Council to take up approval of loan to downtown developer

Columbus City Council tonight will be considering giving final approval to a controversial loan to a developer to build an apartment and retail building on a small downtown lot.

The council is considering a $5.8 million forgivable loan to developer Flaherty & Collins to build an estimated 50-apartment complex on the small lot at Sixth and Washington Streets beside the Cummins parking garage. The company, which is also building the Taylor apartments next to the Bartholomew County Jail, plans to construct a complex with first floor commercial space and apartments above. The apartments are expected to rent for local market rates, in the neighborhood of $1,300 a month according to the developer.

Many residents spoke out against the project at its first hearing before the council earlier this month, with concerns about why the city is subsidizing a higher-end apartment building, when there is such a need for affordable, low-income housing in the city. They also were upset about the loss of the green space on the empty lot.

The loan funds would come from the city’s tax increment financing district revenue, which comes from the growth in property taxes in the city’s special taxing units.

A divided council gave its first approval on Dec. 5th.

The council is holding a special meeting at 6 p.m. tonight at Columbus City Hall.

Photo courtesy of Hadley Fruits for Landmark Columbus Foundation.