A vacant industrial site that was once proposed to become an affordable senior living apartment complex near Central Avenue is now set to become commercial tenant space.
Columbus City Council has given initial approval to rezone about 2.5 acres at 1804 22nd St. from multi-family rezoning to commercial zoning to allow applicant Clinton Mann, Columbus, to transform the property into rental commercial space.
Permitted uses under the commercial community zoning classification include uses such as a daycare center, community center, clinics, offices, restaurants, liquor stores, retail or government offices, among others.
The property was previously rezoned in November 2015 to allow a multi-family housing project that was to be funded through state tax credits, which did not materialize, said Jeff Bergman, Columbus-Bartholomew County planning director.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority denied an application from Cottage Avenue Apartments for state tax credit financing in 2016 for the proposed complex, which had been proposed as an affordable senior living apartment complex.
The site, owned by OTNA Realty LLC, is described by the city as an important redevelopment opportunity site, according to the staff report put together by the city’s planning department. The property has been identified by the department as an infill site with the planning department determining that several land uses are appropriate for the acreage, from residential to general commercial and public facilities.
The site is essentially unused now, a condition that has persisted for many years, the planning department’s report states. Redeveloping the property would greatly improve the aesthetics of the area and bring life to a historically underutilized site, the report states.
In the application, Mann said the property could be redeveloped one of two ways — ether by renovating the existing structure or demolishing it and constructing a new building.
The property has frontage on four streets — Central Avenue, Cottage Avenue, 22nd Street and 23rd Street — and the planning department noted that building facades in the area should make use of “360 degree architecture,” meaning that all sides of the building should be of the same high quality materials, design and visual interest.
Mann is proposing to rehabilitate the building to lease it to commercial tenants, similar to what was done at the northwest corner of 14th Street and Central Avenue, according to the rezoning application filed with the city.
Mann’s attorney, Jeff Rocker, talked about parking options for the rezoning site, because the acreage does not include parking on the west side of Cottage Avenue.
However, Rocker told council members that a triangular area of green space located off Central Avenue is being considered for parking and that the developer is working with the city engineer’s office to determine the number of spaces. That would need to be approved by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals as part of the project, he added.
“It’s possible that we could serve the parking needs of the site within the site,” Rocker said.
If the rezoning is approved, the project will require the developer to meet several commitments, which includes improving the 2200 block of Cottage Street on both sides of the street, in addition to the frontage on 22nd and 23rd streets to include curb and gutter, sidewalks and street trees, the planning department report states.
Bergman said his office hasn’t been provided with a definitive plan for the property, but it is expected to arrive after the council finishes its consideration of the rezoning request.
Rocker said more information about the project would be released after the council considers the rezoning request on second reading at 6 p.m. July 18 at City Hall.