The New “Pen West” Downtown Neighborhood Begins to Take Shape
Borror Prorperties unveiled their newest project last Thursday, which includes a mix of office space and apartment units slated for the far west end of Nationwide Boulevard in an expansion area of The Arena District that some have dubbed “Pen West”. While Borror’s five-and-a-half acre development proposal is impressive in size, it’s actually just one smaller piece of that undeveloped corner of Downtown Columbus. Nationwide Realty Investors also owns a 25 acre parcel that was once slated as the site of the Hollywood Casino, and the old Municipal Light Plant buildings located on the south side of Nationwide Boulevard have been sold to Connect Realty and Schiff Capital for redevelopment.
“We think the whole area is coming along great,” said Steven Schoeny, Development Director for The City of Columbus. “We’re very pleased to see what Borror is working on, and I think it will interface well with future development on the site. Architecturally, I think it will work well and they’re taking time to make sure the pieces will play well together.”
As for what the future of the rest of the site holds, Schoeny says that NRI has indicated that residential development has been planned for their large plot of land, but he said he wouldn’t be surprised if that changes.
“I don’t want to speak for NRI, but they do a great job of being both plan-focused while also being flexible in terms of changes in the market,” he explained.
Today, the City of Columbus currently has several small buildings on the site that Borror plans to purchase, and Schoeny said that the city has through the end of the year to relocate those facilities to a new spot on McKinley Avenue. The area, known as the “Old Central Outpost” was home to storage barns, salt barns and equipment used for boarding up abandoned houses. In the future, a portion of the land will become a new park greenspace.
“We’re partnering with the Department of Rec and Parks as well as our friends with NRI, Borror and Connect Realty to have a park there along the river so we can have some green space built into that neighborhood,” said Schoeny. He added that while the park is still in a very early stage, extra consideration is being given to trail access, which could connect the site to the walking and biking path that runs north toward OSU and south into Downtown.
“It’s something we’re going to study and see if we can figure it out — it’s something we don’t have figured out today,” added Schoeny. “There’s a lot of potential, so we have to see what direct connections we can make. Either way, folks certainly can connect east through Arena District. It’s not like it’s miles off from the rest of Downtown.”
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Renderings via Borror Properties / Berardi+Partners.