PICKERINGTON, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — A $30 million, 336-unit apartment complex near the Pickerington Ponds Metro Park could break ground in December.

Metro Development, an affiliate of Donald R. Kenney & Company Realty, wants to build the complex Lawndale Commons on about 33 acres of farmland at 3981 Bowen Road.

“There is a tremendous need for market-rate workforce housing in this area,” said Tre’ Giller, CEO and president of Metro Development.

The area is a community reinvestment area, or CRA, giving the project a 15-year, 100% tax abatement. Columbus City Council designated about a dozen CRAs in 2020 that are eligible for these breaks.

Some 10% of the units would be available for those making 60% of the area median income and another 10% for those making 80% of the area median income.

Giller said Metro Development hopes to build more multi-family in this area.

“This will help with workforce affordability needs,” he said. “That area of the city has been underserved (with housing stock) for quite some time.”

The apartments would be three-story walkups – a style for which Metro Development is known.

Plans include a clubhouse and pool. Giller said that because the development abuts the Pickerington Ponds Metro Park, they would create extensive walking trails to connect to the park.

There also would be about 19 acres of open space around the development, according to plans submitted to the city.

The land currently is zoned to allow as many as 188 units, or 5.71 units an acre. But the developer wants to boost that to 10.21 units per acre.

The development commission approved the project in March.

The Far East Area Commission recommended against the project over concerns about rental units. The local land-use plan recommends low-density residences in the area.

The development also was reviewed by the Greater South East Area Commission, which was able to get the developer to drop two buildings and downsize the number of units from 384 units.

City staff is recommending approval of the development, because even though “low-density residential” is recommended at the site, the increased density would include “high quality landscaping and screening” as well as open space “connected by trails to internal sidewalks and adjacent parkland.”

Columbus City Council will review the project later this month.

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