Earlier this year, property developer Casto constructed 22 single-family homes just east of the old Barrett Middle School, two blocks west of Parsons Avenue and within walking distance of German Village's Schiller Park.

The houses were snapped up within a month or two, even though some of those structures sold for more than $500,000 in an area once considered more sketchy than high-end. Most of the houses, ranging from 1,700 to 2,000 square feet, have three bedrooms with 2.5 baths, designer finishes, basements and attached garages.

When coupled with the redevelopment of the former Barrett Middle School, which includes 103 luxury townhome-style apartments, this little corner of Merion Village has been thoroughly reshaped.

In an area just west of Parsons Avenue, home prices ranged from $399,000 to $515,000, much higher than the average for this neighborhood. Sales of the homes were undoubtedly aided by a 15-year property tax break.

Building costly homes here was not a gamble for Casto, says Hilary Marshall, the company's marketing and public relations manager. Nationwide Children's Hospital is close, near the intersection of Parsons and Livingston avenues, and there is little new housing stock in the neighborhood for hospital employees and other Downtown businesses.

“We did a heavy marketing analysis and we were confident that this would resonate with the neighborhood and home shoppers who were buying right now,” she says.

The area most likely will maintain considerable potential, but for now, Casto has finished its current projects. “We like Columbus' South Side and the Parsons Avenue corridor and all that is going on with Children's Hospital,” says Marshall. “We're always looking for another deal.”