When Emily Osborne signed the lease to her new apartment in January 2019, she did not think that more than a year later she’d still be waiting to see it, let alone live in it.
In late October of this past year, Osborne, a third-year in physics, was living in a studio apartment on East 14th Avenue, according to previous Lantern reporting. The apartment she had signed a lease for — a one bedroom at The View on Pavey Square at the corner of West Northwood Avenue and High Street — was still under construction with no end in sight.
As of January of this year, the second and third floors of the complex are complete and occupied by tenants — albeit not entirely — Todd Dillon, a manager at Hometeam Properties, the property management company for Pavey Square, said.
Though there may be negative emotions toward Hometeam, Dillon said it was important to address a common misconception around Ohio State’s campus: Hometeam is only the property manager and not the actual developer of the apartment complex; it doesn’t have as much insight regarding the construction process as the architects or subcontractors and only knows what it is told.
When the company found out the project was not going to be completed on time around the end of summer 2019, Hometeam came up with an alternative plan to house the tenants who had signed a lease, Dillon said.
First it provided units for each tenant who signed a lease to live at Pavey Square, he said. These units were furnished with items from the under-construction complex.
The property management company also gave tenants an option to look for other places to live, allowing them to get out of their lease if they choose to do so, Dillon said.
“It truly is our goal is to try to provide as stress-free of an atmosphere as possible for our tenants and the students,” Dillon said.
The temporary unit assigned to Osborne, however, proved to be a stark contrast to the one she was promised when she signed her lease with Pavey Square, she said in an Oct. 30, 2019, Lantern article.
The apartment is smaller and missing one of the main features she liked about her unit at Pavey Square, she said in the article.
“The kitchen’s really small,” Osborne said. “Most of what I liked at Pavey Square was the kitchen because I cook a lot. In this space, there’s one range, very little counter space.”
When Hometeam learned the construction was not going to be completed in time, it stopped leasing for the 2019-20 academic year, Dillon said.
“It was just so we wouldn’t be in a situation where, you know, having more people that had to deal with the same stress and displacement,” Dillon said.
Hometeam asked the construction company to focus on getting the second and third floors ready so all the tenants who signed a lease could have a place to stay in the new building as soon as possible, even if it was only until their actual units were fully constructed, Dillon said.
“Every person who signed the lease at Pavey now has an option to live on the second and third floor,” he said. “Some people may have signed the lease for the fifth floor and obviously they can’t move into that unit because the fifth floor is not complete. But we’re able to get them into a unit on the second or the third floor.”
Dillon said there are maybe one or two tenants who are not currently living on the property, as most of the tenants chose to move into the vacant spots on the second and third floors.
Osborne, who said she was offered a studio on the second floor while her actual apartment was being finished, is one of the few tenants not occupying a unit. She said she preferred to pay the discounted rent of $500 at her current temporary residence.
Osborne also said moving would have been an inconvenience for her as she would’ve had to do it for a third time once her actual unit was completed. Additionally, it being a studio compared with the one-bedroom for which she signed a lease deterred her from leaving her current place.
“It might be a little bit bigger,” Osborne said. “I think it’s 30 percent bigger or something, something like that. But it’s not three times bigger, so I don’t think it’s worth three times the price.”
The closest Osborne said she has gotten to living at Pavey Square is parking her car in the almost-finished parking structure at the apartment complex, which despite being a longer commute from her current residence, she said it is still a step up from her current parking situation.
“It’s an inconvenient walk out to get it, but at least it’s a place it’s free to park,” Osborne said. “I haven’t found trouble getting a space there yet, and it doesn’t seem full.”
Osborne said that at her present location, parking is a struggle because Hometeam oversold parking passes, making it hard to find a spot since more cars had passes than there were spots.
“They got really good about towing cars, but that doesn’t actually help if all the cars are parked there legally, and you still don’t have a space,” she said.
As for the remaining two floors at Pavey Square, Dillon said there are a lot of finishing touches going on, and the fourth floor is further along in the process than the fifth.
Not knowing when the first two floors would be completed, though, did affect Osborne and her comfort level regarding her temporary apartment. She said she was forced to grow more comfortable with the place as the silence between her and Hometeam continued.
“It was sort of like this back in the brain like, ‘Oh, don’t get too comfortable because you’re gonna move,’ or, ‘Don’t feel like you have to move all your stuff ’cause you’re gonna have to move it again anyway,’” Osborne said.
For the future, Dillon said Hometeam will offer its tenants the chance to settle in and have the “right of first refusal on their space.” The company will wait for the tenants to decide if they want to live in the space for the next leasing year before leasing the units out to the public.
Osborne is considering re-leasing for her fourth year, mainly due to the time she has spent not living in the apartment even after signing a lease a year back.
“I feel like I’ve stuck it out, and I deserve to live there once it’s ready,” she said. “So it’s like, I might renew my lease. It’s a nice apartment.”
Osborne said one of her main takeaways from her experience with Pavey Square is to never lease an apartment that has not yet been built.
“If you can’t tour the unit you’ll actually be living in, steer clear of it because even if it’s not that management company’s fault, Columbus is incredibly slow at construction,” she said. “It just might not happen.”
Dillon said the time taken will be worth it, as the finished complex at 2259 N. High St. will have amenities such as a rooftop balcony and wellness center with popular equipment — such as Peloton bikes — and large study spaces.
“We’re excited for it to be completed and for everybody to kind of see what a great place [it] will be at the end of the day,” he said.