The city of Whitehall will partner with Miami-based NR Investments and others to create a master plan for the $250 million development of 50 acres at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and North Hamilton Road.
“Our goal is to have a draft of a site plan finished in six to eight weeks,” Whitehall development director Zach Woodruff said March 11.
The parcel includes the shuttered Woodcliff Condominiums and the former Four Seasons Golf Center, Woodruff said.
The golf center was known for its giant, inflatable dome before it closed in 2017; the Woodcliff Condominiums complex, now abandoned, was puchased in 2018 by the city of Whitehall.
NR Investments will be the lead developer of the site, Woodruff said, but many other firms will be involved.
They include DPZ, a Miami-based urban-planning firm; Columbus-based M + A Architects; Columbus-based Ruscilli Construction Co.; Columbus-based E.P. Ferris & Associates, a civil-engineering firm; and NAI Ohio Equities, a Columbus-based real-estate broker.
The Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority also have roles in the project’s planning, Woodruff said.
“NR is excited to redevelop this 50-acre site in partnership with the city of Whitehall for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because the city shares our vision to use design and placemaking to inspire community building,” said Terry Wellons, chief operating officer of NR Investments.
After speaking with about a dozen development firms over the past six months, Woodruff said it was clear NR Investments was on the same page as Whitehall concerning development of the parcel.
“What impressed us the most (about NR Investments) was their vision and goals for the property aligned with ours,” Woodruff said, as well as the firm’s 60 years of experience.
While many details are yet to be put to paper, Woodruff said the development will have a mix of uses.
The development will include anywhere from 600 to 1,000 residential units, of which 20% will be “workforce housing,” Woodruff said.
Owners or tenants of workforce housing must meet financial requirements, including household income that does not exceed a set limit, he said.
“Our goal is to create a community with housing for everyone,” Woodruff said.
The parcel will include retail and office uses and could include medical offices associated with Mount Carmel East hospital, located about 3 miles east of the land, Woodruff said.
The city will schedule public sessions, yet to be determined, to receive community input on the site plan, Woodruff said.
The 50-acre site borders the city’s 80-acre Whitehall Community Park, which could provide opportunities to connect the future development to the recreational resources there, such as the Community Park YMCA.
“While we may be a new player in the Columbus region, we bring the experience necessary to make this project unique to the Whitehall community and we look forward to really showcasing the adjacent 80-acre Community Park,” Wellons said.
The development will allow the city to recoup the $10.3 million it invested to purchase Woodcliff Condominiums, Woodruff said.
The complex was the subject of property-code violations and other complaints the city filed in Franklin County’s Environmental Court dating back to 2007; a court-ordered sale of the property in 2018 put Woodcliff Condominiums in the hands of the city.
Demolition of the more than 300 vacant units on the site is expected to begin by the end of the year and should take four to six months to complete, Woodruff said.
The city reacquired the 15-acre site that once was Four Seasons Golf Center after opting not to renew a land lease in March 2016; the golf center ceased operations in February 2017 following an out-of-court settlement with Whitehall stemming from the lease dispute.
Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said the city will work closely with all the firms involved toward realizing the full potential of the development, not only for Whitehall but the region.
“I’m very excited to partner with NR Investments in the redevelopment of the former Woodcliff property,” Maggard said. “We will work closely with (all involved) to create innovative strategies and plans to maximize the full potential of this site for our residents, businesses and the central Ohio region.”
The project will occur in phases that likely will extend to the end of the decade, Woodruff said.