COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Ten new rental units are coming to Franklinton, with the goal of adding needed affordability in an area that has seen its fair share of market-rate development.

The Franklinton Development Association is planning to start construction on the $2.25 million project at the corner of Town Street and Hawkes Avenue in about two months. The 202-204 Hawkes Avenue site is at a block that also contains Gladden Community House, Avondale Elementary School and a community garden.

The location is “kind of the residential heart of the neighborhood,” said Eric Skidmore, executive director of the nonprofit development organization.

The empty lot used to contain an apartment building that was torn down.

“This is replacing that building with a 10-unit apartment building,” Skidmore said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can to provide long-term and permanent affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents, and doing everything we can in our role to help maintain this as a mixed-income neighborhood.”

The Franklinton Development Association anticipates a 10-month construction period, and has a goal of being fully leased up sometime in early 2022.

This is the first rental project that will be part of the Central Ohio Community Land Trust, Skidmore said.

Franklinton Development Association owns the improvements on the land, but the land trust will own the underlying property. The groups are working in partnership on the project, Skidmore said.

The city of Columbus is contributing an estimated $1.4 million to the project using its share of federal funding. And the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Housing Development Gap Financing program is contributing $500,000. The developer is also expected to receive a $280,000 loan from the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County.

The units would be available to people who are earning 50% or 60% of the area median income, Skidmore said. For a two-person household, 50% of area median income would be a max income of $33,550 per year.

Apartment rents will range from $620 per month to $800 a month in rent, depending on where a resident falls on the income spectrum and how many bedrooms their apartment has.

Skidmore said that it’s important that Franklinton contain more affordable housing units.

“It’s been an ongoing concern for years now, but it’s only accelerating,” Skidmore said. “The rising home prices in the neighborhood have kind of skyrocketed.”

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