Downtown Commission: Affordable Housing Proposed, North Market Tower Approved – columbusunderground

 December 15, 2021 3:03 pm Brent Warren Brent Warren Downtown Commission: Affordable Housing Proposed, North Market Tower ApprovedThe proposal for the Jaycee Arms site includes two new buildings along East Main Street, where there is currently a parking lot. All renderings by Berardi Partners.

A new proposal calls for bringing as many as 140 new apartments, 4,000 square feet of retail, and a new culinary training facility to a block of Downtown that is currently occupied primarily by parking. It was presented to the Downtown Commission this morning for a first round of conceptual feedback.

The site – bounded by East Rich Street to the north, Franklin University to the east, South Fifth Street to the west, and East Main Street to the south – is home to the 11-story, 223-unit Jaycee Arms building, which has held affordable senior housing since the early 1970s and would remain intact (continuing to serve that population) under the plan.

The project is being developed by the North Columbus Jaycee Housing and Development Foundation (a subsidiary of the North Columbus Jaycees, the developer of Jaycee Arms), along with Sunset Development.

Two new buildings are proposed for the south side of the property; each would be five stories tall and contain about 60 apartments over a first floor parking garage and retail space that would front East Main Street.

Architect George Berardi told the commission that the plan is for those two buildings to be built with the help of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, so the apartments would likely be affordable for renters earning between 50% and 80% of the area median income (or AMI, click here for more information on how those percentages translate into rents in Columbus).

On the northwest corner of the site, another five-story building would hold additional community space for Jaycee Arms residents in the basement, and market rate apartments on floors three through five. The first two floors would be reserved for a new culinary training facility that is being developed in partnership with Columbus State Community College and Columbus City Schools.

The overall vision of the project is about “repopulating this large portion of real estate Downtown…completing the block, basically,” Berardi said, adding that “there is more parking right now than is really necessary” for the senior residents of the Jaycee Arms.

Commissioners were largely favorable in their comments, and a staff report stated that the project generally meets the city’s design guidelines (and also that “the Planning Division has encouraged the applicant to consider additional height at this location”).

North Market Tower Approved

Also heard at the meeting was the latest proposal to build a 31-story tower on the North Market parking lot. The design of the project has not changed since it was approved by the Historic Resources Commission last month – it will incorporate an 11,000-square-foot North Market expansion, 170 residential units, 60,000 square feet of office space, a 212-room hotel and a 350-space parking garage, as well as additional bar, restaurant, and retail space.

Representatives of the project’s developer, Rockbridge, answered questions and provided examples of the different materials chosen for the exterior of the building. The commission voted unanimously to approve the project.

A mural shown on some of the renderings of the tower that would fill a portion of the building’s western-facing wall was not a part of the approval – the developer will need return to the commission in the future with more detailed information about the proposed artwork.

For more information on the Downtown Commission, see

Jaycee Arms 4
An overview of the Jaycee Arms proposal.
Jaycee Arms 2
The two new buildings as seen from East Main Street, with the existing Jaycee Arms building in the background.
Jaycee Arms 1
The corner of East Rich Street and South Fifth Street.

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Brent Warren

Brent Warren is a staff reporter for Columbus Underground covering urban development, transportation, city planning, neighborhoods, and other related topics. He grew up in Grandview Heights, lives in the University District and studied City and Regional Planning at OSU.