Motorists Insurance Group plans to invest nearly $20 million to create apartments, retail space and parking on property it owns near its Downtown headquarters.
Motorists Insurance Group has announced plans to invest nearly $20 million to create apartments and retail space by spring 2019 on property it owns near its Downtown headquarters on East Broad Street.
Longer term, the company said it anticipates investing $62 million to develop four additional mixed-use buildings in the immediate area, between Motorists and Topiary Park.
The first phase of the project is expected to include 68 apartment units, 114 parking spaces and a small area for ground-floor retail in the building to be erected on the block bordered by South Washington Avenue to the east, South 9th Street to the west, Oak Street to the north and Library Park North to the south. Construction is expected to start in early 2017.
Dave Kaufman, president and CEO of Motorists, said in a statement that the company is “making another significant investment in our community,” building on recent renovation and expansion projects at surrounding institutions such as the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s main branch and the Columbus Museum of Art.
The company decided to develop projects on the surface parking lots it has owned for decades because “there is a need for Downtown housing, and the economy is in a position to support the development,” said Mike Lisi, associate vice president of corporate services for Motorists.
In addition to Motorists’ headquarters, with 585 employees, the neighborhood has thousands of workers and students in the area every day from institutions including Grant Medical Center, Franklin University and the Columbus College of Art and Design.
The city of Columbus and the nonprofit Columbus Downtown Development Corporation included a goal of creating a new neighborhood in their 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan. Motorists’ plan will help fulfulfill that vision, said CDDC President and CEO Guy Worley.
“We needed someone to step up and make an investment, and that’s exactly what Motorists Insurance Group is doing with their leadership in this project,” Worley said. “There are already a lot of wonderful assets in the Discovery Distirct. ... I think that area is ripe for development and could use more retail opportunities.”
Worley likened the area to the RiverSouth neighborhood between the Scioto River and High Street, where upscale new apartments have replaced surface parking lots in recent years.
Motorists worked with the Robert Weiler Co. on the development plan.