Columbus' Apartment Boom
Last year was a banner one for Downtown Columbus in terms of new apartments being built. And this year is expected to be even better with a reported 600 more units being added Downtown.
“I think it’s absolutely continued to move upwards,” says Rob Vogt, managing partner at Vogt Strategic Insights. “One of the fastest-growing markets in real estate is single-person households. Single people want to be where the action is, and I don’t see that changing at all.”
Young, single people aren’t the only people moving Downtown, though. Vogt says baby boomers are making the switch from suburban living to city life. As they head into retirement the idea of living in the suburbs and maintaining a large house “isn’t quite as appealing” as they get older, says Vogt.
Of course, you can’t talk about housing without mentioning the Great Recession. It left its mark on many people, including millennials who saw their families live through the housing crisis. On top of that, millennials now also have student debt.
“When you start weighing those things, it just points to why apartment living is such a valuable alternative today,” Vogt says.
Seven of Downtown’s hottest new apartment complexes are included in this round-up. Although each is unique, several features were present in all of them including in-unit washing machines and dryers as well as on-site parking. All of the apartments are pet-friendly, but certain restrictions and additional fees apply. Except 303, all of the apartments incorporate residential, commercial and retail into the space, ranging from a coffee shop in River and Rich to a co-working space in Gravity to an upscale cocktail bar in The Citizens.
Several of the apartments—Gravity, Hubbard Park Place, River and Rich, and 80 on the Commons—were still under construction on the magazine’s deadline in late February. Buildings were expected to be completed by spring or early summer.
Vogt doesn’t think the demand for Downtown housing will slow any time soon. As millennials age, he is not expecting a huge exodus to the suburbs for two reasons: walkability challenges and a lack of lifestyle communities in Central Ohio.
“I don’t think we’re going to see the exodus out of apartments that we saw in 2003 and 2004,” he says. “I think it will be the developer who thinks about lifestyle more than brick and mortar who figures out [how to keep millennials in the city].”
Residents who live at The Citizens don’t have to go far to enjoy a drink at one of the city’s best cocktail bars or dinner in a top restaurant. All they need to do is walk downstairs. Located in the historic Citizens Savings and Trust at Gay and High streets, The Citizens shares the building with the restaurant Veritas, as well as its bar, The Citizens Trust.
Built in 1917 as The Citizens Savings and Trust Company, many of the historical features in the building are still present today, from a bank vault that is now a mail room to the beautifully restored, coffered ceiling. Dark wood touches, cushy sofas and old bank notes used to accent apartment unit numbers pay homage to the building’s history and architectural style.
“I think they like the character and the charm of the old building,” says property manager Jan Nicolosi. “There’s definitely a vibe to some of the apartments. There’s a New York City vibe.”
The Citizens has 63 units, and the current occupancy rate is in the low 90th percentile. Its smaller size makes the building a good fit for people looking to test out city living, Nicolosi says, whether that’s empty nesters or just those who work Downtown and want to eliminate the traffic hassle.
Studios start at $1,120; one-bed, one-bath apartments start at $1,319; one-bed, one-bath plus den apartments start at $1,707; two-bed, two bath apartments start at $1,924; two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath apartments start at $2,782; two-bed, two-bath plus den apartments start at $2,554; and three-bed, two-bath apartments start at $3,163.
Besides Veritas and Citizens Trust, residents also have access to a 24-hour gym, a rooftop terrace and community room. They’ll also have access to an outdoor pool when The Nicholas—which like The Citizens is owned by Edwards Communities—opens next door this spring. bethecitizens.com
When asked how long it has taken to see Gravity started, Mike Schott, director of community development at Kaufman Development, laughs. “Brett would say his whole life,” he says. Schott means Brett Kaufman, the founder and CEO of Kaufman Development. Gravity is the culmination of Kaufman’s long-held vision to create a multi-purpose community that serves its tenants and the neighborhood.
Located on 4.5 acres on West Broad Street in Franklinton, Gravity is impossible to miss. Its 550,000 square feet includes office and retail spaces, 234 apartment units, a myriad of indoor and outdoor community spaces, a roof deck and a parking garage. Studio apartments begin at $835 for 416 square feet and top out at $1,355 for 716 square feet. One-bed, one-bath units start at $1,385 for 732 square feet and two-bed, two-bath units start at $1,745 for 1,054 square feet.
When we visited Gravity, construction crews were still at work, preparing for the first tenants to move in this spring. Local artist Mandi Caskey was painting a mural in the main stairway that spans all six floors. Amid the dust, certain features stood out: the balconies (every unit has one), the large white subway tiles in the showers, spacious walk-in closets and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the neighborhood.
The biggest amenity at Gravity is what it represents: community. Hallway nooks that will soon be filled with couches and tables are generously positioned on each floor to encourage neighbors to meet. On the commercial side, Pelotonia, Roosevelt Coffeehouse, Cova Cowork and BARK have settled in. As soon as Gravity’s walls were up, it began hosting events, from meditation workshops to rooftop yoga to cocktail mixology classes to communal dinners.
“Our whole goal is to build a neighborhood,” Schott says. “It’s just about looking at the web of the community, and then we’ll be building the physical spaces. People will come and learn and activate those spaces and hopefully over time people will just see everything that is around them and be an engaged, intentional neighbor. That’s our goal.” gravityproject.com
Hubbard Park Place
You would be forgiven for not noticing anything different about Hubbard Park Place if you were to walk by the apartment complex on Park Street. Don’t get us wrong: The Park building—the Hubbard and Wall buildings round out the property—is a lovely, sand-colored brick structure that bears architectural features similar to the homes around it in Victorian Village. That was intentional, says Joel Lilly, COO/CFO of Schiff Capital Group, the real estate firm overseeing Hubbard Park Place.
“You want to do something that is well received by the neighbors,” he says. Leslie Joseph, the property’s community manager, agrees. “One of the most exciting things for us is the neighborhood has welcomed us,” she says.
Hubbard Park Place offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units from 700 to 1,740 square feet. Studio units start at $1,675; one-bed, one-bath units start at $1,695; one-bed, one-and-a-half-bath units start at $1,895; two-bed, two-bath units start at $2,300; two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath units start at $3,300; and three-bed, three-bath units start at $3,700. The three buildings are connected by the parking garage.
Billed as “modern luxury,” Hubbard Park Place offers upscale features not found in every Downtown apartment including 36-inch Verona ranges and KitchenAid double ovens in the kitchens; double sinks and marble floors in the master baths; and custom, wood-built closets in the bedrooms.
Outside the Park building sits an 18th century lion fountain from France. Antique gas lanterns light up the exterior entries of the building. Inside, community amenities include a fitness room, a steam room, a grand living room on the first floor and two clubrooms on the roof. The real showstopper is the rooftop pool and hot tub, which looked impressive even on a rainy, February day.
Tenants have already moved into the Park building and more will move into the other two buildings when they open in March. “One of the things that we hear is they don’t want to give anything up,” Joseph says. “We’re selling a lifestyle.” hubbardparkplace.com
Nestled in the Columbus skyline, LeVeque Tower has loomed large in the city since it opened in 1927. After a $27 million renovation was completed in 2017, the skyscraper on West Broad Street welcomed its first residential tenants.
With 69 units spread across floors 19 to 33 (plus eight condos on floors 34 through 37), LVQ has fewer tenants than other downtown apartments, making it an excellent choice for those who want the benefits of city living as well as a smaller, quiet community.
LVQ offers one-bed, one-bath units starting at $1,425; one-bed, two-bath units with a den starting at $2,175; two-bed, two-bath units starting at $2,185; and two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath units starting at $2,900.
The developers stayed true to LeVeque Tower’s roots, with beautifully restored Art Deco accents in the lobby including gilded elevator doors and a colorful ceiling mural. Inside the apartments it’s a thoroughly modern affair with quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and marble floors. The standout feature throughout is the sweeping view of Downtown—or views rather, as there are plenty of windows in each unit allowing residents to see the city from several angles.
With Hotel LeVeque occupying the floors below, residents can take advantage of the same amenities hotel guests have including valet, dry cleaning and carryout from The Keep, the trendy top-tier restaurant located on the second floor. Separate from hotel guests, residents have their own gym and the ease of unique, house accounts. They can skip the cash and charge purchases such as dry cleaning, valet, Starbucks (located onsite) and dinner at The Keep to their house accounts, which are billed every two weeks.
“People want that big-city, luxury living,” says Simran Khatra, the senior community curator for several Kaufman properties, including LVQ and 80 on the Commons (see Page 132). “People are looking for that lifestyle with the amenities.”
It appears Khatra is right. LVQ is currently at 100 percent occupancy, but those interested may sign a wait list. livekaufman.com/communities/the-leveque
River and Rich
With colorful, local art adorning the buildings and a clubhouse that features a shuffleboard table and pet treat station, River and Rich is a perfect fit for Franklinton, a historic enclave that is home to artists and a growing number of young, Downtown dwellers.
“It’s very close-knit,” community manager Lauren Davidson says of the neighborhood. “That was very important to the developers to incorporate local artists.”
One of several new developments in the neighborhood, River and Rich opened in November 2017 and is close to Land-Grant Brewing Company, the arts complex 400 West Rich and BrewDog, where residents recently gathered for a happy hour. Residents looking to stretch their legs and take in the outdoors are a short walk from Bicentennial Park and the Scioto Greenway.
Spread across eight buildings are 233 one- and two-bedroom units as well as two live-and-work units. River and Rich is also home to ROY G BIV art gallery and One Line Coffee House. One-bed, one-bath units start at $959, and two-bed, two-bath units start at $1,649. The kitchen comes in two color schemes: espresso cabinets with light granite countertops and white cabinets with dark countertops. All units feature energy efficient appliances, oversized windows and open floor plans. Select units include large kitchen islands, attached garages and patios.
Inside, residents have access to a fitness center, bike storage and the aforementioned clubhouse which includes a pool table, free wifi and a TV. Outside, the buildings are anchored together by an expansive courtyard featuring a pool, a grilling area, a firepit, and perhaps most unique, a shipping container that will be repurposed as a cabana.
“The pool is a surprise to most people,” Davidson says. It makes sense. Although several downtown apartments have pools, it’s still more of an anomaly Downtown than it is in the suburbs. Construction on the outdoor area should be finished in time for warm summer days. riverandrichcolumbus.com
80 on the Commons
Those interested in 80 on the Commons would do well to move in before this year’s Red, White & Boom celebration. With its sixth-floor rooftop terrace overlooking Columbus Commons and beyond, the modern high-rise on East Rich Street offers an ideal location to take in Ohio’s largest fireworks display. (Most other complexes listed here will also provide good views for Downtown’s big Independence Day celebration.)
Opened in 2018, 80 on the Commons is another mixed-use property from Kaufman Development. Floors one through six are commercial space, and floors six through 12 are residential. There are 125 units consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Studio units start at $1,175; one-bed, one-bath units start at $1,400; two-bed, two-bath units start at $2,300; and two-bed, two-bath units with dens start at $3,900.
Residents can also host their own events in the community room on the sixth floor. With free Wi-Fi and cable, a large pantry, dishwasher, sink and mini fridge, people have everything they need to host a meeting, birthday party or movie night.
With open floor plans and oversized windows with city views, each apartment feels spacious and airy. Gourmet kitchens, large bathrooms, walk-in closets and private balconies play into 80 on the Commons’ goal to provide “elevated urban living.” A complimentary recycling program, smart thermostat technology and covered bike parking are added touches for the environmentally conscious, urban resident.
“People want new, and this is new. If they move into the unit, they’re the first to live there,” says Simran Khatra.
Residents also want to meet new people in informal environments. To accommodate this, 80 on the Commons hosts monthly resident events and weekly workout classes based on residents’ requests in the full-size gym. Yoga, cooking classes, brewery tours, gift wrapping and volunteer outings are just a few of the community events available to residents. 80 on the Commons also teamed up with its sister building, 250 High, for a joint yoga class.
“It’s a huge selling point,” Khatra says of the programming. “People love the fact that they can connect with others without having to put themselves out there.” livekaufman.com/communities/80-on-the-commons
Inside the lobby of 303, there’s a map of Columbus that spans the wall. It’s a fitting accent for an apartment complex that is within walking distance of many local favorites including the Brewery District, Bicentennial Park and Columbus Commons. “The location is great here for sure,” says Alexandra Ruegg, senior property manager of 303 as well as Borror’s four other urban properties.
The complex opened in November 2017, and features 89 studio, one- and two-bedroom units. Studios start at $995; one-bed, one-bath units start at $1,299; and two-bed, two-bath units start at $2,095. The units feature open floor plans, hardwood floors, tall windows, sliding barn doors and open-ceiling bedrooms, giving them a loft-style feel. Small touches such as Edison bulbs and dimming shades add extra finesse.
Community amenities include a rooftop deck with a larger grilling station and a community room with a small kitchenette. Although 303 doesn’t have a gym, it has a partnership with Powerhouse Gym so residents can become members there. Unique to 303 and other Borror properties is a VIP program that gives residents discounts at local retailers and restaurants, including Balboa, CorePower Yoga, Short North Food Hall, Hadley’s and Standard Hall.
The complex also hosts monthly events for residents, such as pumpkin painting in October and gift wrapping in December. “[Residents] want that community feel,” says Ruegg. “There’s a saying [in property management] that it’s 80 percent the person … We make the connection.” the303columbus.com