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Students skeptical of Campus Partners’ redevelopment plan

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Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners
Credit: Courtesy of Campus Partners

Campus Partners bought Long’s Bookstore in 2000, nearly a century after it first opened. Since that point, the community-planning corporation has bought other properties while working on a long-term master plan of the area.

Details of that master plan were unveiled Friday, and would involve a redevelopment of more than 9 acres around 15th Avenue and High Street.

Campus Partners, along with local property owners, aims to tear down the building that currently houses Brenen’s Cafe, Jimmy John’s and The O Patio & Pub, replacing them with a public square.

Campus Partners President Amanda Hoffsis said she envisions a “really beautiful public square that you would find anywhere in Europe.”

Her company doesn’t own that property, but Hoffsis said they are “currently working on” it for the future.

The plan also aims to construct a parking garage to service the entire area and flank the public square with shops and a “signature building,” currently planned to be a hotel.

Campus Partners wants that hotel to become a “district icon” by providing a “terminating vista on axis with the campus spine that connects 15th Avenue and High Street to the William Oxley Thompson Library,” according to the plan.

Ben Brown, a third-year in East Asian studies, said he isn’t a fan of that idea.

“There’s enough hotels around here, I don’t think they need to put another hotel right there,” he said.

Before any of these major changes can happen, though, Campus Partners will need to get the city to rezone the area. Currently, the properties are split between commercial and residential zones, and need to be rezoned as a “commercial planned district,” Hoffsis said Friday.

That rezoning would allow for more freedom in planning, including the parking garage and a mixed use of buildings for retail, residential and office locations.

All property owners within the area outlined for rezoning have signed onto the plan. Hoffsis said the rezoning process, expected to last through the end of the summer, will reveal what actions Campus Partners is allowed to take.

The community will have an opportunity to be involved in the public rezoning process, according to a press release, which added that “plans envision a high-quality pedestrian environment.”

Toos Spirits Under High, a bar located in the area, said in a Friday tweet that it would be closing.

“We had a great run…Couldn’t have done it without you guys,” the bar tweeted from its account, @ToosUnderHigh.

It sent out a tweet later that evening, though, that said, “Don’t worry we’re not going out without a fight! #savetoos.”

Social media responded after the Friday announcements, with some students lamenting the closure of businesses and some using the hashtag #savetoos.

Halle Flate, a first-year in biology, expressed concern that the changes will negatively affect the student experience.

“As I get older, I’d rather have the places that have been here because it’s tradition. As a freshman, I would like to experience that as well, and I don’t want to have construction there during my four years here,” she said.

If rezoning is approved, developments would begin independently of Campus Partners when property owners secure financing to contract construction. Because Campus Partners will not be the developer, there is no timeline for rollout of the different projects.

Campus Partners, formed in 1995, is a private community planning corporation that works to revitalize OSU’s off-campus neighborhoods.

The announcement comes about a week after the university also put out a request for proposals on a project to revamp the OSU arts district opposite that intersection.

That project aims to create a plaza near the Wexner Center for the Arts and move the theater department, which is currently housed in the Drake Performance and Event Center, closer to High Street, and also includes plans for renovations to Weigel Hall, Mershon Auditorium and the Wexner Center.

While Hoffsis said she believes the two plans will complement one another, and described the timing as a “happy coincidence,” she said both plans have moved forward independently of one another.

Campus Partners’ other major work has been the South Campus Gateway, which opened in 2005. In recent years, the Gateway has struggled with stability as a rolodex of businesses have come and gone.

Robert Scarpinito contributed to this article.

13 comments

  1. for Keith Myers and his cronies… way to sell off everything we have to private developers Board of Trustees.

  2. This is an absolute travesty to the Ohio State community. What good do they think a park will do to the off campus area at the expense of local business and arguably 2 of the most popular bars on campus?! This “public square” will become a camp ground for the off campus homeless population that already plagues the benches of high street and will soon be littered with broken glass and beer cans. This is the vision of naive adults who wish to tear down the tradition of long standing businesses in their weak attempts to “revitalize” the campus. I am truly saddened and ashamed of what will be happening to the campus I love so much.

  3. In my opinion, this is not “community planning”. This is social engineering. They want to control High Street businesses so they may control what students have for food, entertainment and shopping choices. The goal is to turn the area into an elitist one, thus changing the type of student that attends the University. They are not interested in a “melting pot” of students with diverse socio-economic backgrounds and ideas.

  4. Death to O-Fratio? Count me in. That area is a breeding area for frat kids.

  5. Engineering Student

    I am paying for my education and acquirement of knowledge here at OSU, not for some liberals and hippies to enjoy their ‘social life’ around our campus in their gentrified urban communities.
    It is frustrating to see my tuition dollars going to be wasted directly by those liberals who are happy to spend others’ money instead of updating equipment in our engineering lab.

  6. So does this meant that Chumley’s is closing as well?!

  7. what happens to the bums that hang out along High street. And where will all the garbage and wind blown trash end up? That side of the street is a sewer

  8. A hotel is a terrible idea

  9. That area used to be a good place for students to hang out and decompress after class (Flying Tomato) or get supplies/books (Longs). Not sure how tearing down good businesses and replacing them with hotels fits the charter “revitalize OSU’s off-campus neighborhoods”. If Campus Partners was doing revitalization, it would provide alternative apartments to the slum lord’s apartments E. of High St or provide more parking. They also had a hand in turning all the bars on High to big box stores so now students have to drink and drive to hit the bars instead of walking.

  10. this is going to destroy the senior bar crawl which is a fun tradition. i feel bad for everyone who is going to be here during and after this redevelopment. we dont need another hotel and a “public square,” which would be useless in the winter anyway and is the season that takes up most of the school year.

  11. I feel complety betrayed and if I wanted to go to an arrogant “elitist” university I would have applied to that school up north!

  12. The Real Ohio State, Inc (tm)

    To Senior:

    “I feel bad for everyone who is going to be here during and after this redevelopment”.

    The same thing was written/said when Campus Partners destroyed the South Campus bars. At least Papa Joe’s went out in a blaze of glory (literally).

  13. I am ABSOLUTELY appalled that The O Patio is closing. It is part of the traditions The Ohio State University holds, and this “square” will most CERTAINLY be of no interest to ANYONE. Like srsly???? These Campus Partners ppl can suck my *SS.

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