Last spring news broke that Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI), the real estate development arm of local corporate giant Nationwide Insurance, had agreed to buy 8 acres of land in East Franklinton owned by Byers Automotive Group.
Regarding the purchase, the developer of the Arena District and Grandview Yard said at the time that they supported Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman’s “vision to rejuvenate that historic neighborhood,” and envisioned developing a mixed-use project on their newly-acquired property emphasizing retail, residential, and possibly office space.
With the relocation of Byers’ Chevrolet dealership to Grove City completed earlier this year, NRI has now finalized the $3.7 million acquisition of properties centered on W Broad St.
Today, Columbusight can report that according to plans filed with the City of Columbus, NRI is now seeking to demolish a number of their newly-acquired structures in anticipation of that future development.
While they still don’t have specific or definitive plans to publicly reveal at this time (likely to happen within a few months), the move for demolition of five properties located on Broad St, May Ave, Skidmore St, and State St is another step forward as NRI prepares to get to work in Franklinton.
Most of the soon to be demolished structures are non-historic single-story office and warehouse buildings, and the main Byers Chevrolet showroom at 555 W Broad St is not included at this time.
However, two historic 19th-century single family homes are also on the list, and will likely soon meet the wrecking ball.
NRI’s rationale for demolishing the houses, built prior to 1887 and located at 532-536 W State St, is that they have suffered significant structural deferred maintenance and also require environmental remediation.
The move is somewhat controversial as little historic building stock remains in East Franklinton from that era, and especially very few single family homes are still standing.
City staff noted in their review of the demolition application that both properties, a pair of gable-front brick cottages, would likely be eligible for listing on the Columbus Register of Historic Places due to their age and well-preserved condition.
Nevertheless, the city recommended that NRI be allowed to proceed as long they documented the buildings prior to tearing them down.
Columbus’ 2012 East Franklinton Creative Community District Plan, (try saying that five times fast), classifies the area along W Broad St between the railroad tracks adjacent to Spaghetti Warehouse and SR-315 as a new district targeted for high-density multi-story development.
While only a community vision, the plan suggests the addition of up to 3,000 new residential units (10% of which should be affordable), 85,000 sqft of retail, and 100,000 sqft of office space to the corridor.
This site for NRI’s future project is also located in the midst of a flurry of other development happening in East Franklinton – including a new 5-story mixed-use building on Rich St and a shipping container ‘Art Park’ planned to pop-up this summer.
For more information on NRI visit their website, nationwiderealtyinvestors.com.
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