448 new apartments, commercial spaces pitched for Kroger Bakery site downtown

Columbus Business First

COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Three developers want to turn the former Kroger bakery building on the northern end of downtown into 448 apartment units, according to plans filed with the city.

The Historic Resources Commission will review designs this month for the the 9.5-acre site at 427 and 457 Cleveland Ave.

A joint venture of Casto, Kelley Companies and The Robert Weiler Company bought the property for $8.15 million from Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. after it closed the bakery in 2019.

The two existing buildings would be restored and three more apartment buildings would go up on the parking lots around them, the plans show.

The developers also propose 8,850 square feet of restaurant space and 2,400 square feet of office space. The site would have 599 parking spaces, including 420 indoors.

Renderings filed with the city show buildings four and five stories tall. The new buildings have a modern and industrial architectural feel, while the two historic buildings stand out with their red brick facades.

The rest of the site would be extensively landscaped and include a lawn, athletic courts, swimming area, promenade and dog park. There would be upper-level and rooftop gathering spaces as well.

Casto didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Its design team also includes engineer E.P. Ferris & Associates. Architects Realm Collaborative, Sandvick Architects and Dimit Architects designing the master plan, existing building renovations and new construction, respectively.

Variances would have to be granted, including for parking and the 66-foot height for one of the new buildings. The property also must also be rezoned from manufacturing to residential.

The buildings are almost 100 years old – the south building, 427 Cleveland Ave. was a Ford Motor Co. factory used to produce the Model T, while the north building at 457 Cleveland Ave. was built in 1927 as the Kroger bakery. Together they total 375,000 square feet.

Last year, the developers said they expected that the renovation of the building would need Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

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