New Plan for Trolley Barn Site Calls for “East Market,” Restaurants and Apartments
A Columbus Brewing Company tap room, a new concept from the owner of Ray Ray’s and an “East Market” could all be part of a new plan to revive the deteriorating brick buildings that were once used to store and repair trolleys at the northeast corner of Oak Street and Kelton Avenue on the Near East Side.
Apartments are also tentatively planned for the empty lot across Oak Street from the trolley barn site, although developer Brad DeHays of Connect Realty stressed that nothing is set in stone, and likely won’t be until the state announces in December if the project is approved for historic tax credits.
“We are going to continue to work with the neighborhood once we know that we have a financially viable project,” he said. “The state tax credits are an important step in that process.”
DeHays bought the three-acre trolley barn site in 2014, performing an environmental assessment of it in 2015. He has held back on outlining a detailed plan for the land in that time, but has kept busy with a number of other historic tax credit projects, including the Municipal Light Plant on Nationwide Boulevard, a Long Street parking garage, and a collection of buildings at the corner of Long and Front streets.
“Along with the state tax credits, we also need to continue to gain input from the city due to this being a critical component of Columbus’ history,” DeHays said. “Our core focus is to provide a service to the existing community with the market component and to provide green and healthy foods to what is currently an under-serviced area.”
A formal plan for the apartments has yet to be taken to the Near East Area Commission, although DeHays said he has discussed it with the chair of the commission, and with the city.
“We’ll probably take it to the commission in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “The tenants that we have committed to this, they need the density in order to move there…so the apartment component is very necessary to make the historic redevelopment possible.”
He added that there is enough space across the two parcels to accommodate parking in surface lots for all users, including residents of the apartments. Preliminary plans call for as many as 78 units on the 1.5-acre lot.