Sunday, June 27, 2010

Columbus Dispatch: With dropping prices and interest rates, buyers who missed tax credit might be further ahead

Make sure you see my quote
clipped from

Sometimes, it pays to delay

With dropping home prices, record-low mortgage rates and special offers, buyers who missed out on the $8,000 federal tax credit are coming out further ahead

Sunday, June 27, 2010
02:57 AM


House hunter Karen Kosnikowski gets good news from real-estate agent Terry Penrod. Prices are dropping on several homes she has seen.
House hunter Karen Kosnikowski gets good news from real-estate agent Terry Penrod. Prices are dropping on several homes she has seen.

Home shoppers who missed the April30 deadline for a housing tax credit might have the last laugh.

For a variety of reasons, they could end up saving more than the $8,000 they could have received from the tax credit:

• In some neighborhoods and price ranges, sellers are dropping their prices because buyers are harder to find now that the credit has expired.

• Builders and real-estate companies began offering promotions after the tax credit ended that, in many cases, are worth more than the credit.

• Interest rates have dropped enough since the credit deadline that, over the life of a loan, a homeowner could easily save more than the value of the credit.

"I think some folks possibly could have benefited from waiting until after the tax credit," said Joe Jackson, a real-estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Partners. "It would depend on the price point they were buying in and the market they were looking in."

Home sales leapt in March and April during the waning weeks of the credit, especially for homes priced at less than $200,000, which appealed to first-time homebuyers. Since the credit expired, home contracts and building permits have tapered off, leaving sellers with fewer buyers and, in some cases, little choice but to cut their price.

According to the real-estate website, which tracks price reductions, 30percent of central Ohio homes for sale on May1 had reduced their asking price - more than in April or March.

Buyers hope they can take advantage.

Karen Kosnikowski learned days after the tax credit ended that she would have to leave her Victorian Village apartment June 30 because her landlord wanted the place.

Her initial frustration at missing the tax credit changed when she started seeing price declines.

"I would say five or 10 times a day, something comes in, and half of those are price drops. ... Sometimes, they are (down) several thousand," Kosnikowski said. "So places I've seen before are starting to drop, or others are coming into my price range."

A home in the Clintonville neighborhood she has toured twice, for example, dropped in May from $185,000 to $167,900. Another Clintonville home on her radar dropped from $179,900 to $167,000 after the credit expired, while a Downtown condo she visited went from $189,900 to $169,500.

"None of these went anywhere during the tax credit," said her agent, Terry Penrod of Real Living HER. "So Karen can just wait to see how low they go."

Kathy Shiflet, an agent in the Dublin-Hilliard office of Coldwell Banker King Thompson, has found the same thing. She represents a buyer looking for a two-story home in Hilliard. After the tax credit expired, one of two homes under consideration dropped from $156,900 to $149,900 while the other dropped from $154,900 to $149,900.

The tax credit might have something to do with it, but Shiflet thinks the season is a greater factor.

"There have been reductions in prices, but traditionally, prices start to come down in June anyway," she said, "because everyone wants to move in time for school."

Those shopping for new homes are finding a different kind of bargain as some builders roll out incentives to keep traffic moving.

After the credit expired, Dominion Homes and Fischer Homes launched promotions for free finished basements and/or other upgrades. Either deal would be worth well above the $8,000 credit.

"We expected a drop in traffic after the tax credit expired, and we saw that a little bit," said Jon Jasper, who manages the Columbus division of Fischer Homes. "We anticipated that, and we had strategized to offer some incentives to bring people back. That promotion we're offering with the free basement is huge in this market."

Other builders are offering free appliances, trade-in programs, rebates and "sweat-equity" discounts that allow a homeowner to drop the price by painting, landscaping or otherwise helping to finish their home.

Mike Marshall, an agent with Buyer's Resource Realty Services, said he represented one buyer who deliberately passed on the tax credit to wait for a better deal on a new home.

"They found a new build that was so much better in price with the discounts that they gave up the tax credit," Marshall said.

Real-estate companies are also getting into the act. To compensate for the vanishing tax credit, Coldwell Banker launched its Buyer Bonus Program that awards up to $8,000 back to buyers from participating sellers.

Finally, interest rates have dropped nearly half a point since the end of April, saving buyers thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

Buyers of a $180,000 home who borrowed $173,700 in mid-April at an interest rate of 5.125 percent would have paid $377,442 over the next 30 years - $15,000 more than they would pay if they borrowed last week at an interest rate of 4.75 percent.

"I know it's not money in your pocket right away," said Barb Wilson, the head of mortgage lending at Newark-based Park National Bank, "but the value of the interest rate today is really better than the tax credit."

Some real-estate experts see the central Ohio housing market now settling into a normal rhythm in the absence of the stimulus, which so far has cost taxpayers $18.7 billion.

"At the end of the day, we don't believe the tax stimulus will put us any further ahead than we would have been otherwise," said Jerry White, executive vice president with Coldwell Banker King Thompson.

blog it

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mortgage Rates Sink To Record Low..Great For Buying or Refinancing

"Given the costs of refinancing, some mortgage experts say a refinancing can be worthwhile if you can shave at least 0.75 percentage point from an existing rate. Others suggest waiting until you can lower your rate at least a point."
clipped from
By Alan Zibel, The Associated Press
A home for sale sign is posted in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday. Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on record, giving consumers added incentive to lock in low payments for home purchases and refinanced loans.
A home for sale sign is posted in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday. Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on record, giving consumers added incentive to lock in low payments for home purchases and refinanced loans.
30 yr fixed mtg4.72%
15 yr fixed mtg4.10%
5/1 ARM3.74%
$30K home equity loan7.44%
$30K HELOC5.07%
About these rates
WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on records since to 1971, giving consumers added incentive to lock in low payments for home purchases and refinanced loans.
The average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.69%, from 4.75% last week, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.

That's the lowest point since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in April 1971. The previous record of 4.71% was set in December. Rates for 15-year and five-year mortgages also hit lows.

Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months as nervous investors have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds. The demand for Treasurys has caused Treasury yields to fall. And mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term Treasurys.

Yet the falling rates have yet to spark a home-buying boom — or energize the economy. New-home sales collapsed in May after homebuying tax credits expired. The economy also remains under pressure from high unemployment. And many people don't qualify under tightened lending rules.

"As long as prospective homebuyers are still concerned about their jobs and financial well-being, many will be reluctant to take the plunge, even though affordability has never been better," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with

Low rates throughout the economy also hurt one group of Americans: savers. Puny rates are especially hard on people living on fixed incomes who are earning next to nothing on their savings.

Lending activity remains sluggish. Mortgage application volume dipped 6% last week from a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing activity fell 7%. And mortgage applications to buy homes slipped 1.2%.

Many Americans owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth — often called "under water" — and can't refinance. The Obama administration has launched programs to help borrowers refinance if they owe up to 25% more than their home's value and have loans owned or guaranteed by mortgage giants Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

About 291,000 homeowners have participated as of March. Yet that's a small fraction of the nearly 15 million homeowners who are under water and cannot refinance, according to Moody's In hard-hit areas in Nevada and Florida home prices have fallen 50% or more from their highs. Record-low rates can't rescue those homeowners.

"It's not the desire to refinance; it's the ability to refinance," Chris Brown, a loan officer with Trinity Mortgage Co. in Orlando "A lot of the people who can already have."

Given the costs of refinancing, some mortgage experts say a refinancing can be worthwhile if you can shave at least 0.75 percentage point from an existing rate. Others suggest waiting until you can lower your rate at least a point.

Despite some lenders' ads, refinancing is never free. A fee normally goes to the mortgage broker or lender. There are also fees for title insurance, a new appraisal, document processing and other charges. Often, mortgage brokers or lenders create the appearance of a "no fee" mortgage by adding the costs to a total loan amount or by charging a higher interest rate.

People considering refinancing should factor in such fees. They should also calculate how many months it would take to recover them. For those who expect to stay in their home for two years or less, the fees might outweigh the savings from a lower rate.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate, even within a given day.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average of 4.13%. That was the lowest on records dating to September 1991. It was down from 4.2% a week earlier.

Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.84%, down from 3.89% a week earlier. That was also the lowest on Freddie Mac's records, which date back to January 2005 for such loans.

Average rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.77% from 3.82%. That was the lowest average since May 2004.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1% of the total loan amount.

The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.7 a point for 30-year, 5-year and 1-year loans. The average fee for 15-year loans was 0.6 of a point.

blog it

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pizzuti Short North Hotel Plans Presented Tonight

The redevelopment of the “UCT Block” in the Short North was originally announced back in February 2008, and after some recent updates and expansions, the proposal may be moving closer to reality tonight.

The Victorian and Italian Village Commissions will have a joint special meeting tonight at 6pm to review the latest version of the mixed-use proposal from The Pizzuti Companies. The development is primarily situated on land currently occupied by two surface parking lots along High Street between Russell Street and Poplar Avenue.

The development includes a 130-room 10-story boutique hotel located east of High Street, a 46,000 square-foot 6-story office building and 500-space 9-story parking garage, both located west of High Street, and ground-floor retail in both buildings facing High Street and Millay Alley.

A portion of the historic United Commercial Travelers (UCT) building will need to be demolished to make room for the parking garage required to accommodate on-site parking. The rest of the UCT Building will be preserved and will house a portion of the Pizzuti family art collection, which may be open to display to the public as a cultural asset to the neighborhood.

blog it

Columbus Ranked as "America's Second Manliest City"

clipped from

Second Annual “America’s Manliest Cities” Rankings Includes New Criteria, Developed in Partnership between COMBOS® Snacks and Research Expert Bert Sperling

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (June 22, 2010) – Mars Chocolate North America announced today the release of the second annual COMBOS® “America’s Manliest Cities” study – crowning Charlotte, N.C. with this year’s top spot of manliness while last year’s top city, Nashville, Tenn., dropped to fourth in the rankings. Chicago had the biggest move in the rankings, going from 46th in 2009 to seventh this year. The study is commissioned by COMBOS® Brand in partnership with Bert Sperling, the research expert behind the popular “Best Places to Live” studies.

The COMBOS® “America’s Manliest Cities” study ranks 50 major metropolitan areas, using manly criteria like the number of home improvement stores, steak houses, pickup trucks and motorcycles per capita. “We’re excited to release the second installment of the COMBOS® ‘America’s Manliest Cities’ rankings,” said Craig Hall, general manager, Mars Chocolate North America. “Charlotte is NASCAR country so we’re not surprised that they’ve taken over the top spot. After all, COMBOS® has been the ‘Official Cheese-Filled Snack of NASCAR’ since 2002.”

Several cities made big jumps up the rankings this year – Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia all broke the top 10 after being in the lower half of last year’s rankings. In addition to cities improving or declining in returning categories, the change in rankings can also be attributed to a new category this year – manly occupations (fire fighters, police officers, construction workers and EMT personnel).

The manly occupations category was added this year to recognize the hard-working guys that make so many American cities great places to live.

Supporting the theme of manliness, COMBOS® also recently launched its Zone Sweet Home sweepstakes at – an opportunity for guys to win an ultimate Home Theater Zone, Tailgating Zone or Gaming Zone, each worth up to $25,000.

Manly Study Highlights

  • Charlotte, N.C. now has chief bragging rights on manliness thanks to its top 10 rankings in the sports, manly lifestyle, manly retail stores, manly occupations and salty snack sales categories.
  • Chi-town natives have another reason to applaud local police officers and firefighters. Chicago moved up 39 spots in the rankings to No. 7 overall, partly thanks to a strong ranking (No. 3) in the manly occupations category.
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Calif., Oakland, Calif. and Portland, Ore. failed to pull themselves out of the basement of manliness as they each remained in the bottom 10 spots of the rankings for a second consecutive year.
  • Tennessee men embrace a manly lifestyle as Memphis and Nashville finished first and second in the “manly lifestyle” category that tracks the number of pickup trucks and motorcycles registered in the city, sports TV viewing habits, fishing and home improvement.
  • Long known as a city for diehard sports fans, Boston backed up that claim by taking the No.1 spot in the sports category thanks not only to the number of professional sports teams, but the quality of professional sports in the city.
  • The men of Oklahoma City still know how to snack with gusto. For the second year in a row, their city owns the highest purchase rate of salty snacks, such as COMBOS®.

The Manly Methodology*

The rankings were determined using 50 of the largest metropolitan areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau, which includes a central city and the surrounding county (or counties). Each metro area received a manliness rating between 0 and 100 based on how well it performed in each of the study’s manly categories. All data was adjusted by the current population of the cities to arrive at “per capita” figures, providing an accurate comparison between cities of varying sizes.

2010 “America’s Manliest Cities” Rankings

  1. Charlotte, NC (▲ 1 spot)
  2. Columbus, OH (▲ 5 spots)
  3. Kansas City, MO (▲ 5 spots)
  4. Nashville, TN (▼ 3 spots)
  5. Baltimore, MD (▲ 32 spots)
  6. Milwaukee, WI (▲ 11 spots)
  7. Chicago, IL (▲ 39 spots)
  8. Indianapolis, IN (▲ 1 spot)
  9. Washington, D.C. (▲ 36 spots)
  10. Philadelphia, PA (▲ 20 spots)
  11. Denver, CO (▼ 6 spots)
  12. St. Louis, MO (▼ 6 spots)
  13. Columbia, SC (No Change)
  14. Harrisburg, PA (▲ 12 spots)
  15. Cleveland, OH (▲ 4 spots)
  16. Orlando, FL (▼ 2 spots)
  17. Salt Lake City, UT (▼ 1 spot)
  18. Birmingham, AL (▲ 5 spots)
  19. Detroit, MI (▲ 1 spot)
  20. Cincinnati, OH (▼ 16 spots)
  21. Richmond, VA (▼ 9 spots)
  22. New Orleans, LA (▲ 5 spots)
  23. Phoenix, AZ (▼ 1 spot)
  24. Houston, TX (▲ 15 spots)
  25. Oklahoma City, OK (▼ 22 spots)
  26. Toledo, OH (▼ 16 spots)
  27. Minneapolis, MN (▼9 spots)
  28. Memphis, TN (▼ 17 spots)
  29. Louisville, KY (▲ 2 spots)
  30. Seattle, WA (▲ 10 spots)
  31. Boston, MA (▲ 7 spots)
  32. Atlanta, GA (No Change)
  33. Providence, RI (No Change)
  34. Dayton, OH (▼ 19 spots)
  35. New York, NY (▲ 15 spots)
  36. Jacksonville, FL (▼ 15 spots)
  37. Pittsburgh, PA (▼ 8 spots)
  38. Grand Rapids, MI (▼ 14 spots)
  39. Dallas, TX (▼ 5 spots)
  40. Rochester, NY (▼ 4 spots)
  41. Las Vegas, NV (▼ 13 spots)
  42. San Diego, CA (▲ 1 spot)
  43. San Francisco, CA (▲ 5 spots)
  44. Tampa, FL (▼ 19 spots)
  45. Sacramento, CA (▼ 4 spots)
  46. Buffalo, NY (▼ 11 spots)
  47. Oakland, CA (▼ 3 spots)
  48. Los Angeles, CA (▲ 1 spot)
  49. Miami, FL (▼ 7 spots)
  50. Portland, OR (▼ 3 spots)

See Category Scores

About Mars Chocolate North America:

Mars Chocolate North America is the North American chocolate operations of Mars, Incorporated. Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned company founded in 1911 and employing more than 65,000 associates at over 230 sites, including 135 factories, in 68 countries worldwide. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, U.S.A., Mars, Incorporated is one of the world’s largest food companies, generating global revenues of more than $28 billion annually and operating in six business segments: Chocolate, Petcare, Wrigley Gum and Confections, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience. These segments produce some of the world’s leading brands: Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare – PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR® and ROYAL CANIN®; Wrigley – ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks – KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – WISDOM PANEL™, SERAMIS®, CIRKUHEALTH™ and COCOAPRO®.

For more information, please visit

* For detailed methodology and rankings on each of the factors in the Combos® “America’s Manliest Cities” study, please request a copy of the extended Findings Report.

Contacts: Lauren Nodzak Jason Sparks

Mars Chocolate North America Weber Shandwick

908.850.2291 – office 312.988.2323 – office

908.914.5701– mobile 734.330.4698 – mobile

# # #

blog it

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

May Home Sales Soar in Central Ohio, Fall Nationally

Are we still in a buyer's market? It depends on your neighborhood and price range.
clipped from

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
11:35 AM


Central Ohio home sales rose in May, but a close look at the figures suggests a slow summer ahead for the housing industry.

More than 2,400 central Ohio homes changed hands in May, 33 percent more than last May and 15 percent more than April, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors.

But the jump for the most part reflects the lingering impact of a federal tax break for home buyers. Many of those deals were inked in March and April, before the tax break expired April 30.

The number of central Ohio homes in contract dropped 30 percent from April to May as buying cooled without a government incentive.

Home sales statewide rose 28 percent last month compared with May 2009, as buyers finalized purchases made while the tax credit was in force.

"The federal home-buyer tax credit incentive proved to be a big boost to the Ohio housing market, evidenced by the tremendous uptick in activity levels we experienced throughout the spring," said Doug McCloud, a Blacklick agent who is president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.

"The key will be in continuing that momentum in the coming months now that the incentive has expired."

Nationally, home sales dipped 2.2 percent, defying expectations that the tax credits would lift sales in May and June.

The report is "a worrisome sign for what will occur in July and thereafter when the effect of the tax credit is behind us," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this story.

blog it

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Columbus, Ohio is 8th in nation for volunteering

clipped from

A new federal report pegs the Columbus area as one of the best cities in the nation for volunteering, its rate of involvement surpassing the national average.

The annual Volunteering in America report, produced by the Corporation for National & Community Service, shows that 31.9 percent of residents in the metropolitan statistical area volunteer, based on an average using 2007-09 data. That accounts for about 410,000 volunteers.

The metro ranked eighth in the nation for its volunteer rate. It finished a slot higher at No. 7 for the average 43.4 hours per resident logged each year, translating into about $1.2 billion in annual service.

Despite the economic crisis, the national volunteer rate went up to 26.8 percent last year, with 63.4 million volunteers donating about 8.1 billion hours of service worth $169 billion, according to the report. Ohio ranked 21st nationwide with a volunteer rate of 29.6 percent.

Despite the economic crisis, the national volunteer rate went up to 26.8 percent last year, with 63.4 million volunteers donating about 8.1 billion hours of service worth $169 billion, according to the report. Ohio ranked 21st nationwide with a volunteer rate of 29.6 percent.

Volunteering data used in the annual report are gathered through the Current Population Survey, conducted monthly by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Volunteers are defined as individuals ages 16 and over who perform unpaid activities for or through an organization.

Click here for a full report on volunteer activity in Columbus.

blog it

Friday, June 4, 2010

Diesha Condon Announced as New SNBA Director (Short North Business Association)

Press Release:
Short North Business Association announces the appointment of Diesha Condon as Senior Director
According to Maria Galloway, SNBA Board President,  “Diesha is totally committed to the success of our members. She brings passion, enthusiasm, and creativity to the district.  She is extremely smart and hard working - and we can’t wait to get started working with her!”

Diesha Condon served the Short North Business Association as the Membership Director last summer. Drawing upon that experience and the relationships she has formed with association members, Condon will transition smoothly into the Senior Director position.  Her enthusiasm and commitment are certain to raise the bar for the organization in ways that will be beneficial to the membership, community partners, and sponsors.

 blog it

“The Short North is Central Ohio’s most culturally rich, diverse and unique business district,andI celebrate the many accomplishments of the Short North Business Association and the Arts District businesses. Fostering our community and citywide relationships, creatively marketing our district and being a business resource for our members will bring us to new levels of member engagement.” She added, “While today’s challenges are great, support of the SNBA is so important because it sustains initiatives vital to the health of our Arts District businesses - parking and safety, way-finding kiosks and visitor guides, and the promotion of Gallery Hop and other special events.”

Diesha has extensive experience in business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales and marketing. Insatiable curiosity and drive propelled her into leadership roles and sales training opportunities with local companies including Paycor Payroll Services, Columbus Symphony, and A.D. Farrow Co. She has experience as the Marketing Manager at ActionCOACH Business Coaching, which provided her a well-rounded education in best business practices and business development strategies. Her diverse background has prepared her for this multi-faceted position.

“It is a privilege and honor to work with the SNBA team, Arts District businesses and the Board of Directors. We have important work to do, and I know with the combined leadership, experience, and enthusiasm of our members and supporters we’ll get the job done,” said Condon.

The Short North Arts District is known as Columbus’ “art and soul”, pioneering the urban revitalization of Central Ohio. Visitors are invited to explore this area known for its eclectic art, dining, nightlife, fashion, home d├ęcor and unique gifts. Established by more than 100 experiential destinations that comprise the district, the Short North offers something of interest to all visitors.

As stated in the New York Times, “…in the last few years, Columbus has undergone a transformation. By luring young professionals … the city has seen a flurry of downtown development - and gained an unexpected new profile as a Midwestern style capital.” -

The following are comments of members of the Short North Business Association and Board of Directors on the selection of Diesha Condon.

Diesha possesses an enthusiasm that is both sincere and addictive. She is truly dedicated to the Short North and is relentless in her commitment to its forward development. She has proven herself on numerous projects, most recently the Short North Gala in which her direct involvement led to an outstanding outcome. - Dave Weibel, Edward Jones.

Diesha’s warmth and energy make others want to be a part of whatever she’s involved in. Her hard work and dedication will be a huge asset for the SNBA. She has integrity, professionalism and the dynamic personality to help take the SNBA to the next level. - Jeff Rinehart, La Fogata Grill.

Diesha has proven herself a valuable member of the association and community. Her charm and common sense on projects I’ve worked with her on prove she’s prepared for a role as diversified and important as the Senior Director. - Jay Cotrell, Marcella’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar.

I’ve been most impressed with Diesha. She always takes the time to stop in to the various shops and shows interest in what we’re doing. She understands the importance of marketing the district to increase foot-traffic, and I believe she’s committed to making a difference for the businesses here in the Short North. - Mary McGolgan, Rose Bredl Flowers

More information can be found online at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Annual Short North Neighborhood Yard Sale This Saturday - 9 am to 3 pm

Be sure to click on the link..there are a ton of sales.
clipped from

Annual Short North Neighborhood Yard Sale
Saturday June 5th - 9 am to 3 pm

This year's yard sale will be even bigger and better than before. The yard sale now includes all the neighborhoods of the Short North including Victorian Village, Harrison West, Italian Village, Dennison Place and The Circles.

An exciting feature this year is the ability to register your sale online and have it appear in a listing and on a map that will be viewable by everyone. This should really help promote your sale. Last year there were over 150 registered sales in what has become the largest neighborhood yard sale in Columbus!

blog it

Wagenbrenner lands $3M grant for Kimball project off Goodale St.

A Columbus real estate developer has landed a $3 million state grant to assist in the redevelopment of the former Kimball Midwest Inc. property off Goodale St. into an 110-unit apartment complex.

The Ohio Department of Development’s Clean Ohio Council on Thursday approved the grant Wagenbrenner Development Inc. and the city of Columbus applied for to assist in the partial demolition and an environmental cleanup of the 4.2-acre property at 582 W. Goodale St.

The grant was one of 10 Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grants approved totaling $23 million.

Wagenbrenner Development President Mark Wagenbrenner said the $11 million project calls for turning the lower level of the former distribution and fulfillment center into parking. The second and third floors of the 80,000-square-foot building would get converted into loft apartments with the possibility of building two more floors atop the structure.

blog it

“The idea is to convert the building into apartments,” Wagenbrenner said. “It’s a stout, stout building.”

Four new buildings are planned for the complex as well.

“The plans are subject to change,” he said. “We’ll react to what we find in the field.”

According to a state news release, the property has a more than 120-year history as an industrial and commercial operation, including use as a metal foundry in the late 1800s.

“With its location between the Arena District and Grandview Yard, it’s time has come,” Wagenbrenner said.

The Columbus developer has the Goodale site in contract with JDS Goodale LLC, an affiliate of Columbus developer J. Daniel Schmidt. Schmidt had paid $1.4 million for the site in March 2006 in hopes of building up to 250 residential units.

Wagenbrenner said the redevelopment project includes running the city’s pedestrian path and bikeway network through the south side of the lower floor since the building sits so close to Goodale.

“There’s just no right of way there” for a bike path, Wagenbrenner said.

Wagenbrenner has emerged as a leading redeveloper of brownfield sites in Ohio, whether former industrial properties or, in one case, a former city landfill, in the first seven rounds of Clean Ohio funding. It has built more than 200 townhouse condominiums and apartments on the former A.C. Humko site in the Short North’s Harrison West neighborhood. It also received funding to clean up the former Columbus Coated Fabrics Corp. site on West Fifth Avenue at Grant Avenue in hopes to build 700 residential units on that Weinland Park site. The company also served as co-developer with Daimler Group Inc. on three office buildings on the former Gowdy Field landfill along Olentangy River Road just north of Goodale.

Wagenbrenner still has plans to redevelop the former Johnston Metal Industries finishing operations that parent 3M Co. owned at 1206 N. Fourth St. at West Fifth Avenue not far from the Columbus Coated Fabrics site. It withdrew an application for a $3 million Clean Ohio grant in the last round of funding after the Ohio EPA determined the site could have even more industrial contamination than previous testing had found.