From the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority's press release:
The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and national nonprofit The Community Builders announced today it has completed the $4 million acquisition of the United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO) downtown headquarters and property.
The move clears the way for CMHA and TCB to proceed on the development of AspireCOLUMBUS, a new $70 million, 12-story building that will combine up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space on the first two floors and 136 affordable apartment homes on the remaining upper 10 floors.
“AspireCOLUMBUS is an innovative, mixed-use project that will set a new standard for inclusive excellence in downtown development,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman.
“We have put community, opportunity, diversity, and affordability at the core of this plan and the vision is to remain committed to those principles for decades to come,” Hillman said. “Our intention for AspireCOLUMBUS is to prove that you can add a new piece to the Columbus skyline while also providing housing opportunities for residents across the income spectrum.”
Anticipated next steps in the project’s evolution include:
The CMHA Board of Commissioners is tentatively scheduled to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in November/December and hire a demolition firm in January 2024 that will raze the United Way’s existing three-story building.
Demolition is expected to be completed in early 2024, weather permitting.
Groundbreaking on the site to begin construction is roughly set for early 2025, with construction to be finished during 2026.
The grand opening is targeted for early 2027.
Housing choices will vary from studio to 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units. Eligible households are those earning between 80% or below of the Area Media Income in Columbus which, for example, is approximately $55,550 for an individual and $79,350 for a family of four.
UWCO announced the selection of the AspireCOLUMBUS proposal from CMHA and TCB for the sale of its headquarters site at 360 S. Third St. last year.
"There is an indisputable need for affordable housing in central Ohio, particularly in the vicinity of schools, jobs, and public transportation,” said Lisa Courtice, CEO and President of United Way of Central Ohio.
“Soon, the location that served as our headquarters for more than 40 years will become a beacon of what's possible when investors and developers come together to serve the greater good. We are very pleased that our vision is becoming a reality."
Battelle Memorial Institute Foundation donated the 1.08-acre site to United Way of Central Ohio in 1978 for use as its headquarters. When the nonprofit decided to sell the property, it enlisted the help of a Real Estate Task Force consisting of United Way employees, board members, community volunteers and outside advisors, who reviewed all proposals submitted and provided a final recommendation to the United Way Board of Trustees to accept the CMHA/TCB proposal.
AspireCOLUMBUS will hold true to the history of the site by selecting partners for the non-residential spaces in the building who adhere to the UWCO’s mission and values – neighborhood-serving uses that meet community needs, from early education to minority-owned business development.
It’s the first-ever collaboration between CMHA and TCB and represents TCB’s first investment in Columbus, one of the nation’s hottest housing and commercial real estate markets. Established in 1964, TCB opened its Columbus office in 2019 and is a leading nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing, completing over 33,000 multifamily homes across 15 states and the District of Columbia.
“TCB looks forward to providing an exciting new future for 360 S. Third Street,” said Jeff Beam, TCB regional vice president for real estate development.
“Our partnership with CMHA combines national experience with local knowledge to expand housing opportunity for Columbus residents and spark new business investments. We share the values of United Way and look forward to making Columbus an even more inclusive and vibrant city.”
TCB and CMHA has selected Moody Nolan to lead the design team. Headquartered in Columbus and with 11 regional offices across the U.S., Moody Nolan has grown since its founding 40 years ago to become the largest African American-owned and -operated architectural firm in the country and is the 2021 recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 Architecture Firm Award, the AIA’s highest honor. Moody Nolan is the first African American firm in the U.S. to earn this recognition.
The funding sources for AspireCOLUMBUS will include New Markets Tax Credits equity, traditional debt, CMHA funding, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and potential “gap” funding from state and local partners.
CMHA will lead the overall development for AspireCOLUMBUS, including programming, design and construction oversight based on decades of experience developing and owning housing in Central Ohio. TCB will be the co-developer, bringing substantial experience with mixed-income and mixed-use development and financial structuring from multiple other regional and national markets.
The proposed redevelopment of the United Way of Central Ohio site comes amid a well-documented shortage of affordable housing in Central Ohio. Only 29 affordable housing units are available for every 100 extremely low-wage earning households in the Columbus and Franklin County area. In Franklin County, roughly 54,000 families spend more than half of their income on housing, according to the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.
For more information, visit cmhanet.com.