'Eakin Station' Plans Get Columbus Council Support
Homeport’s commitment to continue building affordable homes on The Hilltop got a significant boost in February with a rezoning approval from the Columbus City Council.
The council on Feb. 13 unanimously approved a Planned Unit Development change that supports Homeport’s goal of building 40 homes on a vacant parcel it has rights to purchase north of Eakin Road and the Southwest Square Shopping Center.
Tentatively called “Eakin Station,” the new development calls for eight one-bedroom, 28 two- bedroom and four, three-bedroom cottage style apartments east of Whitethorn Avenue. Entrance to the community would be through the eastern extension of Dartmoor Road.
“Quality, affordable housing is terribly needed for working families who in some cases are paying 50 percent of their income to rent,” said Jim Baugh, Homeport Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development. “Adding 40 units of affordable housing in Columbus is huge.”
Under the proposal, income for a family of four could not exceed 60 percent of the median income for Columbus. For a family of four, the maximum income to be an Eakin Station resident would be $41,760.
The council approval was required even though Homeport’s development plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in density. City zoning laws requiring all amendments to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to go back before the council. The Greater Hilltop Area Commission had approved the change to the PUD previously.
Development of the property is contingent upon an award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Homeport won’t learn until July if the LIHTC credits have been awarded.
HOME funding from the City of Columbus and other sources would be needed to round out the construction financing for Eakin Station. Construction costs are estimated at $5.5 million with a total development price tag of $7.6 million.
Eakin Station would represent Homeport’s second recent initiative to help revitalize the West Side. In 2016, Homeport completed Hilltop Homes II, 39 one and two story, 3-bedroom single family homes scattered in the South Central section of the Hilltop.
Assuming financial credit approvals and environmental reviews, Eakin Station construction could begin summer 2018 with homes available the middle of 2019.
The apartments are expected to be popular due to their proximity to amenities such as a Kroger in the Southwest Square Shopping Center as well as drug stores and fast food outlets on nearby Harrisburg Pike. Several churches are also close.
All the apartments will offer first floor entrances to make them appeal to seniors and individuals with disabilities, in addition to younger families.