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NRI Envisions Mixed-Use Development for Broad Street Site in Franklinton

Walker Evans Walker Evans NRI Envisions Mixed-Use Development for Broad Street Site in FranklintonThe old Byers Chevrolet building — photo by Walker Evans.
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In May, Nationwide Realty Investors made some waves when it was revealed that the development company known best for creating the Arena District and Grandview Yard had purchased the old Byers Chevrolet site in Franklinton. While the Arena District and Grandview Yard sites are both 100-acre master planning efforts, NRI President Brian Ellis sees the company’s involvement in Franklinton taking an entirely different approach.

“East Franklinton is not at all like the the Arena District or Grandview Yard,” he said in a recent interview with Columbus Underground. “In those cases we were able to assemble and control large parcels, but here we’ll be one of many developers. And that’s a great thing, because Franklinton is a neighborhood where there are many different people who are all in the same boat, and who are all rowing towards a good resolve.”

The Byers Chevrolet site is still under contract with NRI, as the automotive dealer is working towards a relocation to Grove City in late 2014 or early 2015. Ellis says that they will close on the property after the move, and they have no specific plans to announce for the eight-acre site just yet, but stated that they will be working within the parameters of the East Franklinton Plan, which calls for denser development on Broad Street with a larger focus upon the creative community.

“It’s important for us to create amenities that people within the neighborhood can utilize and walk to, and I think a big part of that is going to occur on Broad Street,” he explained. “We want it to be beneficial to the neighborhood but for things like restaurants to succeed, they also need to capture that traffic on Broad and bring them in.”

Ellis said that their plans are likely to take the form of a mixed-use residential development where housing units are more likely to be “cost-effective” if the market dictates that.

“From a motivational standpoint, we think that East Franklinton an important neighborhood and one that has potential,” added Ellis. “There’s a lot of good things that are going on there already, so we want to be a part of that, and be a partner with the city and the other developers working there to help rejuvenate that neighborhood. To a large degree, this is a community-oriented investment decision for us.”

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