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An elevator was a major addition for Linda Bettac and other residents at 1379 N. High Street

An elevator was a major addition for Linda Bettac and other residents at 1379 N. High Street

Improvements To North High Street Building 'Awesome'

For eight months Linda Bettac and 19 of her senior neighbors -- ages 62 and up -- lived on the East Side, 11 miles from their three-story rental apartment building close to Ohio State University.

But in the final weeks of June, Bettac and her neighbors happily returned to 1379 North High Street. They found new kitchen appliances, sinks, cabinets, counter tops, flooring, hall handrails, plumbing, and one very significant addition -- an elevator.

“There were completely renovated kitchens and bathrooms. All new plumbing," said Chris Caugherty, Homeport’s construction manager.

Said Bettac, a second floor resident: “I plan to be here a long while.”

James Rogers, another second floor resident, agreed. “ “It’s just awesome. The elevator is a Godsend because I have had both knees replaced.” 

The move-in on North High marks the final phase of a $9 million, three-site historic rehabilitation initiative by Homeport. Homeport purchased the properties in 2014 from Townhomes Management and rebranded it “Victorian Heritage.”

“The goal was to keep moderate-income residents in emerging neighborhoods near OSU,” said Homeport Interim President/CEO Bruce Luecke.

As May closed out, Homeport completed renovations and upgrades on 17 two-story, two-bedroom apartments on Fifth Avenue and Hamlet Street just east of Summit Street.

The buildings – constructed in 1909 – are at the southern border of Weinland Park, an area in which the city of Columbus and OSU have invested heavily to revitalize.

In December, beginning Christmas Eve, eight families returned to two two-story 115-year-old brick buildings west of High Street at Clark and Dennison avenues near the Short North.

And now the third phase is complete on a 1951 built, North High Street brick building with 34 one-bedroom apartments.

In the process of rehabbing all the buildings of Victorian Heritage, Homeport was able to receive historic designations for the properties. The designations resulted in additional construction funds.

The 40 improvements on North High by Homeport will keep federally subsidized housing residents in place not far from new “luxury” four-bedroom apartments being leased for $2,900 a month on King Avenue.

Nearby Kroger at King Avenue and North High Street

Nearby Kroger at King Avenue and North High Street

The revitalized Homeport property on North High is appreciated for a number of reasons, residents there say, and the property manager, Townhomes Management, does not expect there to be a problem leasing 14 apartments not currently rented.

The property is on a COTA bus line, across from Campus Laundry and a Dollar Store, within a short walk of a large and modern Kroger, and a block from Hungry Howie’s pizza shop and other restaurants. 

A new Columbus Metropolitan Library branch is being built nearby on the same side of High Street.

Bettac said the return to her building – while not the same unit – is a homecoming that is very much appreciated and a little different from others in her building: she attended schools nearby including one in Weinland Park.

“It wasn’t as awesome looking place as it is now,” Bettac said.

Final touches for the building call for an awning at the North High entrance

Final touches for the building call for an awning at the North High entrance