Plan to Transform Block of Parsons Avenue Moving Forward
A plan to transform a cluster of run-down buildings on Parsons Avenue into a “cultural hub” is moving ahead after receiving support from multiple neighborhood groups. The buildings, located at 677 to 681 Parsons, have long been vacant but once held an assortment of businesses, ranging from a tire shop to an adult bookstore.
Plans for the development include a co-working space, a restaurant, a brewery, and additional office space. The co-working space will be run by Brianne DeRolph and Killian McIlroy of Sidecar Creatives, and the office space will house Compton Construction.
Compton CEO Blake Compton has teamed up with DeRolph and McIlroy to pursue the project under the name Sidestreet Development.
After receiving yes votes from the Schumacher Neighborhood Association and the South Side Area Commission, Compton said that his team is now in the process of securing permits and producing construction drawings. The co-working and office spaces will be the first phase of the project, and could be completed by late spring.
The restaurant and brewery spaces will be “white-boxed,” ready for tenants to build out to their specifications during the second phase of the project.
Letters of intent have been signed by two businesses hoping to occupy those spaces, but the Sidestreet team is holding off on an announcement until the leases are finalized.
“We’re excited, but we know things change,” said Compton.
“The courtyard is what originally drew us to the property, that common outdoor space,” said DeRolph. “And with the green space, the high celings, the open space, we thought it could definitely work for a brewery.”
“The outdoor spaces will be an asset for the businesses, of course, but we also want it to feel like the community has access to that,” added McIroy. “We hope to be hosting different community events year-round.”
Because the outdoor spaces will be utilized as courtyards and patios, no parking will be provided on site. Arrangements have been made with Aetna Integrated Services, which has an office across the street with excess parking, to provide spaces for the new businesses. Zoning variances for the project still need to be approved by City Council, but the team has been encouraged by the positive reception thus far from the neighborhood.
They’ve named the development East Public, after the original name for Parsons Avenue.
“We want this to be a cultural hub, and we’re looking to the neighborhood’s history for inspiration,” said McIlroy. “There’s a passion within this community to maintain the character that exists, and I think that’s one reason why we had the support that we did.”
Bob Leighty, Executive Director of the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association, is excited to see the development come to fruition. “The East Public project is a wonderful addition to Parsons Avenue,” he said. “We’re thrilled to welcome each of these new entrepreneurs and their businesses to the South Side.”
Compton said that they hope to appeal to residents on both sides of the avenue. “There’s an eclectic, diverse group of people on the South Side, and Parsons brings them all together,” he said, adding that “these are buildings that are asking to be revitalized and opened back up.”
The trio hopes that East Public is only the first of many projects for their new development company. The focus will be on rehabbing older buildings, and they are casting a wide net, looking in a variety of Columbus neighborhoods.
“Our passion is in re-using old buildings,” said McIlroy, “and our hope is that this inspires others to do similar projects.”
All renderings via Sidestreet Development LLC.