What's left of the old Columbus Maennerchor building, which has been vacant for years, could be demolished to make way for a multi-family condominium complex.

Galbreath Properties of Dublin wants to build a new 31/2-story, 18-unit residential development on the, 966 S. High St. site in the Brewery District.

That would mean a definitive end to the former Maennerchor headquarters, which opened in 1921.

Meanwhile, Maennerchor officials want to build an expansion on the German Heritage House, 976 S. High St., the current headquarters of the German singing society.

The roughly 2,000-square-foot addition would be bookended by the condo development and the Heritage House.

Werner Niehaus, president of the Columbus Maennerchor, said the new building would be used for rehearsal space and storage for the music library and historic documentation.

"Our choirs are growing again so we need bigger rehearsal space," Niehaus said. "It's a good thing we're growing again, getting attention of the young people. It's a good sign."

David Galbreath, president of Galbreath Development, said his company's proposal will involve 15 two-bedroom condos and three one-bedroom units.

A parking lot would be located under the building.

Galbreath Properties purchased the roughly 0.3-acre property from the Columbus City Schools district for $460,000 at an auction in November. The sale of the land is contingent on Columbus' approval of the development plans, which got a cursory review Jan. 5 by the Brewery District Commission.

Commission members expressed overall support for the project but had concerns about the density and facade design.

"Careful attention is being paid to the project's scale and character so that it does not compete with the historical significance of the district," Galbreath said.

The Columbus City Schools Board of Education purchased the Maennerchor property for $1.3 million in 2011 to make way for a renovation and expansion of Stewart Alternative Elementary School, directly to the east.

Galbreath's purchase of the Maennerchor site was $135,000 more than the appraised value of the land, noted Scott Varner, spokesman for the school district.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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