COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–The site of the Ohio Democratic headquarters downtown could become an affordable housing development.

Fairfield Homes presented plans to the Downtown Commission this week to demolish the structure at 340 E. Fulton Street and build a four-story building with about 60 affordable units.

Some 80% of the units would be priced at 60% of the area median income and the remaining units would be market-rate, said Joe Wickham, director of development for Fairfield Homes.

Fairfield Homes purchased the building for $1.95 million in August, said Matt Keyes, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

“That location, with its proximity to hospitals and other businesses in downtown, there’s a huge need for workforce housing,” Wickham said. “We’re excited to get into downtown.”

Lancaster-based Fairfield Homes owns several affordable housing and senior housing developments in Central Ohio, including communities in Gahanna, Grove City, and Reynoldsburg. The company also has some market-rate developments.

Wickham said the company plans to build roughly 1,600 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor fronting Grant Avenue. There also would be a raised tenant terrace on the second floor, which is new for Fairfield, he said. There will be community space in the building, too.

The residential space would be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Wickham said it is still too early to tell how much the project would cost.

Fairfield Homes is looking to apply for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit for this project, so depending on how that application process goes, Wickham said Fairfield hopes to break ground in spring 2023.

The firm is looking to come back before the commission in November or December, he said. They need to do a traffic study before going before the commission again.

Fairfield Homes is using Shremshock Architects to design the building and plans to use its sister company, Gorsuch Construction Inc., to construct the building if it is approved.

The Democratic Party will remain in the East Fulton building through the end of the year and then will shift the way its staff works.

It currently occupies the entire building. Instead of having one large central office, it will shift to placing employees into the communities where voters live.

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