Road to Redevelopment
A slate of new projects will redefine the Short North
Orange barrels will continue to color the burgeoning Short North as construction continues at several points along High Street, including a residential-retail building across from Hubbard Grille.
Tessa Berg Photos
A year ago, it seemed the muddy, fenced-in, empty lot at the corner of Hubbard Avenue and High street would stay muddy, fenced-in and empty forever. The site is prime real estate, right in the heart of the Short North, but the failure of the planned Ibiza condo development had entangled it in a protracted legal battle.
But things change quickly in this happening neighborhood—especially now, as a flurry of media attention and a trend toward walkable urban neighborhoods quickens the pace. By the end of this year, a new retail-and-residential building called The Hub at Hubbard and High, from partners Elford Development and Wagenbrenner Development will have sprouted at the intersection.
It’s one of many changes this stretch of High Street will undergo in 2013, as the district adds height, housing and parking to its existing mixed-use framework.
“We’re seeing the excitement now,” says John Angelo, executive director of neighborhood business association the Short North Alliance. “The development’s happening from one end of the district to the other.”
Between now and 2014, at least four major developments will pop up between the Interstate 670 overpass and King Avenue, and several smaller projects are already underway. A Pizzuti-backed hotel called The Joseph will rise not far from apartments in Elford Development’s Fireproof Building renovation. New office spaces inside the Wood Companies addition above the Northstar Cafe join retail spots at The Hub and a planned thrift store/HIV-testing center called Out of the Closet. Together, garages at The Hub and The Joseph will add more than 600 parking spaces, making it easier for residents and visitors to explore the neighborhood.
These join the successful High Street Kroger and the Jackson condo building.
“When we look back, this is probably going to be the single most significant five-year period (for development),” says developer Mark Wood of the Wood Companies.
The goal of filling in empty lots and repurposing underused buildings is to reshape the Short North as a bigger, more walkable neighborhood while preserving what makes it attractive, Wood says.
“Unlike in a big new development, you have a lot of different property owners and independent operators,” he explains. “It’s all happening organically. That lends itself to maintaining the character of the neighborhood.”
What’s next for the neighborhood: a continued trek northward. Angelo says to expect more development beyond Fifth Avenue to create a unified area all the way to the South Campus Gateway. Once the city completes a $500,000 engineering survey of the neighborhood, the focus will turn to upgrading sidewalks and streetlights.
All the changes are meant to underscore the Short North’s identity as a creative core for the city—a place where independent business and the arts coexist and thrive—and to get people outside Columbus to take notice of the neighborhood’s successes.
“There’s a high demand, and people are willing to pay for the right product,” Wood says. “The standard has risen.”