City’s proposed senior housing project makes good sense

The lack of an adequate inventory of affordable housing has been and continues to be a challenge in Columbus, which ranks as one of the state’s costliest places to live.

Newcomers encounter waiting lists and limited options, sometimes making living in the city impossible. Current residents encounter similar problems, including seniors citizens — many of whom are on fixed incomes.

That’s why a proposal for senior citizen housing on the city’s north side that would be conveniently located near medical care, drug and grocery stores, restaurants and recreation, offers so much promise.

Fishers-based developer RealAmerica, which already has successful senior properties in Brown County, wants to develop a little more than an acre on a 6-acre lot that once housed a garden center at 2655 25th St. The location would place the housing complex near Columbus Regional Hospital and Lincoln Park, for example.

Plans call for a four-story, 70-unit housing complex that features 50 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units. That’s a significant number of housing units to add to the inventory that can benefit seniors specifically. A recent affordable-housing project, Gateway Apartments at 10th Street and Cottage Avenue, is open to all age ranges.

While there will be hurdles to clear, such as getting state tax credits that would be used to build the facility, the Columbus City Council has an opportunity to remove one large preliminary obstacle when it votes Tuesday and Oct. 18 on designating the property as an economic development target zone, which would be the city’s fourth.

Such a designation would be a good decision. It would be a good first step to address a local housing need and help a population that can’t afford prices that make Columbus one of the state’s most expensive places to live.