Columbus Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday released possible future plans for the Lee Middle School property.
An anonymous developer purchased an option on the 15-acre site in November, and he plans to preserve most of the original school’s 1950s-era structure for reuse. He also intends to reuse and enhance as much of the remainder as possible “with the enhancement of Lee High School in mind,” the press release said. The second phase includes the construction of new buildings, making up a mixture of commercial retail and apartments.
The city Board of Adjustments and Appeals will soon take into consideration the CRA’s request to change the property’s zoning from R-1 (single-family residential) to C-1 (neighborhood commercial).
During Phase 1 of the proposed re-development, which is estimated to cost between $3 and 5 million, the following changes are planned: Converting the existing cafeteria into a 16,000 sq.ft. restaurant or banquet space; a 24,000 sq.ft. multi-use venue/community center in the auditorium; and converting the gym into a 22,000 sq.ft. free-standing retail space. There are also plane to implement an apartment complex in the existing classroom buildings. Phase 1 is expected to be completed by January 2020.
Phase 2 would see a 4,000 sq.ft. restaurant in place of the front lawn and gym parking lot. Also, there are plans for a 90~100,000 sq.ft. mixed-use commercial space, to include both retail and residential areas. That phase is expected to cost $10 million.
The intention is that the plan will supply 50 to 100 construction jobs, 70 restaurant jobs, 40 to 80 free-standing retail space jobs, five to eight venue and apartment management jobs, and 25 to 30 part-time venue event jobs.