By Evan Weese
Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. is moving ahead with a plan to build new condominiums adjacent to McFerson Commons in a project that would be the final piece of the original Arena District master plan.
Nationwide Realty President Brian Ellis said the development is targeted for the surface parking lot next to the Eye Center, a prime piece of real estate.
“We’ve saved the best site for last,” he said. “It’s going to have tremendous views of the downtown skyline, it’s going to be situated on not one but two parks – McFerson to the east and North Bank to the south – and just fabulous views right down the river. This is going to be a tremendous site.”
The Eye Center at 262 Neil Ave. and its surface lot are bordered by Neil Avenue to the west, New Public Lane on the north, McFerson Commons on the east and Spring Street to the south.
The condos will be developed in multiple phases, with each a separate for-sale residential building, Ellis said. Specifics such as height, square footage and the number of buildings are still being determined.
“We’re just getting started with our architectural designs (and) I’m hoping that if things go well that we’ll be in a position to break ground yet this year,” Ellis said.
NRI spokeswoman Tina Guegold said the project likely won’t include office or retail space.
Ellis said the condominium complex, flanking NRI’s North Bank condo tower across Neil Avenue, will provide another boost to downtown’s residential boom.
“Downtown residential in general is the most important thing about taking downtown Columbus from good to great,” he said. “We’ve accomplished our goals for downtown development when it’s thought of as mixed-use. But when it’s thought of as residential, as a great residential neighborhood of Columbus … I think it’s not far off.”
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