The Columbus City Council is scheduled to discuss a plan that could recreate the neighborhood southeast of Ohio State’s campus this week.
If passed on Monday, the Campus Gateway Phase II plan would allow for the redevelopment of more than seven acres of land in the area of Weinland Park, bordered by East Ninth and Euclid avenues, and Section Alley and North High Street.
The plan will provide commercial space for retail, office and restaurant uses, and up to 500 dwelling units. Of the 500 units, up to 145 units will be three to four bedroom units with the remaining spaces being one to two bedrooms, the plan states.
The plan also says buildings facing North High Street in the redeveloped area would be used for commercial and residential purposes, while those not facing the street would be used for apartments.
Meanwhile, public spaces in the redeveloped area would contain large street trees, spaces for outdoor cafes and signage to reinforce the idea of the area as a popular destination for shopping and social gatherings.
The plan was created by Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, a private nonprofit corporation that works on community planning in the campus area alongside OSU and the city of Columbus.
Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners, said there are no construction dates set yet.
“It is premature to discuss a date for construction prior to the city council reviewing the plan. I can tell you, before any work could begin, we will need to select a developer and work through designs,” she said in an email.
Hoffsis said that Campus Partners has been acquiring land in the subject area for more than a decade.
Last summer, OSU gave a $855,000 grant to help with the overall $1.1 million purchase of Kelly’s Carryout at 1521 N. 4th St. and D&J Carryout at 1395 N. 4th St. to help combat crime in the off-campus area.
Without a developer selected for the Campus Gateway Phase II project, the price of future housing in the area might be in question.
“It may be priced beyond the reach of many students,” said Colin Odden, OSU Council of Graduate Students’ appointee to the University Area Commission. “Campus Partners described what they envision for this project as a young professional product.”
The University Area Commission is a community advisory body concerned with the area around OSU, according to its website.
Odden, a graduate student in sociology, said the term young professional isn’t necessarily inclusive of students.
Brandyn McElroy, president of Weinland Park Community Civic Association, said people can expect the housing in the area of redevelopment to be a little bit more expensive than typical off-campus housing. He said currently, Weinland park contains the highest concentration of subsidized housing in the state of Ohio.
Hoffsis did not respond by Sunday to a Thursday email asking what she thinks the housing prices in the area will be like.
Odden said the unchanging student demographic in the OSU area prevents some change in the neighborhood.
“Students are what give the university area some resistance to rapid gentrification,” Odden said.
The Campus Gateway Phase II plan states some commercial uses are to be excluded from the area, including hookah bars, pawn shops, repossession services and automobile sales.
“These exclusions were requested by the community — specifically the University Area Commission Zoning Committee and leadership of the Weinland Park Community Civic Association,” Hoffsis said.
McElroy said because Campus Partners is not necessarily going to be the developer of the land, it is important to community members to be able to prevent things they do not want from moving in.
“It was extremely important to include the community in this planning process, which is why we’ve worked very closely with community members over the course of the public approval process,” Hoffsis said.
After the renovation, people will hopefully be more driven to move to the Weinland Park area, McElory said.
“People are going to say, ‘Oh wow, Weinland Park is a place I want to be,’” he said. McElory described it as a “very walkable community.”
But that might not always been the case.
Violent crime and robberies have been a consistent problem in Weinland Park, but numbers have dropped in recent years. The number of assaults in Weinland Park saw a decrease to 244 in 2011 from 732 in 1998, and the number of robberies decreased to 76 in 2011 from 135 in 1998, according to the 2013 progress report of the Weinland Park Collaborative.
Some OSU students said they feel unsafe in the Weinland Park area currently.
“I was actually walking back past that area past downtown on Thursday and thought, ‘Yeah, we probably should not walk through this area,’” said David Shoffstall, a second-year in finance.
He said he sees the appeal of the proposed redeveloping. And he isn’t alone.
“I think it’s a great addition,” said Kathryn Kaltenmark, a second-year in biomedical engineering.
She said if she were to move into the area, “my only concern would be safety, and kinda like, what kind of community that place would have.”