As seniors crawled down North High Street on Tuesday, they marked an end of an era, both for them and the neighborhood. Construction for the first building in Campus Partners’ 15th and High development plan is set to start this summer.
Approved by the University Area Review Board on April 21, Edwards Communities will be constructing a six-story, mixed-use building spanning the block of High Street from East 16th to East 17th avenues. The building is set to be open by fall of 2018.
The buildings on the block, including ones currently housing Chumley’s and formerly Bernie’s Bagels and Distillery (before it closed), will be demolished.
Campus Partners is not managing the building. Edwards Communities is holding a ground lease of the property from a third-party and will be the builder, owner and manager of the space, said Ryan Szymanski, president of the development company.
Szymanski said he wasn’t yet sure when the businesses currently operating in the block would have to close shop.
The details around the 15th and High development as a whole are not set in stone, but the plans call for a redevelopment of High Street between East 14th and East 17th avenues. When plans were released in February of 2015, there were plans for a hotel, but Erin Prosser, director of community development for Campus Partners, treated the hotel as a hypothetical when she spoke to The Lantern on Tuesday.
Prosser said it wasn’t clear at this point how many properties in the development, if any, that Campus Partners is going to manage.
Records from the Franklin County Auditor’s office show that Redstone Realty Company LLC, a Campus Partners real-estate affiliate, owns most of the buildings along High Street between 14th and 17th avenues.
Prosser said there is no immediate timeline for the rest of the project, and Campus Partners would be focused on infrastructure planning through November.
“We don’t have any architects hired, or any buildings designed besides the Edwards building,” she said. “The initial master planning along with the community around the blocks from 14th to 17th (avenues) was led by us and folks from the community. We worked with (Edwards) as they developed the building to make sure it met the standards we set.”
Szymanski said the first floor of the building would be dedicated to retail, with the upper five floors being apartments, ranging from studios to four-bedroom apartments.
The development will add 448 beds to the campus area, Szymanski said.
“With its location, we expect a majority of student (tenants), but it will be open to anyone,” Szymanski said. “The high-end amenities will attract a wide group of people.”
Szymanski said that the prices for the apartments hadn’t been finalized yet, but there are other high-end apartments that have been built in the University District in recent years.
Norwich Flats leases apartments ranging from $865 to $1290 per month, per person, according to its website. The View on High leases apartments from $950 to $1800 per month, per person, said Erica Kronick, a leasing agent there.
The average rent per person, per month in the University District was just under $500 according to the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Student Government Housing Guide.
The project comes as second-year students are beginning to be required to live on campus as part of OSU’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program, decreasing the overall demand for apartments. Szymanski said he was confident that the “high-end amenities” would set the project apart and fill market needs.
“We have tailored our unit mix more toward upperclassmen,” Szymanski said.
Aside from a few more apartments that will be added to a parking structure that Edwards plans to build on North Pearl Street, there won’t be any more beds added in the rest of the 15th and High development, Prosser and Szymanski said.
Szymanski said that there was a lot of interest from businesses looking to lease the first floor, but Edwards would make public announcements when they were officially signed.
Addressing the loss of familiar businesses in the area, Szymanski, an OSU alumnus himself, remained sympathetic yet hopeful for OSU students.
“I think the change is going to bring a great new front door to the university,” he said. “While change is sometimes hard, the development will have a net positive impact.”