Friday, February 26, 2010

Central Ohio Area Home Sales Up 7% In January

Columbus News, Business First, Columbus Newspaper

A late-year spike in Central Ohio home sales continued into 2010, with the Columbus Board of Realtors reporting a nearly 7 percent gain in activity last month.

The board in its monthly report on sales of single-family homes and condominiums said 1,025 units were sold in January, up 6.9 percent from 959 in January 2009. The average sale price of a home grew 6 percent to $145,993 from $137,446.

Home sales in contract, an indication of future activity, fell 9 percent last month to 926 from 1,016 last year. At the same time, the backlog of homes on the market held nearly flat at 13,530 units, down 20 homes from a year ago.

The board said January marks the fifth consecutive month of sales gains in Central Ohio, fueled by the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit that received an extension late last year. Board President Sue Lusk-Gleich said in a release that activity is outperforming expectations and gains are expected in the coming months.

blog it

“While there are still some reasons to be cautious, it seems there are just as many reasons to be optimistic,” she said.

Central Ohio home sales fell 4 percent in 2009 to 20,235 units. The board’s statistics include market information from most of the traditional seven-county Columbus region plus parts of nine nearby counties.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Voodoo Denim Lounge Opening Soon in Short North in the old Norka Futon space

From an interview with Walker Evans
Norka Futon only closed their doors on January 31st, but the retail space at 780 North High Street won’t be sitting empty for long. The Voodoo Denim Lounge will be opening up in that space in mid-March and bringing a variety of clothing brands to Short North shoppers.

We recently caught up with Partner Jimmy Schaub to see what we can expect to find in the new store.

blog it

Walker Evans: First tell us a bit about the location, and why you picked it?

Jimmy Schaub: We picked it because we want to be a destination store, and the Short North has created the only urban lifestyle shopping experience in Columbus. Everyone involved with Voodoo has been involved in Short North area for a while now, and wouldn’t want to do this in any other area. We believe in the growth of Columbus and are excited to have a small hand in that! The vibe and layout of the store are unique to anything that’s available in Columbus at this time and we are excited to share that with everyone. We are taking over the old Norka spot which is a huge open space with lots of room to do some fun stuff with our layout.

WE: What caused you to want to go into retail?

JS: We all have a passion for the fashion industry, and it’s fun to be able to introduce some new lines to Columbus. We also have Kevin Van Order (previously of Dr Mojoe) as a part of our team and I think that anyone who has ever spoken with him can just feel his excitement for the denim industry. It really is contagious and I believe we’ve got a great team on our hands.

WE: What sort of lines or styles are you going to be carrying?

JS: We will specialize in premium denim but will also carry other types of apparel and accessories. We are excited to bring Vintage 1 to Columbus. Other lines we will be carrying are J Brand, AG, William Rast, Prvcy, Seven for all Mankind, Siwy, Splendid, Ella Moss, Scotch & Soda, Plain Jane, Diesel, Hudson, JJ Winters Handbags, Tart, Alternative Apparel, Badcock and several others.

WE: What type of customers are you catering toward?

JS: Not to sound too cliche, but we really are focusing on having something for everyone. Our product will be for all ages, different lifestyles, and different price levels. We want anyone to be able to walk into our store and be able to find something for all types of occasions.

WE: When is the opening date scheduled and are there any grand opening events in the works?

JS: Our target opening date will be either March 11th or March 18th, depending on construction. We will be having a grand opening event, and we will have that information on that soon!

More information can be found online at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Columbus Police Propose Changes in the Short North Area: Action Needed

Please read and consider taking action. More historical information and news articles are available at the link below.
clipped from
Columbus Division of Police Proposal Dissolves 1st Precinct
In January, CPD unveiled plans to redraw some police precincts including the 1st precinct -- Short North area.
The current northern boundary is 5th Avenue, but plans are to change it to 3rd Avenue. This splits the Short North neighborhoods (Harrison West, Italian & Victorian Villages) and puts certain areas on different police radio channels as 3rd Avenue will also be the police district boundary. The proposal also includes the transfer of 27 1st Precinct officers to the Polaris area and to split the precinct in two -- giving the northern portion to the University Precinct and the southern portion to the Downtown Precinct without manpower increases.

Click here for a map of the current and proposed precincts with calls for service chart. (courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch)

blog it

What's at risk?

Community/Police Relations
Longer Response Times to Call for Service
Safe Neighborhoods
Liaison Officer
Your Safety…?

What you can do...

(1) Write, email or call City Hall and tell them you want the Short North neighborhoods in the same police precinct and district.

Columbus Police Chief Walter Distelzweig: 614-645-4600

City Council Public Safety Chair Andrew Ginther: 614-645-2931 /

Public Safety Director Mitchell Brown: 614-645-8210 /

(2) Download a template letter here and simply copy and paste into your email.

(3) Sign the online petition and we'll forward it to Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman & Public Safety Director Mitchell J. Brown.

(4) Stay informed and act. We'll keep you posted, but need your continued support.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yesterday Bernard’s Tavern Opened in the Short North in the old East Village space

This Wednesday, February 17th, Bernard’s Tavern will be opening in the old East Village Spot located at 630 N. High Street in the Short North. The new venue will offer a variety of craft, import, and draft beers in addition to their full bar. They will also feature a “tavern” menu that includes mini-sandwiches, salads, burgers and vegetarian options.

More information can be found at

blog it

According to Zillow: Owners are misguided on home values

I have been saying this for a year. Sellers do not know how bad the market is and buyers do not know how good the market is. This proves my point about sellers.
Columbus News, Business First, Columbus Newspaper

The reality of slumping real-estate values appears to be setting in for homeowners nationwide – maybe a bit too much.

A new report from Seattle-based real-estate database found that half of all homeowners surveyed nationwide believe their own homes lost value last year, while 30 percent say they believe the value held steady. In reality, 65 percent of all homes lost value last year and only 7 percent maintained their value.

 blog it

While Zillow’s data show a gap between perception and reality, an index the company compiles that compares a number of perceptions to reality showed homeowners were slightly more pessimistic on the whole than necessary, marking the first time the company has seen more negative sentiment than in reality.

In the Midwest, homeowners appear to be slightly more optimistic – and thus less realistic – than the nationwide average. Of those surveyed in the region, 46 percent believed their homes lost value and 31 percent told Zillow they believed value held steady. In reality, 64 percent of all homes in the Midwest declined in value, while only 7 percent held steady.

“Homeowners are finally succumbing to the notion that, in most areas, declining home values over the past year are no longer the exception, they are the rule,” Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said in a release.

Looking ahead, Zillow said homeowners appear optimistic about the course of home values over the next six month based on recent news of some housing market stabilization. Humphries said hopes might be too high.

“Home values in many markets are still under substantial downward pressure from high levels of foreclosures and we don’t believe we’ll see a definitive bottom nationally until the second quarter of this year,” he said.

Pollster Harris Interactive conducted the survey for Zillow, gathering online data from 2,215 adults from Jan. 8-12.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nancy's in Clintonville is reopening this Friday!

Niece, community rally to reopen Clintonville comfort-food eatery Friday

clipped from

Monica Lachman, left, became an investor in Nancy's after Sheila Davis Hahn put her college studies on hold to help reopen the restaurant.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:54 AM

Fans of Nancy's Home Cooking, mark Friday on your calendar. That's when the
Clintonville institution will begin dishing up chicken and noodles and other specialties again.
Credit Sheila Davis Hahn and her decision to trade her textbooks for cookbooks for spearheading efforts to reopen the neighborhood mainstay.

blog it

She was sitting in class at Ohio State University when loyalty to her aunt's business overtook her scholastic ambitions.

"Do I keep going to school, or do I give this up and go full steam (and help reopen Nancy's)?"

She decided to put her master's degree in social work on hold and dedicate all her energy to reopening her aunt Cindy King's beloved neighborhood eatery at 3133 N. High St. "The more I went to see Cindy and saw how heartbroken she was, the more I wanted to do it," Hahn said. "She gave this place 40 years of heart and soul."

Her work with Nancy's continues a family tradition.

"My grandparents worked for Cindy. I would come in with them and make coleslaw. I've been in this restaurant since I was 5, but I never thought I would continue it. It was Cindy's life, not mine, but things happen for a reason."

Whatever the reason, Nancy's is back with its traditional menu. You can still order the garbage omelet with bacon, ham, sausage, green peppers, onion, tomatoes, and cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and the sausage gravy and biscuits will now be available every day, not just on weekends. There will be a lunch special every day.

What's changed a bit are the prices. Nancy's meals usually cost about $5, including the drink. Now, most of the meals will cost about $1 more.

"We had to raise prices, but after everything we've been through, I don't think customers will have a problem with that," Hahn said.

The road to opening day has been as fraught with hardships as the circumstances that led King to close Nancy's Home Cooking in the first place.

The doors shut -- supposedly forever -- on June 1 after 38 years. In throwing in the spatula, King cited professional and personal crises, including rising food prices, construction along High Street, mounting medical bills and health problems.

It seems that no one would let the diner go quietly.

Hahn and a handful of other relatives formed a partnership to revive the diner, but everyone but Hahn dropped out along the way. Nancy's needed expensive upgrades, including a new fire-suppression system, exhaust and a hood in the kitchen.

The restaurant was supposed to reopen in November, but the contractor hired to bring the space up to code quit. "He handed back my check and said 'Sorry,' " Hahn said. "We had to go back to square one."

Eventually, things started to look up.

The landlords offered free rent for three months to give backers time to decide what to do with the restaurant. Hahn's longtime friend Monica Lachman, a co-owner of Ledo's Lounge, became an investor.

Then, Hahn's husband, Rick, was laid off in September, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. "It hasn't been such a bad thing after all," Hahn said. "He's put a lot of manpower into Nancy's."

Nancy's fans Conor Malloy and Kimberly Burky started a "Save Nancy's Home Cooking" Facebook page that has 4,107 fans. Former customers from as far away as England have donated about $13,000 to help reopen the restaurant. A "Kegs & Eggs" fundraiser held last spring raised an additional $2,000.

Lowe's donated new flooring, and people have stopped by during the renovation and volunteered to help paint and clean.

"It's crazy. I didn't realize how much my aunt's business meant to people," Hahn said. "That's what Cindy meant to these people. They're not doing it for me."

The smiling face of Cindy King will be part of the new Nancy's, but she won't be on the clock. "She's going to come in, pour some coffee, run her mouth off and have lunch with her friends," Hahn said. "If she's happy, I'm happy."

Nancy's Home Cooking is open 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Central Ohio Home Values Could See 'Double-Dip' Decline

Columbus News, Business First, Columbus Newspaper

Report: Area home values could see ‘double-dip’ decline

Business First of Columbus

Columbus area homes retained their value better than the nationwide average last year, but a report from a Seattle market research firm indicates the city could heading for a rough patch in 2010.

Real estate database said the median value of all homes in the U.S. fell 5 percent to $186,200 in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008. The median home value in the Columbus area, meanwhile, nudged up 0.4 percent to $139,700 in the last three months of the year.

blog it

While home values were up from 2008 in Columbus, the area saw its fourth consecutive month-to-month decline in value following seven months of gains. It’s a sign, Zillow said, that the area could experience another sustained drop this year. Columbus is one of 24 metropolitan areas Zillow says could be approaching a so-called double-dip decline.

However, Zillow Economist Stan Humphries said in a release there’s good news for markets expected to face declines.

“For those markets that will see a double dip in home values before reaching a definitive bottom, this second dip will not be a return to the magnitude of depreciation seen earlier, but rather will look more like a modest aftershock of the earlier downturn,” Humphries said.

Interactive information on home values nationwide is available by clicking here.

This is Columbus Data:

Zillow Home Value Index
This content requires Flash

You need the latest version of the Macromedia Flash Player.
Download the free Flash Player now!

Get Macromedia Flash Player

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Woodland Park Neighborhood In Central Ohio Is Like a Suburb In The City

clipped from
Developers promoted large, treed lots in an urban setting
Monday, February 8, 2010 3:13 AM

A decade ago, Jeff Lafever moved into a house and neighborhood that perfectly suit his vocation.
(The article continues below the pictures)

Jeff Lafever, director of the Columbus Historical Society, has been a resident of the Woodland Park neighborhood for a decade.

Mansion Day School, in a home that includes 24 rooms and 15 fireplaces, draws students from across central Ohio.

Woodland Park

  • Population: 2,345

  • Households: 1,138

  • Average home value: $77,974

  • Median household income (2000): $23,914

  • Owner occupied: 38 percent

  • High-school graduate: 80 percent

  • Bachelor's degree: 12.7 percent

  • Median age: 31.8

Source: Community Research Partners

blog it

Lafever, director of the Columbus Historical Society, lives in a grand stucco and brick house built in 1906. His neighborhood is Woodland Park, one of the city's first upscale subdivisions.

He said the details of the old Hawthorne Park house and the history of the Near East Side neighborhood drew him in.

The original owners, Fred and Josephine Vercoe, chose several custom features, including large, interconnected rooms with 10-foot ceilings and Dutch arches along one side of the house. Vercoe ran a brokerage firm in the city.

Like others drawn to the neighborhood, Lafever and his partner have put a lot into their house.

"Some other people who live around here are doing a lot of work," he said. "They like the combination of a half-acre lot with an urban lifestyle."

Most of the homes built later in Woodland Park, which grew north of Broad Street to Maryland Avenue, are more modest and are on smaller lots.

But the grand old houses that represent a smaller percentage of the neighborhood brought the first residents to the area.

In 1904, advertisements told prospective residents that they could "Have all the advantages of the country with city improvements and only 10 minutes from High St."

There were sidewalks, water, gas, sewers and electric lights, as well as "plenty of fine forest trees and one of the best school districts in the city."

And, the ad went on to say, "The beauty of it grows upon you every time you come."

But it wasn't all pretty.

In the 1920s, deed restrictions were placed on properties to keep blacks from moving into the neighborhood, Lafever said.

That didn't stop black professionals and musicians from moving there by the 1940s.

"Wealthy African-Americans bought houses for cash and got around the restrictions," he said.

Today, a Woodland Avenue mansion now houses an elementary school serving many black children and is home to Dee James, the school's executive director. The Mansion Day School has operated for two decades.

James' school draws students from across the region, including Gahanna, Pickerington and Dublin, and is hosting a Harlem Renaissance Gala fundraiser on Saturday.

"I like the fact that in 20 minutes you can be anywhere in the city, and the Franklin Park is down the street," she said.

The building, which includes 24 rooms and 15 fireplaces, was built by William A. Miller. He was president of the H.C. Godman shoe company, which had four factories in Columbus and four in Lancaster, employing 3,000 in 1921 when Miller died.

Miller tore down an existing wood house on the property to build his statement house in 1904, Lafever said. He used imported materials including Italian tile and mahogany.

Miller's wife, Anna, was a philanthropist who opened the third floor for homeless children, James said.

She and her husband have called the 10,000-square-foot house home for 15 years.

Property records show that the Glenmont Home for Christian Scientists bought the property in 1934 and turned it into a nursing home.

Some of the other large houses in Woodland Park also were converted into nursing and group homes.

The neighborhood is home to East High School, the Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the Elsie Ward branch of the YMCA.

University Hospital East is located just west of Taylor Avenue, the neighborhood's western boundary.

Those amenities and its proximity to Downtown and I-670 have helped lure others to the area.

T.J. Nagel and his fiancee, Annette Durbin, moved into a stone and red clapboard house on Parkwood Avenue about two years ago.

She used to live in Clintonville. He sold his house in Victorian Village.

"We both have a thing for old neighborhoods," said Nagel, who manages a Dairy Queen and works with Durbin at Oakland Nurseries while working toward a landscape horticulture degree at Ohio State University.

"We have five dogs. We wanted a big yard for our pets."

At first, he knew nothing about the neighborhood, and friends told the couple that they shouldn't move there, that it was a "little rough around the edges," Nagel said.

Other than a car break-in, it's been quiet, he said.

The two are planning a backyard wedding in October 2011.

"We plan on raising a family there, sell it for a million dollars and retire in 30 years," Nagel said. "We're in it for the long haul."

More information can be found at

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Victorian and Italian Village Commissions Plan High Street Pact In Short North

clipped from

A 136-room boutique hotel is soon to be built on the site of this Italian Village parking lot. Offices and a parking deck would go across High Street, on the Victorian Village side.

Commissions want east, west sides of thoroughfare to share a style
Thursday, February 4, 2010 3:19 AM


blog it

Drive or walk through the Short North, and you'd be hard-pressed to find much difference between the east and west sides of High Street.

That's what the Italian Village and Victorian Village commissions want to preserve as development rises along both sides of the street that separates the two neighborhoods.

Members of the Victorian Village and Italian Village commissions are meeting today in the first of several get-togethers to forge a common vision for High Street. They are concerned about such things as the height of buildings, how signs are lighted and whether awnings should hang loose or be stretched tightly, said Marc Conte, who leads the Victorian Village Commission.

"High Street has always been a problem. There's nothing in each of the commission's bylaws that allows us to jointly decide things," Conte said.

Rex Hagerling, the chairman of the Italian Village Commission, said newer buildings are raising concerns about height.

For example, the 11-story Ibiza apartment project is on the Italian Village side, on the east side of High, and the Jackson on High complex, which includes an eight-story building, is on the Victorian Village side, on the west.

"In general, people don't want to see a wall of high buildings on the street," Hagerling said. "People wanted to maintain the general look of the streetscape."

Soon to be built is a 136-room boutique hotel planned by Pizzuti Cos. Two years ago, the hotel was proposed for the Victorian Village side of the street. Now, it's set for the Italian Village side. Offices and a parking deck would go on the Victorian Village side.

Last year, a report on how the city will guide historic preservation and architectural reviews recommended a unified set of standards for the N. High Street corridor.

Italian Village Commission member Jason Sudy said he hopes the commissions can develop some sort of joint review process to ensure they approve the best possible developments.

"You can't do things in isolation," said Sudy, an urban planner.

Vince Papsidero, the city's planning administrator, said the new guidelines to establish a common vision for High Street also could address murals, graphics, parking garages and building density.

Papsidero, who works with both commissions, said he hopes the guidelines will be submitted to the Columbus City Council by December.

Josh Quinn, who owns the Tigertree apparel store at 771 N. High St., on the Victorian Village side, said he favors dense residential projects to help his business. But he doesn't want to see one side lined with taller buildings.

"I would like to see developments mirror on both sides of the street," he said.

Both commissions recommend to the City Council whether to rezone property.

They also make binding decisions on exterior architectural features. Without a certificate from a commission, a developer can't proceed.

The report also recommended that the commissions update their guidelines and standards. The Victorian Village handbook dates to 1988; the Italian Village standards date to 1990.

Dispatch reporter Marla Matzer Rose contributed to this story.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Terry Penrod is on NBC 4 talking about Short North Real Estate

"Invest in Land Kid. They stopped making it!"

Posted here: NBC4 Story

One of the most expensive neighborhoods, based on recent home sales figures, might surprise you. You’d probably expect New Albany and Upper Arlington in their usual #1 and #2 spots. But the Short North at #3? Really? NBC 4’s Marshall McPeek gets an explanation from realtors and buyers.

By Marshall McPeek | Meteorologist, Anchor, Reporter
Published: February 3, 2010
Updated: February 3, 2010

In Franklin County, it’s no secret that the homes in New Albany and Upper Arlington are expensive. But the next most-expensive area on the list might be a surprise: the Short North and Victorian Village.

“The housing stock is in high demand because of the business area around the Short North, restaurants, night clubs, there’s plenty of things to do,“ says HER Real Living Realtor Terry Penrod who lives and sells in Victorian Village.“ You can walk. People love to walk. This is a great walking area.“

Penrod says there is an oversupply of condos in the area and there are plenty of houses on the market. In other words, there is much more supply than demand that makes it a buyer’s market.

“You could obviously tell that I was the buyer in the buyer’s market,“ says Lee Roberts. He recently bought a condo in the Short North. He says there was very little haggling and the seller was willing to make a deal quickly. And the area was exactly what he was looking for.

“Being a young professional, it was about being in the Short North,“ he says. “[It was about] being close to High Street, having places that I could walk to as well as for the future [because it is] an area that seems to be holding its value right now.“

According to a report from HER Real Living and the Multiple Listing Service, the most expensive ZIP codes in the past 12 months in Franklin County are:

#1 - New Albany (43054)
#2 - Upper Arlington (North) (43220)
#3 - Victorian Village/Short North/Downtown (43215)
#4 - Dublin (43017)
#5 - Upper Arlington (South) (43221)

At the bottom of the list:

#36 - Columbus Groveport Rd./Lockborne Rd. area (43207)
#37 - Columbus Eastland (43232)
#38 - Columbus Morse Rd./Cleveland Rd. area (43224)
#39 - Columbus E. Livingston/S. Hamilton Rd. area (43227)
#40 - Columbus South Linden (43211)

Jane Taylor just moved to Columbus from northeastern Ohio. She wanted a house in German Village (43206 - #10 on the list) and was able to quickly find a house with all the right amenities. And the buyer’s market also worked in her favor.

“Fairly quickly, we came to an agreement on price and a few other conditions,“ Taylor says. She held additional negotiating power because there was plenty of housing stock available and she was willing to keep looking.

“If I couldn’t reach a satisfactory arrangement on that property,“ she says, “then I knew I was going to be able to find something else in German Village that would be right for me.“

The house she is selling in northeastern Ohio has been on the market for five months now and she is hoping that buyers will be spurred into action by the deadline for tax credits and the threat of rising interest rates.

Penrod is optimistic for the future of Columbus real estate. “A friend of mine’s grandfather used to always say, ‘Invest in land, kid. They stopped making it.‘“ He believes real estate will always be a good

And Roberts agrees. “Similar units to mine, right now, are going for more than I paid,“ he says of his new, Short North condo.


Full List by zip code:
#1 - 43054
#2 - 43220
#3 - 43215
#4 - 43017
#5 - 43221
#6 - 43016
#7 - 43212
#8 - 43209
#9 - 43146
#10 - 43206
#12 - 43085
#13 - 43235
#14 - 43026
#15 - 43004
#16 - 43214
#17 - 43230
#18 - 43081
#19 - 43110
#20 - 43202
#21 - 43213
#22 - 43065
#23 - 43228
#24 - 43123
#25 - 43119
#26 - 43203
#27 - 43205
#28 - 43229
#29 - 43125
#30 - 43204
#31 - 43137
#32 - 43219
#33 - 43231
#34 - 43223
#35 - 43068
#36 - 43207
#37 - 43232
#38 - 43224
#39 - 43227
#40 - 43211

For additional information, stay with and NBC 4 and refresh—Where Accuracy Matters.
To submit a story idea or news tip, e-mail us at