City’s downtown apartment project moves forward, with one ‘no’ vote

Columbus City Hall exterior is shown in this Republic file photo. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The city’s multifamily urban grocer project is moving forward, despite some concerns from a councilman about the downtown development.

The city council on Tuesday approved a resolution for the Columbus Redevelopment Commission to enter into a project agreement with developer Flaherty & Collins. The vote was 5-1, with councilman Jerone Wood voting against the proposal. Councilman David Bush was not on the WebEx call for the virtual meeting and therefore did not vote.

Prior to the vote, Wood said that while he knows the high quality of Flaherty & Collins’ work, he’s concerned that the new multifamily development might put a strain on other apartment complexes.

“I feel like it may take away from some of the existing properties that we currently have in Columbus that are already struggling to meet occupancy rates,” he said. “… That’s my reservation, when it comes to bringing more market rate apartments here to Columbus, where we have quite a few of them already.”

Wood has had experience working with apartments, and his wife is a property manager who conducts regular market surveys.

“I’m kind of familiar with some of the other properties, as far as like the River Stone, Spruce Ridge, State Street Apartments, where I used to be employed,” he said. “I know they’re not doing very well. … I know some are close to the 70s, low 80s.”

Flaherty & Collins general counsel Deron Kintner said that according to CoStar, a company that provides real estate data, the Cole, River Stone Apartments and Westwood Pines Apartments have occupancy rates of more than 90%.

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