The board of directors of the Housing Authority of Columbus unanimously approved Columbia Residential to develop the property that is now the Booker T. Washington public housing complex.
Columbia Residential is the developer that worked with the housing authority to redevelop the old Baker Village apartments into the new Arbor Pointe complex.
“We have had excellent results with Columbia in the past. We could not be happier with their work,” said housing authority Chief Executive Officer Len Williams as he recommended the board accept Columbia proposal.
Williams said the project is in its infancy, so it’s too early to offer many specifics. He said, unlike the redevelopments at Arbor Pointe and Ashley Station, the BTW project will likely have a commercial aspect as well as public housing.
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“I’d be surprised if there weren’t a commercial aspect to it,” he said.
The agreement with Columbia is only for the residential aspect of the project, Williams said. For any commercial work, he said the authority might seek a commercial developer or possibly sell or lease some of the property.
While he couldn’t offer a timeline, he said projects like this usually take four or five years to complete. Demolition is still far down the road, he said. Until then, he said, he is encouraging BTW residents not to worry about the future of their homes.
“We always tell the residents not to move, not to worry. We always take care of the residents,” he said. “They shouldn’t see any impact on their lives for quite a while,” he said.