Homeport Joins ‘Hilltop’ Revitalization

Construction On 39 Homes Slated To Start In June

Homeport, in partnership with fellow not for profit Homes on the Hill, will soon begin construction on 39 homes inside the history rich “Hilltop” community of Columbus, replacing properties long neglected and unsafe.

The joint venture “Hilltop Homes II” scattered site project is moving ahead following significant outreach to area residents ready for improvements. The end goal: providing quality, affordable homes in an area with colorful roots.

“We are helping to revitalize a neighborhood,” said Maude Hill, Homeport’s Vice President of Government and Community Relations.

Beginning in June, over a year’s period, vacant lots and a handful of rundown homes with bright red “NO TRESPASSING” signs will be replaced by modern, energy-efficient three-bedroom homes with detached garages and front porches.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit financing of the homes requires that they be rented for 15 years before being eligible for purchase. Income for a family of four cannot exceed 60 percent of the median income for Columbus, which was $42,000 in 2014.

Lane Newcome, an attorney and chair of The Greater Hilltop Area Commission, said West Side residents he has spoken to have taken an “overall positive view of the project” and were pleased their concerns were heard about protecting the independent look of the area’s housing.

“It is exciting to have someone come into the community and really work with the community,” Newcome said.

The Hilltop has an extraordinary history. Originally inhabited by Indians, the land was developed for farming beginning in the late 1700s with the deeding of property to area pioneer Lucas Sullivant.

Home development began with the construction of The National Road or Route 40 in the 1830s, a stretch known today as West Broad Street. The Civil War brought training and staging camps for Union soldiers, and Camp Chase, a Confederate prisoners’ camp that eventually became a cemetery.

The lots Homeport and Homes on the Hill will rebuild are between, north to south, West Broad Street and Freemont Street, Logan Street, Pervience Street and Hope Place, and east to west, Midland and Harris avenues.

Homeport’s construction partner, Homes on the Hill, a community development corporation, has 22 years history of buying, rehabilitating and selling homes on the city’s West Side. It initiated the joint venture with Homeport, a non-profit with 28 years history of building affordable homes in Central Ohio.

Most of the properties in Hilltop Homes II were purchased from Columbus Land Bank and Franklin County Land Bank.

“Their resources were critical to assembling a portfolio of sites that promotes the greatest impact possible on the neighborhood,” said George Tabit, Homeport Vice President for Real Estate Development. Remaining properties were acquired with the help of a real estate agent.