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Gravity 2.0 Proposal Calls for 12-Story Building, Co-Living Apartments

Brent Warren Brent Warren Gravity 2.0 Proposal Calls for 12-Story Building, Co-Living ApartmentsRenderings via NBBJ, Hollwich Kushner and Acock Associates.
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Kaufman Development is bringing an ambitious plan for West Broad Street to the East Franklinton Review Board this afternoon. The development would sit on about five acres directly across from the company’s Gravity project, which is currently under construction.

It would feature four new buildings, including a 12-story office and residential building at the northeast corner of the parcel, a five-story parking garage in the middle of the block, and a five-story residential building on the southern end of the site, facing West State Street.

The proposal also calls for a new, six-story addition to the existing building at the corner of McDowell Street and Broad, the former Murphy Company building. The new portion would replace a more recent addition to the large, warehouse-style building that extends to the south.

Brett Kaufman, CEO of Kaufman Development, said that the former warehouse could hold more additional office space or could be end up with a more entertainment-driven use like a brewery or food hall. An existing building at the corner of State and McDowell will also be preserved and could hold a restaurant or similar use.

“We thought that rather than spread density around the entire site, we’d use what’s there and create height in areas that made sense,” said Kaufman, referring to the 12-story building proposed to be built right next to the railroad tracks. “It’s not blocking any neighbors… and we wanted to continue to maintain the character of buildings on the site – there’s not much there, it’s mostly vacant – but what is there here can add some value.”

A presentation submitted to the city in advance of today’s meeting shows the parking garage with a green roof and a “city view overlook” area on its eastern edge. Also planned for the garage is an “art walk” through the ground floor that Kaufman said is still conceptual. Townhouses would wrap the western edge of the garage on the McDowell Street side.

The space in between the two new buildings along Broad Street is shown as a landscaped retail plaza featuring stacked shipping containers.

“We’re exploring, we’re taking bits and pieces of things we’re seeing from all over the world and we’re incorporating them into the project…we’re getting inspired and then also coming up with some of our own ideas,” said Kaufman.

The design team for the project includes NBBJ, Hollwich Kushner and Acock Associates Architects.

“We’ve always hoped we would be able to expand Gravity beyond the first project, and throughout the neighborhood,” said Kaufman. “We’ve been fortunate enough to assemble some land immediately adjacent to it, and we’re  excited to see it start to move forward.”

About half of the site is controlled by Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI), which Kaufman said they have an agreement in place to acquire. The other half was recently bought by Kaufman Development for $2.2 million, according to the Franklin County Auditor’s website.

Kaufman said he is hopeful the project can offer “a variety of product at varying levels of affordability,” citing specifically the proposed building on State Street, which would offer co-living options. That means some of the apartments would share a bathroom while others would feature shared living areas or kitchens.

“Like student housing, but targeted toward creatives and people interested in having a communal experience,” he said, adding that the price points on the co-living apartments would be similar to that of existing workforce housing in the neighborhood.

Kaufman said that the first office space in Gravity is scheduled to open next month, with retail moving in before the end of the year and the first residents some time in early 2019.

As for the new plans for the land south of Broad Street, “we need to work with the review board and continue to work with the city and the neighborhood – we’ll have lots of work to do getting the buildings designed and started – but we’re hoping to get to a start line as fast as we can.”

Renderings via NBBJ, Hollwich Kushner and Acock Associates.

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