How I Would Redevelop Westland Mall

*Republished 1/21/2016.

Next up on the easy reposts is this Google Map I made about redeveloping the Westland Mall site. It was recently announced that Westland Mall will very likely be torn down sometime later this year, but the current owners have not yet given any details on a potential redevelopment plan. Here is the article about Westland’s imminent doom: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/12/09/Westland-Mall-uncertain-future.html

What I would like to see go into this huge site is a new neighborhood that employs a lot of urban-style characteristics. That means low to mid-rise mixed-use buildings that surround a large urban park. The buildings would contain ground floor retail with residential above. Offices, markets and hotel space would also be included in the new neighborhood. The buildings would front both West Broad and Georgesville Road. New multi-use paths would connect this development to existing paths on Georgesville and to the miles-long Camp Chase Trail along the railroad tracks near Sullivant and Georgesville. The main central park would have playground space, a ball field or two, and perhaps even a small pond. Bike lanes would go throughout, along with wide sidewalks for potential restaurant and retail patio space. Basically, this would be like the West Side’s version of the Bridge Park development in Dublin. Read more about that project here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/09/15/Dublin-bridge-park-project-underway.html This would end up being a hugely transformative project for the West Side in a way that the new casino never could be. I suspect, however, that the developer will go with some kind of single-story, single-use big box retail concept like a Walmart, along with fast food outlets near West Broad. Hopefully, that is not the case and they are more forward thinking.

So here is the map I made on the general idea of what I think should happen: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zjN5g-xqXg7o.kzt8Is9kvs04&usp=sharing

In the past, I have made similar redevelopment maps for other areas. Check them out too!
Arena District West: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=2243
Southeast Downtown: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=2152

Columbus Area Residential Development Booming

During and just after the recession’s housing crash, single-family home construction in the Columbus area seemed to fall apart, much like it did across the nation. Foreclosure rates soared, prices fell and builders were suddenly left with too many homes they couldn’t get rid of.

Out of the ashes of this market rose a surge in rental demand. It suddenly made more and more sense to rent rather than to own, especially for young professionals and empty nesters who wanted to downsize during tough economic times. Not only did what housing people wanted change, but so did where they wanted it to be located.

Columbus experienced a relative boom in rental housing during the late 1990s into the first few years of the 2000s, but almost all of that rental housing was constructed along and outside of I-270, where the suburbs were exploding with growth. Inside of 270 saw little of this, and the urban core neighborhoods around Downtown were almost completely ignored altogether. Single-family housing became popular again during the early 2000s mild recession, and the housing boom that would help lead to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 really began at that time. However, it was in 2002 that the City and Mayor Coleman came up with a 10-year plan to help bring more residents to Downtown. It began offering tax incentives to developers who would build there, in some cases 100% abatements, in a goal to have 10,000 residential units built in and around Downtown by 2012.

I’ve done a ton of research on the results of this move by the city, and it did have an impact. From what I’ve been able to find (so far), Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods saw the addition of less than 200 residential units between 2000 and 2002. 2003 saw over 500 alone with the new incentives package in place. Between 2003 and 2006, the area added over 2,000 new residential units, most of them condos. As the Great Recession hit in 2007, the rate of new projects slowed to half of what it was, though still higher than it was prior to 2003.

As the Great Recession eased and more financing became available, construction began to pick up once more. With the new trends in favor of urban living and rentals, the rental market exploded, as represented by the chart below that details the 2007-2014 period of complete/planned total residential units by year.

Online Graphing
Graph

Of course, for 2014-2015, the numbers are fairly preliminary as more projects will inevitably be added. These numbers also only show Downtown and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods, while there is infill going on across the city.