The Columbus City Council approved a plan that could recreate a neighborhood southeast of Ohio State’s campus.
Roughly 40 people were present at the first part of the city council meeting on Monday to see a new member of the council announced. There were about half as many people in the room when the zoning meeting began. No one there dissented the decision to approve Campus Partners’ plan for the area near OSU.
The Campus Gateway Phase II plan will allow for the redevelopment of more than seven acres of land in the area of Weinland Park bordered by East Ninth Avenue, Section Alley, North High Street and Euclid Avenue.
Council president Andrew Ginther said after the city council meeting that many students are introduced to Columbus through OSU’s campus, so improvements to the surrounding area are likely to help attract and retain young professionals.
According to the plan, buildings facing North High Street in the redeveloped area would be
used for both commercial and residential purposes, while those not facing the street would be
used for exclusively residential purposes.
The plan would 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 also states that public spaces in the redeveloped area would include trees along the streets, spaces for outdoor cafes and signage to reinforce the idea of the area as a popular destination for shopping and social gatherings.
But some commercial uses — including hookah bars, pawn shops, repossession services and automobile sales — are to be excluded from the redeveloped area, the plan said.
The plan was created by Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, a private nonprofit corporation that works on neighborhood planning in the OSU campus area.
“A lot of pieces of High Street adjacent to campus have been improving, and this is a gap that we’re excited to be filling in,” said Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners, after the vote. “I think that it’s a segment of High Street that has needed improvement.”
She said Campus Partners wants to create something that could “contribute to the neighborhood for a very long time.”
“To have a project of this size in the campus area is unusual in and of itself,” Mike
Shannon, the attorney working with Campus Partners who briefed the city council on the details of the plan at the meeting, said after the vote.
Shannon said Campus Partners worked closely with people in the community as it developed the plan. “Most of the time, there’s opposition coming from somewhere,” Shannon said.
Hoffsis said she expects the new development to help reduce crime in the area, as there will be more lighting and more people around. She said Campus Partners will begin looking at possible developers for the property this week and will likely continue that search for more than a month.
Hoffsis said Campus Partners purchased its first properties in the area to serve as lay-down space for construction equipment during the construction of the Gateway Center and continued to take advantages of opportunities over the years as land was for sale.
Erin Prosser, Campus Partners director of community relations, said after the vote that Campus Partners worked hard to make sure that improvements were not just for people who earn higher incomes. “People see improvement and make that assumption that it’s gentrification,” Prosser said.
She said many of the properties in the area bought by Campus Partners were vacant, and that people don’t need to move out of Weinland Park in order for other people to move in. “It’s a time when people are beginning to think of Weinland Park as a neighborhood, as
opposed to just streets,” Hoffsis said.