We Can Only Go Up from Here

May 28, 2023 | News, Newsletter

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.

OAQDA and Ohio EPA Collaborate to Pursue Federal Funding: What You Should Know

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2022, a new federal program was created that provides great opportunity for Ohio – the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). It allocates $27 billion in financial assistance through three programs to reduce harmful air pollutants, mobilize financing and private capital, and deliver benefits for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

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Housing: An Overlooked Solution Puzzle Piece

The word is out Central Ohio is a wonderful place to live and work. While job opportunities are prevalent, the housing market is a challenge. The headlines are focused on new builds and further directed at greenspace and farmland depletion, zoning, density, affordability, transportation, congestion, the impact on schools, and concerns about community identity. New builds are vital, but the housing puzzle has an overlooked solution piece with abandoned and underutilized property.

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