City: Westgate on the rise

John Ross, Columbus Alive

Never heard of Westgate?

You'd have to see it to believe it.

Embedded in the gray, amorphous West Side, the residential enclave with cozy houses, tree-lined streets and close-knit community is luring young professionals looking to own their first homes.

"We were interested in Clintonville, but we couldn't really afford Clintonville," said Caleb Ely, who about a year ago moved to Westgate with his wife and two children. "Prices in Westgate were insanely reasonable."

Their story is common among Westgaters.

Turned away by prices elsewhere, the Elys heard about Westgate, stowed their wariness of the West Side and took a drive. Almost immediately, they fell in love with its quaint, inviting look and feel.

The area is bounded by South Hague Avenue on the east, Demorest Road on the west, West Broad Street on the north and Sullivant Avenue on the south.

"When we first moved in, we had neighbors bring over a welcome basket," Ely said. "We've met multiple friends just by walking on the street."

A welcome basket on the West Side? You'd have to receive it to believe it.

"A lot of us who have lived here for a while, if we have visitors who know Columbus, they are very surprised we're here," said Mari Ann Futty, a 14-year resident who serves as president of the Westgate Neighbors Association.

Many residents hope that the family-friendly neighborhood also becomes a great place to get a good cup of coffee, a delicious sit-down meal and a beer. They hope that an influx of creative professionals inspires commercial development along the West Broad and Sullivant corridors.

"There are lots of signs that people are investing in the community," said Josh Quinn, who lives in Westgate and owns the Tigertree boutique in the Short North with his wife, Niki.

Late last year, artist Nicholas Gonzalez opened NRG Gallery at 3105 W. Broad St. A neighborhood coffee shop has also been discussed by several residents.

For now, Westgaters frequent a random collection of hidden restaurants, food carts and a great Mexican bakery attached to a drive-through beverage store.

"These places aren't marketing to a wider audience, so you have to find out about them," Quinn said.

Westgate Neighbors Association