Norton Crossing’s final phase to rise in 2021

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Frank Kass, left, founder and chairman of Continental Real Estate Cos.; Will Kirk, center, president of Hallmark Campus Communities; and Mike Purdum, owner of the Old Bag of Nails Pub, stand Sept. 25 at the recently completed Lofts at Norton Crossing development in Whitehall.

Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2021 on offices and retail space that will complete the $55 million mixed-use Norton Crossing at East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road in Whitehall.

Meanwhile, leasing is underway for the 360 apartments at the Lofts at Norton Crossing apartments, and patrons can enjoy a meal at the Old Bag of Nails Pub, 4661 E. Broad St., that now is open.

The 5,000-square-foot restaurant, four apartment buildings and a swimming pool, fitness center and clubhouse for the tenants of the Lofts at Norton Crossing were completed this year for $45 million. 

A $10 million project to build two office buildings and additional retail is expected to start next year, said Frank Kass, founder and chairman of Continental Real Estate Cos., the developer of Norton Crossing.

Kass said no end users have been confirmed, but likely uses include medical and dental practices, financial institutions and additional restaurants. 

Norton Crossing, when it is finished, will have 40,000 to 60,000 square feet of office space and about 20,000 square feet of retail, Whitehall development director Zach Woodruff said.

“But the market will dictate that,” Woodruff said, adding that the proportion of retail and office allocation is subject to change.

Norton Crossing also will include a 2-acre public park with an amphitheater that could hold live performances, Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said.

“Norton Crossing gives a new look to the intersection (at East Broad Street and North and South Hamilton roads) and will cause people to give Whitehall a second look as a premier place to work, live and play,” Maggard said.

Demolition wrapped up last month on a former check-cashing business at the southwest corner of the intersection, Kass said.

Multiple decades-old structures on 25 acres on the north side of East Broad Street, west of South Hamilton Road, have been demolished since 2015 to make way for Norton Crossing.

Norton Crossing primarily is built upon the former site of the Commons at Royal Landing, a 42-building, 270-unit apartment complex on 17 acres that the city purchased for $5 million from its New Jersey owner in 2016.

The city deeded the former Commons at Royal Landing site to Continental Real Estate for $1.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the Franklin County Community Improvement Corp. funded the $1.5 million demolition of the site that began in December 2017, said Woodruff. 

Norton Crossing also includes a 1-acre parcel at 115 Shumaker Lane where an apartment building once stood that the city bought for $25,000 and demolished in August 2015, and another 1-acre parcel that the Whitehall Community Improvement Corp. gave to the city.

That site was a former McDonald’s restaurant just south of the former Broad and Hamilton Plaza, said Tom Potter, president of the Whitehall Community Improvement Corp.

The group purchased the parcel for $80,300 in November 2016. 

In 2018, Whitehall closed on the $1.5 million purchase of the Broad and Hamilton Plaza, a 1.16-acre retail strip center at 51-91 S. Hamilton Road that once included the Shrimp Hut and Tacos Fogoncito.

Continental Real Estate also negotiated the purchase of three apartment buildings immediately north of the plaza, plus a former computer store on East Broad Street, just east of Holiday Lanes, 4589 E. Broad St., that also are part of Norton Crossing.

When all the parcels are combined, Norton Crossing is about a 25-acre development, Woodruff said.

Of the 360 apartments at the Lofts at Norton Crossing, 80% are one bedroom and 20% are two bedrooms, but they vary in size, said Will Kirk, president of Hallmark Campus Communities.

The swimming pool is attached to the Old Bag of Nails Pub but is accessible only to the tenants.

The restaurant is the 16th location owner Mike Purdum has opened in Ohio since the flagship store opened in Worthington in 1996. 

Its design matches that of the Old Bag of Nails Pub that opened in February at the Marina Lofts in Toledo, Purdum said. 

It is within a similar mixed-use development on the Maumee River waterfront that also was developed by Continental Real Estate, Purdum said.

Whitehall’s Old Bag is the only one in central Ohio to serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“We are doing that so the people living there have (an) option (for breakfast),” Purdum said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekCorvo