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Whats the word on OTE?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Q&A Whats the word on OTE?

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    Currently I am living in STL, my boyfriend and myself recently visited Columbus and fell in love. We found a house for sale we really like but it seems ‘too good to be true’. It’s in Olde Towne East, on the corner of S. Ohio Ave and Fair Ave, by S. Champion in the 100 block. I’ve looked at the street view and it looks like a decent area and was rated to be one of the up and coming areas and an overall favorite. But I couldn’t help but notice there were a few boarded up houses, and that usually means nothing good. I’ve read it was ‘spotty’. Does anyone recommend living here? Why or why not?



    I suggest watching the PBS documentary Flag Wars. That was filmed 12 years ago about the transition of OTE, but the area is still waiting to reach the gentrification anticipated back then. The people who gambled on gentrification in 2003 may still be there waiting for it to happen. Socio-economically, it’s a mixed bag, but IMHO it is on the upswing. If you’re willing to live in a transitional neighborhood, that is probably one of the better ones to get into in Columbus (Weinland Park and Merion Village being others). Realistically, those boarded up houses are probably not going to completely disappear for another 5, 10, or possibly 15 years. If you are intersted in crime statistics, check the Columbus Police Crime Statistic Map. It all comes down to your lifestyle. It’s probably not the best neighborhood to raise a family (most City neighborhoods are seen that way due to the public school school system), but if you’re a young bohemian couple it might work for you. Just remember you get what you pay for. If it seems like a deal too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. There aren’t too many “unbelievable deals” in the current Columbus housing market.

    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans

    I suggest watching the PBS documentary Flag Wars. That was filmed 12 years ago about the transition of OTE…

    It’s a cool documentary, and certainly an important topic, but I’d suggest taking it with a grain of salt rather than as some sort of newcomer’s handbook to the neighborhood. It’s not exactly current being over a decade old, and I felt while watching it that a lot of the film’s central issues (gays versus blacks!) revolved around specific conflicts related to just a few individuals in the area. Certainly not an accurate portrayal of how everyone who lives in the area feels about their neighbors and their neighborhood.

    …but the area is still waiting to reach the gentrification anticipated back then. Socio-economically, it’s a mixed bag, but IMHO it is on the upswing.

    I agree that OTE is a mixed-bag, entirely due to the fact that it’s a very large area. It’s even bigger if you consider the “Franklin Park” area to be a sub-neighborhood of OTE, which many people do (though everyone in Franklin Park will tell you it’s separate). ;)

    So what you end up with is an area where boarded-up properties can still be found mixed in with $900,000 mansions like this one. There’s a very diverse range of housing and apartment stock and a diverse range of people inhabiting homes in all of the Near East Side neighborhoods, which is what I think is appealing about the area.

    Certainly, it’s more of a residential area though, compared to the Short North, University District, Bexley or 5xNW. It has a select few number of great places to eat and drink, but nowhere near the number you’ll find elsewhere, and not much in the way of non-food retail. So you’ll have to venture outside the area for most errands and/or shopping needs, which isn’t really too far.


    For the money, you really can’t do any better than Olde Towne East. Most of the historic houses are large and sturdy, built with high quality materials. Many have decent yard space and room for a detached garage. Some streets are much nicer than others – the single family houses are being fixed-up much more rapidly than the multi-family and retail buildings. There are not good public school options in the neighborhood – you will want to go with alternative or private schools if you choose to have kids.

    The neighborhood is headed up; just don’t expect a Starbucks or even a Kroger anytime soon. And you don’t need to be a bohemian to live in the ‘hood – many of my neighbors are 9-5 professional types.


    OTE has the best architectural interest to value ratio of anywhere in Columbus.

    Not that Tom
    Not that Tom

    nobody should buy a house in OTE.

    or rather, not until I buy MY house in the neighborhood, and then home values can subsequently rise :-)

    I’ve been a renter in OTE for the last 3 years – absolutely love it here. Never had a crime problem myself



    If you buy that house, I’ll be a stone’s throw away.

    The vacant house behind the one you’re looking at needs torn down. I don’t think it’s salvageable. On that section of Fair (between Champion & Ohio), there are 2-3 other vacant houses. One is being renovated. Another one was bought with renovation in mind but nothing has started.

    I’ve lived there 2.5 years. It was a total circus when I first moved in – and not one of those good circuses. Thankfully, the little group of apartments nearby was sold & the dealers, junkies, etc were kicked out. The apartment down the block on Champion that was the scene of 2 drive-bys, among other things, is closed up. The house across the street from me that had been busted for meth and/or crack manufacturing is also shut down. With those improvements, the neighborhood is a LOT quieter.

    That said, I woke up at midnight last night to the sound of 5-6 gunshots that sounded like they came from my porch. No dead bodies anywhere. So, that’s a plus.

    Still, the neighborhood is on the upswing. There are very good deals to be had if you’re buying. But it will be awhile before the vacant homes are filled & other improvements are made.

    TL/DR = if just boarded up houses nearby give you pause, this particular neighborhood is probably not for you. It’s getting better but still has problems. I don’t regret buying here and I was literally surrounded by the problems I mentioned above (and knew what I was getting into).

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