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Project Update: Mount Carmel West Development in Franklinton

Brent Warren Brent Warren Project Update: Mount Carmel West Development in FranklintonDemolition of the former hospital buildings at Mount Carmel West will continue into next year. Photos by Brent Warren.
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Construction is scheduled to start this spring on 14 single family homes along a one-block stretch of South Hartford Avenue, on land formerly used as a parking lot for Mount Carmel West. At the southern end of the block, on State Street, a four-unit townhome building is planned.

The new homes will mark the first new construction on the campus since Mount Carmel Health System announced its plan to relocate the hospital on the site from Franklinton to Grove City.

Demolition of the main hospital buildings is ongoing and will continue into the spring or early summer of 2020, according to Mount Carmel officials. Further clearing of the site to ready it for development will likely extend into late summer or fall, at which time work could start on the first new buildings in the central part of the campus.

Plans for that area – a roughly five-acre piece of land east of Souder Avenue and south of Mt Carmel Mall – have not been completely finalized, although we now know that market-rate apartments will fill at least a portion of that space.

Across from the new apartments will be a new park, occupying the block to the west of Souder Avenue, between State and Town streets. More single family homes and townhomes will be built to the west of the new park, along Hartford Avenue.

A map showing the phases of planned development, as well as the existing buildings that will remain. Courtesy of Mount Carmel Health System.

Thrive Companies – formerly Wagenbrenner Development – was selected earlier this year to lead the redevelopment efforts. Steve Bollinger, Partner & VP of Development at Thrive, recently updated Columbus Underground on the latest plans for the area.

He explained that two of the single family homes planned for Hartford Avenue will be built on land donated by Mount Carmel, and will be sold at below-market prices. An additional eight affordable homes will be built on vacant lots in the surrounding neighborhood. Work is scheduled to start soon on the first of those homes, which will remain affordable to future home-buyers as part of the recently-established Central Ohio Community Land Trust.

“The city and county have done a great job of acquiring all these parcels and working to provide that long-term affordability,” said Bollinger, who added that the company’s current work in Franklinton has been informed by its experience in Weinland Park, where a lease-to-purchase program was used early on to provide access to affordable housing. “That was great, but after 10 to 15 years, it doesn’t do anything to prevent someone from selling at market price, and then the home is no longer affordable” 

Bollinger said that Mount Carmel provided a $1.5 million low-interest loan to kick-start the 10-home pilot project, and that he’s hopeful the program can continue beyond those first homes.

On the eastern side of the campus, the Mount Carmel College of Nursing will remain, and may actually be expanding, pending the completion of its own planning process.

“We envision the College of Nursing as being an integrated part of the development, while also leaving them physical room for whatever the next step may be,” said Jason Koma, Regional Director for Government Affairs and Regional Development for Mount Carmel Health System.

A new stand-alone emergency department opened last spring at 120 S. Green St., and community programing and health services will continue to be offered at the existing building at 777 W. State St.

Plans for the former Graham Ford site on West Broad Street, purchased earlier this year by The Pizzuti Companies, have yet to be revealed.

Mount Carmel also leases space for primary care services in the renovated, four-story building at 775 W. Broad St., which now holds the Fortuity call center.

Brett Justice, Mount Carmel’s Senior VP for Strategy and System Development, said that the goal is to continue to focus on the organization’s own areas of expertise, “while also trying to…help integrate and facilitate the growth of the entire area.”

“Our intention is to be thorough and thoughtful,” he added, “staying true to the results of our community engagement.”

A close-up view of the demolition.
Dirt piled on a parking lot that will eventually get developed with houses and townhomes.
This parking lot at Capital Street and Hartford Avenue will be the first to see new construction.
Existing parking garages on the site will remain and will support future development.
775 W. Broad St.
Looking north along Souder Avenue.
The new emergency department at 120 S. Green St.
A view of the Mount Carmel College of Nursing.
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