Mixed-Use Project Moving Forward in Olde Towne East
A new proposal for the southeast corner of Oak Street and South Ohio Avenue will add a major mixed-use element to already-approved plans for residential construction on the north side of the street. Together, the projects promise to completely transform the Olde Towne East intersection.
The Columbus Food Hub, a small business incubator that facilitated the rise of restaurants like Hot Chicken Takeover and J Hot Fish – among many others – will likely close for good in the next few months, as plans for the project move forward.
The owner of the food hub, Allen Scott, confirmed that he has agreed to sell, and said that he has no plans to continue the business in another location.
“I’m not happy that people will get displaced,” he said, adding that the Columbus Food Hub has about 30 small businesses as clients, all of whom have been notified of the coming changes. “It’s your employees and clients that make you who you are, and they will have to find other places, so in that respect, it’s sad…but on other hand I have been doing this for 25 years – and I’m getting up there – so I’m looking forward to a new chapter.”
Scott said that he will have a small ownership stake in the new project. The majority partners in the development are Gallas Zadeh Development and Mulberry, the same team behind the condos planned for the north side of Oak Street, as well as a 15-unit project at the corner of Ohio Avenue and Bryden Road.
The plan for the corner calls for a three-story, warehouse-style building that would require the demolition of the Columbus Food Hub building as well as the house next door. In addition to 22 apartments, the building would feature multiple first-floor storefronts.
To the south, the existing United Provision building would be renovated into a restaurant space, complete with a rooftop terrace. A two-story duplex would be built on the south side of Elliot Alley.
A surface parking lot to the east of the main building would provide 24 off-street parking spaces, while the duplex units would each have private garages.
The zoning variances required to build the project – including one for parking – were approved by the Near East Area Commission by a 10-to-one vote in March, but City Council has yet to vote on the proposal.
Mark Inks, Principal of Mulberry, said in a release that construction is scheduled to begin by late summer. The new project is being called The Gemma, while the 19 for-sale units being built on the north side of Oak Street have been dubbed The Morgan.