Church to be torn down for project

A building that once housed St. Bartholomew Catholic Church at 845 Eighth St. is expected to be demolished in May.

In its place, the property southeast of Eighth and Sycamore streets is scheduled to be developed into a $9.3 million multi-family residential complex featuring 60 market-rate apartments, said Robin Hilber, assistant director of the city’s community development office.

These units will be priced similarly to the Cole Apartments in downtown Columbus, with monthly rents ranging from about $950 to $1,150, Hilber said. This project will be spearheaded by Rubicon Development Co. LLC of Indianapolis.

Although the former church has long been abandoned, long-established local Catholics may still feel an attachment to the building.

Initially established in 1841, St. Bartholomew Church combined with St. Columba Church in 2001 at the current location at 1306 27th St. late that year. However, the two Catholic schools associated with each parish have been combined in a building west of Northside Middle School since 1979.

In a separate project, plans have been made to demolish three deteriorating homes along Seventh Street, from Sycamore to Chestnut, Hilber said. That will make room for a $5 million investment that will create six townhouses, she explained. Each townhouse is expected to sell for between $199,000 to $279,000, she said.

The townhouse development is being headed by an entity called Central Townhouses, LLC, affiliated with Sprague Developers of Columbus, Hilber said.

Developers of both projects are asking the city to designate an area north of Central Middle School as an economic revitalization area. While their request was approved by the Columbus Economic Development Commission Thursday, the matter will go next to the Columbus City Council on March 17th. With the council’s approval, the developers will be eligible to request tax breaks and incentives from the city.

Although the projects are not a “done deal,” both the apartments and townhouses fit in with the Envision Columbus downtown strategic development plan, Hilber said. Released last year, the plan calls for more downtown housing with greater density, so Hilber said it’s very likely both projects will move forward.

Construction on the apartments and townhouses is expected to begin this summer, and be completed in about a year, she said.