Critical Funding In Place For ‘Victorian Heritage’

Federal Loan Ensures Low Income Housing In Emerging Neighborhoods

Homeport’s plans to renovate low income rental apartments for seniors and families in North-Central Columbus will be advancing this spring thanks to a $590,000 low interest loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.

The federal dollars were integral to the $9 million in improvements Homeport intends to make on properties near The Ohio State University, Victorian Village and Weinland Park. A total of 59 federally subsidized rental apartments will be renovated including:

  • 34 one bedroom apartments for seniors at 1379 N. High Street, part of a gateway block to the University district which has seen increased focus and redevelopment since Kroger’s $10 million investment three years ago.
  • 8 two-bedroom townhouses for families at Clark and Dennison Avenues in Victorian Village in a federal historic district.
  • 17 two-bedroom townhouses for families at 5th Avenue and Hamlet Street at the southern edge of Weinland Park.

The communities south of the university have grown in value with the addition of shops, markets and a desire by many to relocate to core or central communities of Columbus. The demand, the subject of recent stories in the Wall Street Journal and Columbus Dispatch, has boosted real estate values, impacting housing for residents of modest incomes.

“Homeport purchased the properties with the intention of preserving affordable homes in ‘emerging neighborhoods,’” said Lisa Minklei, Homeport’s project manager for the three properties known together as Victorian Heritage. “That was the key – and maintaining the historic integrity of the buildings.”

The property at 1379 N. High Street, built in 1951 with an Art Deco glass block façade, was placed on Columbus’ register of historic places in 2014 and received an allocation of historic credits in the same year. Homeport, beginning this spring, will enhance the building’s kitchens and bath rooms. An elevator will be added to keep second and third floor apartments accessible to aging residents with physical issues. A no-step entry will be added to the building. Numerous energy-conscious upgrades, including new windows and heating and air conditioning systems will provide more affordable utility bills.

The first of the buildings to be renovated, beginning March or April, will be the eight, all-brick townhouses at Clark and Dennison. Constructed in 1901 and part of the Victorian Village National Register of Historic Places, the townhouses will receive major improvements to kitchens, baths, cabinetry and roofs, as well as cooling and heating systems. 

Around the same time, improvements will be made to 17 townhouses that are part of the southern border of Weinland Park.  Constructed in 1909, they have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as historically significant examples of terraced apartment homes constructed of molded concrete block. The major change will be new fixtures and cabinetry.  Vinyl plank flooring will be installed in living areas, kitchens and baths, with carpeting in bedrooms and closets. Basements will remain accessible, with hookups for laundry facilities. Each unit will receive a new high efficiency furnace and water heater. New high efficiency AC condensers will be located to the rear of the units, in existing locations.

During the course of all three building renovations residents will be temporarily relocated to other homes. The cost of moving will be covered by Homeport. Should rents increase in the short run, Homeport will make up the difference.