Apartments have drawn attention during the final steps toward making Bridge Park a reality.

Apartments have drawn attention during the final steps toward making Bridge Park a reality.

When Dublin City Council members last week heard details about an economic development agreement that would be the final step to start Bridge Park, discussion on apartments was nearly as plentiful as the 700-plus apartments planned in the development.

"For a lot of folks a reference to apartments conjures up an image," Council member Tim Lecklider said, adding that it is not a pleasant one.

According to a July 10 staff memo to council, about 375 apartments are planned in the first phase, and officials from Bridge Park developer Crawford Hoying said they're needed in Dublin.

>> Crawford Hoying officials anxious to begin construction

Crawford Hoying principal and founder Brent Crawford said apartments are critical for the housing health of Dublin as baby boomers age out of large homes and young professionals look to rent rather than buy a home.

"These are renters by choice rather than renters by means," Crawford said.

"They make the choice that 'I don't want to own.' "

According to research done by the city and Crawford Hoying, the apartments will add to the live, work and play atmosphere of Bridge Park that is expected to draw talent and companies to Dublin.

"Tenants are coming to Bridge Park that otherwise would have left Dublin," Crawford said.

The apartments are also expected to keep in the city empty-nesters looking to downsize as well as bring in young professionals.

Forty condominiums planned for Bridge Park West are nearly all spoken for, Crawford said, and most are empty-nesters looking to sell their large Dublin homes.

"The baby boomers are driving this trend," he said.

The apartments planned in Bridge Park will include studio and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, Crawford said.

Crawford Hoying also developed The Lane in Upper Arlington with apartments, office, retail and restaurant space.

According to Crawford, 40 percent of residents renting there are age 60 or older.

Crawford expects the apartments in Bridge park to bring in few people with children, adding a negligible amount of new students to the population in the school district.

Of the few children that live at The Lane, Crawford said only one is new to the school district.

With other apartments being built throughout Columbus, Councilman Richard Gerber asked why more are needed.

According to Crawford, Dublin is one of the suburbs with the fewest number of apartments for the size of the city.

Apartments being built throughout central Ohio are being leased quickly, but Dublin remains under-served, Crawford said.

The apartments at Bridge Park will also offer something other apartments don't: a walkable environment.

"This is creating a destination in Dublin," Crawford said of Bridge Park.

Construction on the first phase of Bridge Park hinges on the approval of an economic development agreement that includes funding mechanisms for public improvements and roadways, as well as a $43 million investment from Dublin to build roads and two parking garages.

Dublin City Council members heard the first reading of the agreement July 13. A vote is expected on the agreement Aug. 10.

"These are renters by choice rather than renters by means. They make the choice that 'I don't want to own.' ... Tenants are coming to Bridge Park that otherwise would have left Dublin."

-- BRENT CRAWFORD

Crawford Hoying principal and founder