The affordable housing component of a new Columbus Crew stadium project has been scaled back, as developers and city officials target fewer units than originally expected.
Ground was broken earlier this month on the Crew’s new stadium, which is being built in the city’s Arena District. Plans for the project call for the stadium to anchor Confluence Village, an ancillary mixed-use development that will include housing units, office space, and more.
When the project was first announced last December, it was anticipated that well over 800 units could be developed, with at least 20 percent designated as affordable housing. Those preliminary terms were part of a nonbinding memorandum of understanding, however, meaning that they were subject to revision as further negotiations between the city and Crew ownership took place.
Documents uncovered by the Columbus Dispatch revealed that the housing component of the project was changed during those discussions. First, the total number of units was scaled back to 440. Additionally, the language in the final agreement does not tie the developers to as strict of a requirement regarding affordable housing. Instead of the 20 percent threshold, the agreement loosely calls for developers to aim for 88 affordable units. More from the Columbus Dispatch:
But internal city documents obtained by The Dispatch show that as Crew SC pressed the the city to pay more than double its initial taxpayer contribution — from $50 million to $113.9 million for what [Columbus Mayor Andrew J.] Ginther says includes costs related to additional development around the stadium in the Arena District — the “Confluence Village” affordable-housing component and the projected jobs number were quietly reduced….
“The MOU expressed intent, established expectations for the overall development, but was not legally binding,” said interim city Development Director Mike Stevens. “The (development contract) outlines specific commitments made by all parties, and is a binding agreement, which was the result of months-long discussions and negotiations with the Crew.”
City officials originally had demanded affordable units in early versions of the contract with the Crew. But that requirement for roughly 177 new affordable units transformed into an “effort” to build 88, documents show.
The stadium is currently expected to open in July 2021. Once it opens, it will replace MAPFRE Stadium as the Crew’s home.
Rendering courtesy Columbus Crew SC.
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