AspireCOLUMBUS plan calls for $70 million new construction project
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌   ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
View in Browser


Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 

Contact: Mike Nowlin

Cell: 989-450-0855

United Way of Central Ohio Approves Sale of its South Third Street Downtown Headquarters Site for Redevelopment to Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, The Community Builders

AspireCOLUMBUS plan calls for $70 million new construction project combining 30,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space with more than 130 new mixed-income affordable and market-rate housing opportunities that will bring ‘transformational change’ to city’s center

COLUMBUS, Ohio —United Way of Central Ohio has selected the AspireCOLUMBUS proposal from the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and national nonprofit The Community Builders (TCB) for the sale of its headquarters site at 360 S. Third St., paving the way for a new standard of inclusive excellence in downtown development.

"Our mission to improve the lives of others by mobilizing the caring power of our community impacts everything we do,” said Lisa Courtice, President and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio.

“Central Ohio is in desperate need of affordable housing, and our property is a prime location for redevelopment,” Courtice said. “So, we sought a developer who could purchase the property and redevelop it to meet that critical need.”

The CMHA-TCB partnership has a purchase sale agreement of $4 million to take ownership of the United Way of Central Ohio building. The closing is anticipated to take place by the end of 2022.

Battelle Memorial Institute Foundation donated the 1.08-acre site to United Way of Central Ohio in 1978 for use as its headquarters. When the nonprofit decided to sell the property, it enlisted the help of a Real Estate Task Force consisting of United Way employees, board members, community volunteers and outside advisors, who reviewed all proposals submitted and provided a final recommendation to the United Way Board of Trustees.

“We applied due diligence when reviewing the CMHA-TCB proposal because it’s about much more than a real estate transaction,” said Dan Crane, United Way of Central Ohio Real Estate Task Force Chair. “We want the property development to improve and enhance the community for residents who already live and work in the region. ”

The CMHA-TCB proposal approved by United Way of Central Ohio is a $70 million new construction project slated for completion in late 2025 or early 2026. The plan calls for the development of 30,000 square feet of commercial space on the first two floors of the 12-story property and approximately 135 mixed-income affordable and market-rate housing units on the remaining upper 10 floors.

“We welcome the opportunity to introduce a new blueprint for how integrating mixed-income and affordable housing can not only succeed in our region, but also serve as a call-to-action for other developers to incorporate these principles into their next projects in downtown Columbus and throughout central Ohio,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman.

“Our intention for AspireCOLUMBUS is to prove that you can add a new piece to the Columbus skyline while also providing housing opportunities for residents across the income spectrum,” Hillman said.

It’s the first-ever collaboration between CMHA and TCB and would represent TCB’s first investment in Columbus, one of the nation’s hottest housing and commercial real estate markets. Established in 1964, TCB opened its Columbus office in 2019 and is a leading nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing, completing over 33,000 multifamily homes across 15 states and the District of Columbia.

“We are honored United Way of Central Ohio selected AspireCOLUMBUS, providing an exciting new future for 360 S. Third Street,” said Jeff Beam, TCB regional vice president for real estate development.

“Our partnership with CMHA combines national experience with local knowledge to expand housing opportunity for Columbus residents and spark new business investments. We share the values of United Way and look forward to making Columbus an even more inclusive and vibrant city.”

TCB and CMHA has selected Moody Nolan to lead the design team. Headquartered in Columbus and with 11 regional offices across the U.S., Moody Nolan has grown since its founding 40 years ago to become the largest African American-owned and -operated architectural firm in the country and is the 2021 recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 Architecture Firm Award, the AIA’s highest honor. Moody Nolan is the first African American firm in the U.S. to earn this recognition.

The AspireCOLUMBUS proposal apartment rental options will set a new Columbus standard for mixed-income housing, carefully balanced among market-rate units and workforce (households earning below 80% area median income, or “AMI”), affordable (below 60% AMI) and subsidized apartments for extremely low-income households (below 30% AMI).

Rental affordability is measured on a sliding scale by household and apartment size. In practical terms, the affordability mix featured in the CMHA-TCB AspireCOLUMBUS plan means:

  • At least 25% of units will be for households earning less than $20,000. They will have a rent subsidy that ensures they pay less than 30% of their income on housing.
  • At least 15% of units will be for households earning less than $40,000. They will have rents ranging between approximately $800 and $1,150.
  • At least 15% of units will be for households earning less than $55,000. They will have rents ranging between $1,150 and $1,500.
  • The remaining units will have no income restriction, though rents would likely be discounted from recent luxury apartment rents downtown. Preliminary rents are anticipated to be between $1,150 and $2,300.

Apartments at all levels of affordability at AspireCOLUMBUS will be indistinguishably woven throughout the property, according to the CMHA-TCB plan. At least 5% of units will provide physical, visual and auditory accessibility, distributed throughout the building and affordability tiers.

Mixed-use, mixed-income developments attract renters with a range of incomes through desirable locations, quality amenities and professional management. CMHA’s development portfolio includes the successful mixed-income River and Rich development in Columbus. TCB’s development portfolio includes examples such as Oakwood Shores in Chicago and Cascade Village in Akron that have operated successfully for years. Its Avondale Town Center in Cincinnati was recognized as the best mixed-use development in the country in 2020.

CMHA and TCB’s mission-focused partnership makes the AspireCOLUMBUS plan possible by combining tremendous development capacity; extensive national award-winning track records in creating high-quality housing, commercial space and neighborhood amenities; and a mutual, long-term commitment to positive, resident-centered community outcomes,” Beam said.

AspireCOLUMBUS planners will seek to combine mixed-income financing and market-rate financing strategies to maximize the potential of the existing site. The funding sources for AspireCOLUMBUS will include New Markets Tax Credits equity, traditional debt, CMHA funding, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and potential “gap” funding from state and local partners.

“The Columbus region is experiencing a housing crisis. Under Mayor Ginther’s Columbus Housing Strategy, we have committed to building housing infrastructure, preserving affordability, investing in housing, and including everyone in our region’s success. Without meaningful action, this problem will persist, and many of our most vulnerable residents will continue to be impacted the most,” said Erin Prosser, Assistant Director of Housing Strategies at City of Columbus.

“This is an example of an innovative partnership that will bring 135 mixed-income units into our downtown neighborhood, more than half of which will be affordable to those households earning less than $55,000 per-year,” Prosser said.

CMHA will lead the overall development for AspireCOLUMBUS, including programming, design and construction oversight based on decades of experience developing and owning housing in Central Ohio. TCB will be the co-developer, bringing substantial experience with mixed-income and mixed-use development and financial structuring from multiple other regional and national markets.

The proposed redevelopment of the United Way of Central Ohio site comes amid a well-documented shortage of affordable housing in Central Ohio. Only 29 affordable housing units are available for every 100 extremely low-income households in the Columbus and Franklin County area. In Franklin County, roughly 54,000 families spend more than half of their income on housing, according to the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.

Erica Crawley, President of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, says you cannot underestimate the importance of having affordable housing close to public transportation and jobs.

The transformation of the United Way property will provide the best possible quality of life for people who need help most,” Crawley said.

Another benefit highlighted in the AspireCOLUMBUS proposal is that residents will have access to and be encouraged to utilize the services offered through CMHA’s new Resident Initiatives for Success & Empowerment (RISE) Center.

CMHA opened The RISE Center in fall of 2021 near its Linden headquarters, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has designated the site as an Envision center. It is the first of its kind for Columbus and one of only six federally approved EnVision centers in Ohio. It provides a one-stop shop that links CMHA residents with financial literacy, educational advancement and health and employment services to remove barriers to economic self-sufficiency.

Examples of services provided at The RISE Center include helping Franklin County residents:

  • Apply for emergency rental assistance and utility bill payment plans and understand their lease agreement.
  • Sign up for health insurance, unemployment and food assistance.
  • Find employment, housing, medical care and educational opportunities.
  • Manage health and well-being, including understanding illnesses and medications.
  • Learn more about family planning, pregnancy care and care for the entire family.

For more information, visit


About CMHA: CMHA helps people access affordable housing through collaborative partnerships, promotes neighborhood revitalization and assists residents in accessing needed social services. CMHA has more than doubled its portfolio of housing over the last five years. It owns over 4,500 units of affordable housing and through its Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance Programs provides rental assistance to over 160,000 Ohio and Washington, D.C., residents. Approximately 71% of the units in the CMHA portfolio are affordable to renters making 80% AMI or less.

About The Community Builders: The Community Builders’ mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. Our mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. Since 1964, we have advanced housing equity through award-winning affordable and mixed-income communities and our pioneering Community Life model for resident success. Today, our ownership and management portfolio includes over 14,000 apartment homes. Anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, New York and Washington D.C., we operate across 15 states.

About Moody Nolan: Moody Nolan has been a leader for nearly 40 years in the practice of responsive architecture, creative problem-solving and the value of diverse teams. As the largest African American firm in the country, Moody Nolan believes great design happens at the intersection of innovative ideas and divergent points of view — a perfect complement to this bold AspireCOLUMBUS proposal and unique team. Moody Nolan has extensive experience helping nonprofit organizations deliver dynamic space, and it has worked extensively with both CMHA and TCB.

About United Way of Central Ohio: United Way of Central Ohio provides opportunities for people to prosper. We do that by acting as a catalyst for lasting improvements and mobilizing our community to give and volunteer. We raise funds and invest in a network of nonprofit partners that work to ensure people in crisis get food, shelter, and assistance; help children succeed from cradle to career; and engage residents, businesses, and government in neighborhood revitalization efforts. We bring leaders together to improve the policies and systems that directly affect thousands of lives, and we develop and implement innovative and integrated ways to reduce poverty. We are dedicated to making the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion a foundation for everything we do because we know the best decisions are made when all voices are heard and respected. As one of the larger United Ways in the country, we bring together more than 35,000 donors, advocates, and volunteers. For more information, visit

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Güd Marketing
1223 Turner Road, Suite 101, Lansing, MI, 48906
United States

For all inquiries, please contact us at:

If you would like to opt out of future emails, please unsubscribe