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Campus Partners seeks to redevelop 7 acres in Weinland Park area near campus

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The Columbus City Council is scheduled to discuss a plan that could recreate the neighborhood southeast of Ohio State’s campus this week.

If passed on Monday, the Campus Gateway Phase II plan would allow for the redevelopment of more than seven acres of land in the area of Weinland Park, bordered by East Ninth and Euclid avenues, and Section Alley and North High Street.

The plan will 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 states.

The plan also says buildings facing North High Street in the redeveloped area would be used for commercial and residential purposes, while those not facing the street would be used for apartments.

Meanwhile, public spaces in the redeveloped area would contain large street trees, spaces for outdoor cafes and signage to reinforce the idea of the area as a popular destination for shopping and social gatherings.

The plan was created by Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, a private nonprofit corporation that works on community planning in the campus area alongside OSU and the city of Columbus.

Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners, said there are no construction dates set yet.

“It is premature to discuss a date for construction prior to the city council reviewing the plan. I can tell you, before any work could begin, we will need to select a developer and work through designs,” she said in an email.

Hoffsis said that Campus Partners has been acquiring land in the subject area for more than a decade.

Last summer, OSU gave a $855,000 grant to help with the overall $1.1 million purchase of Kelly’s Carryout at 1521 N. 4th St. and D&J Carryout at 1395 N. 4th St. to help combat crime in the off-campus area.

Without a developer selected for the Campus Gateway Phase II project, the price of future housing in the area might be in question.

“It may be priced beyond the reach of many students,” said Colin Odden, OSU Council of Graduate Students’ appointee to the University Area Commission. “Campus Partners described what they envision for this project as a young professional product.”

The University Area Commission is a community advisory body concerned with the area around OSU, according to its website.

Odden, a graduate student in sociology, said the term young professional isn’t necessarily inclusive of students.

Brandyn McElroy, president of Weinland Park Community Civic Association, said people can expect the housing in the area of redevelopment to be a little bit more expensive than typical off-campus housing. He said currently, Weinland park contains the highest concentration of subsidized housing in the state of Ohio.

Hoffsis did not respond by Sunday to a Thursday email asking what she thinks the housing prices in the area will be like.

Odden said the unchanging student demographic in the OSU area prevents some change in the neighborhood.

“Students are what give the university area some resistance to rapid gentrification,” Odden said.

The Campus Gateway Phase II plan states some commercial uses are to be excluded from the area, including hookah bars, pawn shops, repossession services and automobile sales.

“These exclusions were requested by the community — specifically the University Area Commission Zoning Committee and leadership of the Weinland Park Community Civic Association,” Hoffsis said.

McElroy said because Campus Partners is not necessarily going to be the developer of the land, it is important to community members to be able to prevent things they do not want from moving in. 

“It was extremely important to include the community in this planning process, which is why we’ve worked very closely with community members over the course of the public approval process,” Hoffsis said.

After the renovation, people will hopefully be more driven to move to the Weinland Park area, McElory said.

“People are going to say, ‘Oh wow, Weinland Park is a place I want to be,’” he said. McElory described it as a “very walkable community.”

But that might not always been the case.

Violent crime and robberies have been a consistent problem in Weinland Park, but numbers have dropped in recent years. The number of assaults in Weinland Park saw a decrease to 244 in 2011 from 732 in 1998, and the number of robberies decreased to 76 in 2011 from 135 in 1998, according to the 2013 progress report of the Weinland Park Collaborative.

Some OSU students said they feel unsafe in the Weinland Park area currently.

“I was actually walking back past that area past downtown on Thursday and thought, ‘Yeah, we probably should not walk through this area,’” said David Shoffstall, a second-year in finance.

He said he sees the appeal of the proposed redeveloping. And he isn’t alone.

“I think it’s a great addition,” said Kathryn Kaltenmark, a second-year in biomedical engineering.

She said if she were to move into the area, “my only concern would be safety, and kinda like, what kind of community that place would have.”

6 comments

  1. Dear Francis,

    Thank you for your article. Some of it hints at important issues: the relationship between the University and the neighborhoods with which it shares a border, whether student housing and environmental needs are met, and .

    Yet, I worry that some of what you attribute to me isn’t quite accurate. Aside from what you put in quotes that’s not verbatim (which is what a quote should be, shouldn’t it?), Doubtless all interviewees have gripes like this, but it seems you should put a higher premium on accuracy than on expediency.

    While on face it may be clear that “the term young professional isn’t necessarily inclusive of students,” as ‘young professional’ is generally thought of as a distinct population from ‘student,’ I think that there’s a more nuanced, and far more consequential, issue that’s not captured in what you chose to write.

    Perhaps problems like these are most simply addressed by recording interviews so there’s an objective reference that isn’t subject to the vagaries of memory. You did not record audio and appeared quite selective about what you wrote down, but — luckily — I took the liberty of recording the interview, so such a reference would exist: https://osu.box.com/4oct2014lanterninterview

    Finally, I should note that the set of commercial exclusions listed in the article was NOT requested by the University Area Commission’s Zoning committee, but rather was volunteered by Campus Partners — the initiative was theirs. I cannot comment on WPCCA’s role in creating the list of exclusions.

    Warmly,
    Colin Odden

  2. Yeah, you’re missing a ton of info here Francis, and more than a little late to the game.
    Campus Partners was created to increase grad and faculty draw to the neighborhood (go back and read the initial charter from the 90s).
    Now they have morphed into just pure land speculation… and have been lousy at that, needing injections of cash from the University to stay afloat.
    Then take a look at who is running Campus Partners and their relationships with the University.
    Look at the Board of CP and the relationship to employees.
    You also might want to look at what it means for the Board of Trustees to form entities such as Campus Partners, which are legally separate entities from the University though they remained completely managed by the University.
    Then take a look at the April 2013 Board of Trustees meeting and the creation of “University Development Strategies”
    Them maybe step back, look at who has a leadership position with CP, PARE, UDS, and the private development sector and see who you land on.
    Getting a picture now?

  3. So because OSU students don’t feel safe being around poor folks we ought to completely redevelop the area – meaning push all current residents out of their houses and replace them with wealthier white people. OSU logic

  4. Dear Francis,

    (I posted a variant of this note already, but it contained a link to audio. It was held for moderation, so I’m posting this revised version without the link)

    Thank you for your article. Some of it hints at important issues: the relationship between the University and the neighborhoods with which it shares a border, whether student housing and environmental needs are met, and .

    Yet, I worry that some of what you attribute to me isn’t quite accurate. Aside from what you put in quotes that’s not verbatim (which is what a quote should be, shouldn’t it?), Doubtless all interviewees have gripes like this, but it seems you should put a higher premium on accuracy than on expediency.

    While on face it may be clear that “the term young professional isn’t necessarily inclusive of students,” as ‘young professional’ is generally thought of as a distinct population from ‘student,’ I think that there’s a more nuanced, and far more consequential, issue that’s not captured in what you chose to write. For example, is there an obligation for OSU or CP to tailor their efforts toward directly carving out resources for a particular constitutency(ies) or other(s), and what rights and obligations do CP/OSU have vis a vis its neighbors?

    Perhaps problems like these are most simply addressed by recording interviews so there’s an objective reference that isn’t subject to the vagaries of memory. You did not record audio and appeared quite selective about what you wrote down, but — luckily — I took the liberty of recording the interview, so such a reference would exist: you can find it at buckeyebox dot osu dot edu slash 4oct2014lanterninterview.

    Finally, I should note that the set of commercial exclusions listed in the article was NOT requested by the University Area Commission’s Zoning committee, but rather was volunteered by Campus Partners — the initiative was theirs. I cannot comment on WPCCA’s role in creating the list of exclusions.

    Warmly,
    Colin Odden

  5. If USG was paying attention at all, they should have been all over this.

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