property being turned over to the city’s land bank. At that point, the city will be in a position to deed it to someone with a viable plan to transform it. I haven’t checked the Franklin County Municipal Court’s records but I would be shocked if this process hasn’t already started. My only concern is that the city won’t want it in the land bank name because the land bank then has to get it in code and mow the grass or otherwise demolish it.



    Most in the Community see the potential in development of the site and don’t wish to see it demolished if it can be re-purposed.

    Of course, there are those that feel it should be demolished. What they don’t seem to consider is the tremendous cost to demolish a 3+ acre site. The cost of demolition could easily approach or exceed 1/2 a million. I ask those who advocate demolition who should bear this tremendous cost – the City (aka the taxpayers)?

    Aside from obtaining the funding for the development, it is the sale of the property that is the road block that needs to be overcome. The property was purchased in 2003 at a sheriff’s sale for $231K. There have been attempts by developers to negotiate a sale.

    It’s obvious that everyone took a hit with the housing market crash…compound that negative impact on property values with being in close proximity to a site such as this and people would understand why the Community is frustrated.

    The Community really doesn’t care who the developer may be, just that the situation not continue as it has.

    Ownership of property comes with responsibilities. When those responsibilities are unmanageable, it is time for an owner to consider whether the property is an asset or a liability and to act accordingly.


    So whats the deal with the owner? They don’t want to sell they just want to sit on it? Or what they want to get for it is unrealistic? If the later I’d like to see the city take immediate action.



    Market value is the price that the market is willing to bear. So in this economic climate and with the multitude of existing issues, getting significantly more than what was paid in 2003 would seem improbable.

    The owner has more than 70 properties in Franklin County; therefore, one would think that the responsibilities that accompany owning property would be something they would take more seriously.


    Pro Se

    For my part, I do not see any pending environmental cases against this property on the Franklin County Municipal Court’s docket. It might be the case there it is still in the pre-case phase (notice of violation or appeal to Property Maintenance Appeals Board).



    This is the

    Pro Se said:
    Seems like the current owner doesn’t have the resources to take on such a huge project. I don’t blame him/her–few people have access to 5 to 10 million.

    You are exactly right … given the size of the project, the current real estate and financial markets, the advanced deterioration, and the historic qualities of the property … it takes a community effort to redevelop a property like this — no profit-minded private owner would invest the amount of cash needed to redevelop it.

    This neighborhood has been jumping up and down — practically screaming from the rooftops — that Columbus is about to lose another vestige of our historic transportation past — not because of lack of interest, but through neglect. There are no more buildings with the former gradeur of Union Stations, but this facility is the remaining link to our trolley past.

    From a neighborhood’s perspective, it seems to me that this is where the question of whether the $4.5M invested by city council last month as this year’s portion of the $239M subsidy of Nationwide Arena is a better use of scarce public funds than the rehabilitation of this historic property. But that is a question that the public never got to answer, because our completely unaccountable City Council did an end-run around the voters’ previous objections to a publicly-funded arena — opting instead to bail out corporate millionaires and billionaires with $239M in scarce public dollars over the next 27 years.

    There are projects like this in neighborhoods all around the city — blighting influences that could be transformed one-by-one into the crown jewels of Columbus — but every year for the next 27 years, the city has reserved from $4.5 – $7.9M to operate the privately-built and privately-funded arena. This is a question of public resources and public priorities that the citizens of Columbus should have a chance to weigh in on. This is why I support DARE 2B FAIR ( http://www.columbuscoalition.info ):

    District-based governance deserves a vote
    Arena bailouts demand a vote
    Reform of campaign financing
    Enhance public dialogue

    to be

    Fiscally prudent
    Accountable to the citizenry
    Independent minded
    Responsive to the people of Columbus

    If we had District-based representation on council, there would be an institutional advocate who gets respect at the table to advocate for great projects to build great neighborhoods.

    If the council had put the arena bailout to a vote — like it had on 5 previous occasions — the people could decide what our major resource priorities are (we now subsidize a facility for Brittany Spears concerts — a facility to support billionaire owners who lock out millionaire players — yea!).

    If we reformed campaign financing, we would have a marketplace of visions and ideas competing for seats on council — rather than the monolithic groupthink now in place — where everybody on council was appointed by council and had their campaigns largely funded by the president of council, so they do what he wants.

    If we had enhanced public dialogue, citizens would have public access television to share their thoughts, and council would not prohibit people who address the council on non-agenda items from being televised with all the agenda items on CTV-3. In other words, we could actually have a thoughtful community discussion on these and other items of civic importance, rather than being force-fed what the Dispatch, downtown real estate magnate and co-owner of the Blue Jackets, and owner of almost all things published in central Ohio — wants us to talk about.

    Our democracy is severely compromised, and the continually deteriorating presence of the Franklin Park Trolley Barn stands as a stark example of that fact. DARE 2B FAIR at http://www.columbuscoalition.info
    n’t people had a vote on arenas are just as vital to



    Snarf said:
    So whats the deal with the owner? They don’t want to sell they just want to sit on it? Or what they want to get for it is unrealistic? If the later I’d like to see the city take immediate action.

    Just plain greedy.

    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans

    Another hope that it is not demolished. Too bad that when you buy an old property you aren’t also forced to sign a document that you will take care of it and be held accountable for it!



    Anne said:
    Another hope that it is not demolished. Too bad that when you buy an old property you aren’t also forced to sign a document that you will take care of it and be held accountable for it!

    Amen sister

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