City to consider economic development target area for senior housing

RealAmerica is proposing building an affordable senior housing complex similar to Willow Manor Senior Apartments, which are in Nashville near the intersection of State Road 135 and State Road 46. Haw Creek Preserve will be designed similarly to these buildings, except that Haw Creek Preserve will have four stories instead of three stories and be configured to fit the Columbus location. Photo provided

Columbus’ Economic Development Commission is recommending the city create its fourth economic development target area to assist a developer seeking to build senior apartments at 25th and Midway streets.

RealAmerica Development, based in Fishers, is proposing to redevelop just a little over an acre on a 6-acre site once used as the Helton Garden Center at 2655 25th St. The property has been vacant for about 12 years, said Mary Ferdon, Columbus’ executive director of administration and community development. The company has built successful affordable senior housing projects in Gnaw Bone and in Nashville, both in Brown County.

RealAmerica wants to build a four-story, 70-unit senior housing complex called Hawcreek Preserve Senior Apartments, containing 50 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units, said Mike Lang, RealAmerica development associate.

Due to the property’s proximity to a floodway and floodplain along Haw Creek, the property has about 1.2 acres of buildable space, Lang told the economic development commission on Thursday.

While the building site has challenges, Ferdon and Lang told commission members that it has huge location advantages to the senior population.

The property is within walking distance or a short drive to Columbus Regional Hospital, several grocery stores, a pharmacy, a rehabilitation center, the nearby Lincoln Park facilities and several restaurants.

The site is described by the city as an in-fill location, meaning it is a vacant site surrounded by development which is vacant and needs to go back on the tax rolls in another use.

The commission’s recommendation now goes to the Columbus City Council for approval, to be considered at 6 p.m Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 at city council chambers. RealAmerica is likely to seek a tax abatement for the building project, Ferdon said.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.