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Proposal Would Transform Area Around Third and High in the Short North

Brent Warren Brent Warren Proposal Would Transform Area Around Third and High in the Short NorthRendering by Rod Artor.
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Big changes could be on the way for yet another section of the High Street corridor in the Short North.

A conceptual proposal from Corso Ventures calls for a nine-story building on the lot currently occupied by Montecristo House of Cigar, located at 1088 N. High St. The project also incorporates the former church building to the south, as well as a handful of surrounding parcels.

A rendering of the concept shows a second new building to the east of the church; a five-story structure with parking on the first two floors.

The rendering and an outline of the proposal were provided by Chris Corso, the local real estate developer and restauranteur who brought Standard Hall to the former Little Brother’s building that neighbors the site to the north.

Corso also recently proposed building a five-story development on the Yoga on High site across the street, and has floated plans to renovate the collection of buildings to the north of Standard Hall.

The latest proposal will be submitted to the Italian Village Commission for a conceptual review — meaning no vote on the project will be taken — on July 18th.

“We’re trying to get some neighborhood feedback,” said Corso. “This is just one vision of how we’re trying to bring some density to the area. It could take the form of apartments, condos, a hotel, offices, or a multi-use building… there’s still a lot of moving parts and multiple property owners involved.”

The rough numbers for the project at this early point call for about 30,000 square feet of retail, 40,000 square feet of restaurant or bar space, 8,000 square feet of office space and over 200 apartment units.

Corso said that the parking garage in the building on East Third Avenue would contain some public spaces, although how many has not been determined.

“Parking is an issue, but it’s a different issue for Millennials,” Corso said. “They Uber, and they ride the bus. We open up the lot across the street from Standard Hall on the weekends and maybe 20 cars park there… and on a busy Saturday night we’ll have 1,000 people in and out.”

The success of Standard Hall has played a roll in Corso’s approach to the proposal, particularly when it comes to the changing perceptions of the northern end of the Short North.

“I’ve been down there for ten years waiting for things to happen,” Corso said. “Just a year ago we couldn’t even get a tenant to consider the area…they said it was never going to develop because it was too far north. When we opened Standard Hall, we put together a pro forma that was set up with the idea that it would be making very little money, but customers have come out of the woodwork and now it’s one of the most busy places in the area.”

NorthSteppe Realty — a local company with a large portfolio of rental properties, many of them in the University District — owns the former church building at the northeast corner of High and Third. The building has been home to the Short Stop Youth Center, run by Directions for Youth and Families, for many years.

“We’ve been working to figure out that corner,” said Corso, adding that NorthSteppe has expressed interest in “figuring out how to maintain that type of historic building and improve that space.”

As for what the new development may mean for the future of Short Stop, or for Montecristo, Corso stressed that nothing will be changing any time soon, and that the proposal is still purely conceptual at this point.

“We’re really just interested in getting some ideas out there,” he said. “Hopefully other business owners and developers come to the table, but we’re willing to take the lead on it and see if we can get interest going.”

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