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Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, an Ohio State affiliate, has owned the properties at 15th Avenue and High Street since December 2000 but still has no plans for the prime real estate location.
Long’s Bookstore moved out of the location into its current position as Barnes & Noble at 11th Avenue and High Street in 2005, leaving the building across from the Wexner Center for the Arts vacant for almost 10 years.
“We are still in the very early stages of development,” said Erin Prosser, director of community relations for Campus Partners.
Prosser could not disclose if there were any local or national chain expressions of interest, past or present, about the property.
The building address at 1836 N. High St. had two entries listed on the Franklin County Auditor website, both listing Campus Partners as the current owner. One entry had a current market value of the property listed as $770,000, which includes $493,500 for the land and $276,500 for improvements. According to the Franklin County Auditor website, almost $11,000 was spent in taxes on the property in tax year 2012. The second listing had a current market value of $450,000, which includes $355,800 for land and $94,200 for improvements. The website said more than $6,200 was paid in taxes on that property in tax year 2012.
Both listings have recorded that the last date of transfer was Dec. 12, 2000.
Some students are confused as to why the building has been unoccupied for so long with no signs of occupancy soon.
“I think that it’s pretty weird because it’s a prime location,” said Andrea Boutelle, a third-year in communication and French. “It’s just shocking that they have no idea what they’re going to put there.”
Laura Warner, a third-year in psychology, agreed.
“I think it’s kind of stupid for such a good location, such a big building to be vacant especially since (Campus Partners) owns it, and it’s not for sale for anyone else to use it,” Warner said.
Students also have several ideas about how they think the large space should be used.
Boutelle said she would like to see another retail clothing store.
“I know a lot of people just shop at Urban Outfitters simply because it’s the only clothing store that you can walk to on campus,” Boutelle said.
Warner agreed, and said she would like to see something fun put in the vacant building.
“A bowling alley would be cool or some other activity that we don’t have on campus,” Warner said.
Several other students agree with a bowling alley being a good option with the size of the building, but the consensus of students is the space needs to be used.
“I think they should make use of it somehow,” said Kimberly Diaz, a third-year in biology. “Turn it into something (students) can use.”
Campus Partners is a separate nonprofit organization through the university that owns more than 50 properties in the University District that range from Arcadia to Fifth avenues (north to south) and the Olentangy River to the railroad tracks just past Fourth Street (west to east), Prosser said.