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$5.5M Deal: Two buildings purchased by Campus Partners for proposed High Street transformation project

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Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and A Slice of New York are among businesses affected by Campus Partners' transformation projected. Credit: Michael Huson / Campus Editor

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and A Slice of New York are among businesses affected by Campus Partners’ transformation projected. Credit: Michael Huson / Campus Editor

For 30 years, A Slice of New York, formerly called Flying Pizza, has served its signature thin-crusted pies to members of the Ohio State community who have entered through the restaurant’s vibrant green-trimmed doorway. But soon, this North High Street establishment must move because the building was one of two recently sold to Campus Partners for $5.5 million.

The purchase is part of a plan to “transform” 9 acres located around the intersection of East 15th Avenue and High Street. The project was announced in February by Campus Partners, a private community planning corporation that works to revitalize OSU’s off-campus neighborhoods.

The area, which is bordered by High Street on the west, East 17th Avenue on the north, East 14th Avenue on the south and the 14th, 15th and 16th Avenue corridors east of High Street, will include a high-quality pedestrian environment and a dynamic public square framed by buildings with active first-floor uses, according to a February press release.

In May, Campus Partners received approval from the University Area Commission and the University Area Review Board for its proposed rezoning, said Campus Partners President Amanda Hoffsis. The commission is composed of University District residents, landlords and one representative each from the university, undergraduate and graduate students.

Rezoning gives planners more flexibility.

“We presented and received approval of our application from the City of Columbus Development Commission at their public meeting in June,” Hoffsis said in an email. “We received approval from the Columbus City Council … and with that vote, our rezoning was complete.”

In July, Redstone Realty Company LLC, a Campus Partners real estate subsidiary, bought the properties at 1806 and 1812–1816 N. High St. for $5.5 million, Hoffsis said.

These two buildings currently house Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Student Book Exchange and A Slice of New York.

Other businesses that are located in the proposed transformation zone include The O Patio & Pub, Jimmy John’s and Too’s Spirits Under High.

Mike Estes, manager of A Slice of New York, said the pizzeria has until the end of November in its current location at 1812 N. High St. After that, he said, the restaurant’s lease is up.

We’re hoping to get an extension on that lease until we find a new location, but as of right now, yeah, that’s when we have to be out,” Estes said.

Estes said he is looking into alternative locations, and added that Campus Partners has offered its assistance.

“Campus Partners has been actively working with us to find a space, but finding a space that is suitable has been difficult,” he said. “People have been trying to hold onto spaces … it makes it hard for small businesses to move.”

Hoffsis said there are no concrete timelines in place, but added that the entire area will not be developed all at once. While she could not be more specific about retailing strategies for the proposed space, she said Campus Partners is “confident the area will be filled with both existing and new business that can be successful” in the campus-area market.

We are actively working with most tenants, and each has unique needs and goals,” Hoffsis said. “Some tenants are excited to see what options may exist to stay at or close to their current location while others are viewing this as an opportunity to move their business forward in a different direction.”

For Estes, A Slice of New York’s close proximity to the students is a defining factor for his business.

“We cater to the students,” he said, adding that because A Slice of New York does not deliver, the busy times of the year are limited to three months of warm weather.

Estes said he is looking into moving to a new location at East 11th and Neil avenues.

So many other businesses have had to relocate, and then with so much retail space being taken off campus, you know, it’s like ‘where do we relocate to?’” he said. “It’s a mystery. It’ll be different.”

Raising Cane’s did not provide a comment for this story, but signs have been posted that imply a new location is “coming soon” in the former Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the South Campus Gateway.

SBX declined to comment for this story.

Hoffsis said Campus Partners is studying the effect on traffic and the infrastructure needs apparent in the redevelopment area, which it hopes to further define in the coming months.

Even though this concept pulls from many plans that have been developed by the community over the decades, this marks the first time in 50 years an opportunity for change of this scale has been possible and promises to make 15th and High an iconic city feature,” she said.

Michael Huson contributed to this article.


  1. Campus Partners needs to stop destroying all these places for whats going to be overpriced leases and be as empty as south campus gateway. Taking all the tradition and memories away.

    • Yep, this will be just as much of a disaster as South Campus Gateway, where you’re lucky if a business stays there more than a year. And A Slice of New York has been a staple of campus life for so many years, this is terrible. Once again, small business getting the shaft. I wonder if Kasich has anything to do with this (jk, I’m sure he doesn’t, but seems like something he would be part of).

      • Talking to business owners at the Gateway, rent is not the problem. One owner I talked to even said that he gets asked that a lot, and it’s a common misconception. The management of Kildares/The Oxley/Charlie Bear/Gooeyz was the problem, not the rent.

        • Really , I find it hard to believe all those business left because of management, pizza rustica moved downtown, Charlie bear is now Bullwinkles down the street and Kildares has multiple locations that are doing great.

  2. Doesn’t Campus Partners mean Overpriced-Corporate-Crap Zone? Those of us who live in the OSU area have watched with horror the destruction of or neighborhoods by OSU neighborhood colonialism. First they came for South Campus…. When will this monster be stopped?

  3. The University justifies outsourcing campus parking and now utilities on campus because they are not “core” functions for an institution of higher education. So, how is the transformation of off-campus real estate a “core” function for Ohio State? It seems the administration talks out of both sides of its mouth.

    • And how is football a “core” function? I didn’t trust Campus Partners when it started, and I don’t trust it today. It’s about Big Education and Big Money ( such as Wexner). Is there anything more pathetic than the Abercrombie & Fitch ER Services? Students and faculty need to take back OSU, but I have no idea how.

  4. Great! Now they are going to destroy the mid-campus area just like they did to south campus! Put in high priced buildings which draw high rents from businesses that charge more money than students can afford. STUPID!!!! Quit destroying campus!!

  5. The Real Ohio State, Inc (tm)

    I just wish that Ohio State would have the courage one time and declare that their motivation for some action was that they wanted more money. It would be refreshing.

    This is just another example of the plutocracy that Ohio State has become. A couple posters above mention core functions, which is an interesting and necessary point to bring up.

    “Core functions” are just a red herring, intended to throw people off the trail. Football makes $$. Campus Partners makes $$ (at least in the short-term, and that may be all that matters). Traffic and Parking’s duties could be done cheaper by a private firm, so it’s been privatized. Utilities will be the same. If someone else can do it cheaper, that will happen.

    In the meantime, OSU drifts further away from looking like a public institution, which may have been the plan all along. Tom brings up a good point about the high rents. Who can afford such rents? This is about accessibility to higher education.

    I’m glad South Campus has largely fallen on its face, and I am hoping for more of the same with this project. I hope it’s a spectacular failure that causes people to stop and question the purpose of cabals like Campus Partners and makes people wonder why Ohio State is a major player in such an organization.

    • Based on the people involved and their prior history, it likely will be a spectacular failure, don’t worry.
      However, remember that they are going to mot likely just lease this land away for other developers to build on, based within CPs own vague parameters (that they often do not share publicly).

      Also remember that while Campus Partners is a “separate” non profit entity, created by the Board of Trustees to supposedly mitigate liability (and allow it to operate with less transparency than the University), its completely run by current OSU employees (CPs Board), former employees of OSU’s PARE office, or people with family or business ties to OSU.

      And, they’ve been bailed out before (in the millions) by OSU, so I’m not certain they have ever been profitable.

      So, the goal in this case is not necessarily profit making, but gentrification and control/oversight of the proximate neighborhood with less transparency and interaction with the University Area Commission.

      • The Real Ohio State, Inc (tm)

        I have read your posts, Karl, and we are on the same page on most things, but here I think you need to go a step further.

        I completely agree with the gentrification idea. To be honest, I think it’s nearly impossible to argue against it, especially in light of incidents like the Papa Joe’s fire.

        South Campus was going to change, but changing South Campus was a means to an end. That end was to “raise the profile” of the university. Raising the profile meant being able to justify raising tuition to levels that began to exclude students who had the intellect to excel at OSU, but were priced out.

        I went to OSU in the 90s and knew people who could finance a year’s tuition with a summer job waiting tables at popular bars at places like Put-in-Bay. $3500-3600 was all that was needed for a year’s tuition. The idea of doing that is almost absurd now. On the other hand, if you have students who are willing to take on significant student loan debt or whose parents can write checks for $10K a year, that’s a diffferent story.

        To attract those students, however, you need to clean things up. A new RPAC. A new (and unnecessary) Ohio Union. The first thing that had to change was the especially gritty portions of campus; namely the South Campus bar district. Replace Papa Joe’s or Maxwell’s or the Pit with some contrived English pub, and now it’s more “presentable”.

        The old regime had its warts, I’m not denying that. South Campus was usually risky and sometimes lawless. But that regime also meant that things were cheap enough so that education was accessible to people who didn’t necessarily have a lot of money. That WAS the beauty of Ohio State, you could build yourself up without taking on ridiculous debt.

        This next project is just a continuation of that “master plan”.

        • Oh, I’m with you 100%.

          Add to the “master plan” morphing the entire purpose of Campus Partners from an organization meant to help encourage home ownership east of High for faculty, staff, and grad students, to the absurd antithesis of that now. From a purpose built on creating community and cultivating a sense of neighborhood, to one of pandering to city real estate development, investors and politicians, as well as keeping up appearances for parent footing the bill.

          Also the push to raise the average ACT/SAT scores of incoming freshmen, which only has one purpose: to bring in more upper class students. Its well know that test scores strongly correlate with the quality of school district and socio economic background. We know how well public school and rural and inner city school are doing on that front in Ohio. these families expect to see a similar environment to where they’re kids are coming from. God forbid they actually have to see what its like to live in a real city.

          The argument amongst the administration is literally that lower class (i.e under-performers on test scores due to poverty) students can go to any of the community or regional state universities they want. But that OSU is somehow for a higher standard of student at the undergrad level.

          Thats an absolute joke. OSU exists to serve the taxpayers of Ohio in total. Not some set aside group that already are coming from a position of privilege. IF OSU was actually to look at increasing its academic ranking is things like US News and World Report (another red herring for the ACT/SAT score increase), it should focus on the quality of the graduate programs, since quality of graduate program actually determines rankings that matter to students seeking a degree (undergrad AND grad). But, its a smoke and mirrors game, cause its the large undergrad population that pays the bills… or, at least loans and Mom and Dad.

  6. As a member of OOWG (obsolete old white guy) class of 70 I visited old OSU and found the area around the campus so sterile and unwelcoming. Things change but I wish today’s students could have experienced high street as it was. That was fun. It was home not a mall.

  7. I’m glad I went to OSU before it was surrounded by sterile luxury apartments. I never would go there now. OSU, check out cities that are making it–they encourage small independent businesses. Places are open for thirty years because they’re good. I admire these small business owners–it’s unjust that corporate greed is putting them out of business. OSU should fight to protect its surrounding community. Instead of Fly Pie and SBX OSU will have Papa Johns and Barnes and Nobles–not good marketing. Ohio’s kids come here to get out of the suburbs, not feel even more stuck by corporate bullshit. Just close the school and become an investment firm already.

  8. Damn Cains and Flying Pizza were my spots and I just graduated in 2010…I’m already losing my peice of paradise being TOSU campus….ohh well they can’t take the oval…or can they

  9. Finish this sentence.
    After graduation the class of 2020 is excited to bring their friends and family to campus to visit…

    Toos and A Slice of New York.
    Tim Hortons and Pursuit.

  10. Businesses dont survive all around campus (Not just South Campus Gateway) because they need to have financial means to survive breaks (Winter, summer, etc). High st is dead in summer and many businesses are minimally staffed. I think McD’s and Buckeye Donuts are only ones that really get business.

  11. Don’t worry, Keith Myers has assured everyone that he’s pretty sure “the market” will work everything out for everyone.
    Why shouldn’t OSU be buying up private property to sell off to their own personally hand picked private developers to build overpriced apartments and space for generic chain brands?
    Why wouldn’t you want the east side of High St to look like a massive TGIFriday’s?
    Hey, just look how great and inviting Keith’s development in the Arena District is!
    Its square, brick, and soulless! Who doesn’t love that in Cbus?!
    This purchase has nothing to do with his downtown development connections.
    These are not the droids you are looking for…

    • The market will totally work out for everyone. Most will leave, a few will stay, many will come in, and the people who can’t afford to play won’t be heard from again. That’s the market at work for ya. Excellence to eminence!

  12. It is so refreshing to see some honest assessment of what has become OSU, Inc. and environs.
    i have lived on or near OSU campus for the 45 years I have lived in Columbus (sorry just cannot adopt CBUS) and campus was a great environment until it became a business and all of the decisions were turned over to Wexner and his associates in the late 80s,90s and especially the start of this century. He brought in Elwood who everyone saw and continues to believe was the savior of TOSU as president -twice because he could glad-hand anyone with a pulse and purse and use his uncanny memory to fool people into believing he cared-he was and is a puppet of the few families that control and run Columbus and TOSU, INC. It is a telling sign that hardly any of the senior members of the management team have any interest in or experience in education per se—they are business people who have ensconced their own minions in positions underneath them to place the entire focus of this once fine institution on MONEY not education. Some of it is driven by the state of Ohio’s abysmal track record funding and supporting education from K-Phd. When Ohio was the 5th wealthiest state in the US-Ohio was 48th in education-below Mississippi in aid to education. A reflection of that was that after years of neglect and lack of real support from Columbus-which was always a gigantic leech off of OSU and its students and employees -they turned their attention to east of High as they saw the gigantic prospect of re-making it into something they could market and profit off of at the same time. The gentrification of the ShoNoVikital neighborhoods (short north, victorian village, italian village) made it imperative in their eyes to stop the flow of undesirable people completely overtaking the near east of High neighborhoods because the displaced peoples migrated up to campus housing – greed and unimaginative design took over and the result is a very bland, soul-less South Campus Gateway -lots of plans for the old gateway to campus -15th and High area -which will not happen without a profound infusion of money which OSU does not have. It is very very sad to see off the off campus area look the way it does and no you cannot put luxury on a horribly constructed overpriced building and call it an improvement -living above a Wendys or Taco Bell… of course they were successful in making it the norm to charge per bed rather than per unit for rent and that is why some real estate cabal’s get Manhattan rents for uninhabitable dumps. Where is the old Tenant’s Union and new Libby Gregory’s (RIP Lib) -when we need them.
    The bland-conversion to Eastonesque wanna-be environs are what everyone wants now -right?
    I will take a real heart and soul campus area- not a cookie-cutter indistinguishable look that could easily be out in a cow pasture in the middle of nowhere and have the same look as so many others-at least the CEO’s would be safe and their patronages could go on and on and on.

  13. Why think there’s a plan or design? OSU is rudderless. There’s no leadership. Campus Partners is not private. Will anything be built on High St.? Or will it be another overpaid purchase with no development like Weinland Park? Or another market AND design failure like South Gateway? Or a huge traffic hazard and generator of filth like North Campus residence halls, soon to sit empty when the old dorms are renovated and sophomores can’t be compelled to live on campus

    Go Bucks! bleed more cash. and cut more costs. and downgrade academics even more!

  14. Campus Partners strikes again! In a follow up to their outrageous purchases prices in Weinland Park, they now have paid (who, exactly?) $5.5 million for two properties assessed together at less than $1.4 million.

    Any other city and university would be investigated for this.

    Go Bucks!

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