We Can Only Go Up from Here

May 28, 2023News

Megan Meyer
City of Whitehall 

We Can Only Go Up from Here
High Density Mixed Use Planned to Replace Blighted Neighborhood in Whitehall

Like in life, it’s not the hand your dealt that defines you in economic development. It’s about how you play your cards and capitalize on opportunities for your community.

For decades, Whitehall faced economic stagnation and developed an admittedly negative reputation. But with changes in leadership and proactive City-led economic development activity—such as property acquisition and public private partnerships—this reputation, and the face of Whitehall is changing for the better.

Case in point: the transformation underway at the intersection of Broad Street and Hamilton Road. On the heels of Norton Crossing—a new $50 million mixed use development at the southwest corner of the intersection—the Rockwell District promises to bring vibrancy to this once forgotten gateway into Whitehall by adding 1,000 new residential units, 75,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 250,000 square feet of Class A office.

But getting the Rockwell District project to its current state hasn’t been an easy task. In fact, it took a 12-year public nuisance case in Franklin County environmental court for the City to acquire the 35-acre condominium complex that once sat on the site. And once finally acquired, it’s taken countless partners to position the site—once home to over 150 stand alone condominium structures (with basements)—to be ready for redevelopment.

From the master developer T-Squared Developments, to the Central Ohio Improvement Corporation, to the Ohio Department of Development (which granted over $4.1 million for demolition of blighted structures), it’s truly taken a village.

But like most things in life, it’s worth fighting for the things most worth having. Today, the former condominium site has been combined with an adjacent 15-acre City owned site to make a 50-acre redevelopment opportunity like no other in the region.

All told, the $300 million project is anticipated to create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs, inducing thousands more, resulting in a $4.7 billion total economic impact on the region. With site demolition complete, the City looks forward to welcoming you to the first phases of the Rockwell District in 2025.

WEBINAR: How Can Local Economic Developers Talk with Housing Developers?

Housing demand outstrips supply so much that developers can be – and are – very selective about where they choose to invest. Factors like land price, annexation and zoning processes, infrastructure costs, density, and community design specs will make or break a developer’s go-or-no-go decision. This panel discussion will provide insights into developers’ decision-making processes, as well as help direct the focus of local economic developers to those areas in which they can add value in housing discussions.

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