Planned 15-story mixed-use tower could be Franklinton’s tallest, provide some affordable housing

Columbus Business First

FRANKLINTON, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Brian Higgins has built affordable housing in a few neighborhoods across Columbus, but his next project would be the biggest yet, both for his development team and East Franklinton.

Higgins’ Arch City Development Group and Oz Development Group have assembled parcels at 567-595 W. Broad St., along with some properties behind it on Gift and Shepherd streets, for the proposed development, which would involve tearing down a motel, a commercial building, and a house and replacing them with a 15-story mixed-use building.

It’s to be called the Mondrian and some historic properties on the site will be integrated into the design of the nearly 300,000-square-foot building.

“It’ll bridge the gap between downtown and East Franklinton,” Higgins said. “It’s got some scale and coming from Rt. 315 it’s going to feel like a gateway.

“But we’re still doing our best to preserve and retain some historic buildings, and juxtapose the old with the new.”

The 166-foot building would include three stories of commercial space totaling 17,343 square feet; a three-story 219-space parking garage with an amenity deck on top; and an L-shaped tower with 206 residential units.

The top floor would have a “signature” restaurant with views of downtown. All the development totals 291,241 square feet.

The apartments would include 56 studio units, 98 one-bedroom units, and 52 two-bedroom units. Right now, 70% of the units would be made affordable to those making 80% to 100% of the area’s median income. Units range from 480 square feet to just more than 1,000 square feet.

The East Franklinton Review Board will have to approve the project’s architecture for it to proceed.

“Coming out of Covid, housing insecurity has been a real concern and so having a lot of affordable housing is helpful,” Higgins said. “There’s a continuum of housing and this lands pretty securely where there’s a need.”

Berardi + Partners is the project’s architect.

The development will seek competitive Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits because it is preserving some historic buildings on the ground floor. If it gets these credits in the fall round, Higgins said it’s likely the development would break ground in 2022.

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