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$11M apartment complex proposed at former Springfield school site


An $11 million, 60-unit, low-income apartment complex is being proposed on the east side of Springfield at a former middle school site that has been vacant for more than a decade.

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Indianapolis-based TWG Development, LLC is seeking to rezone a nearly three-acre property at 130 N. Burnett Road, the former Schaefer Junior High School that was demolished by its owner, the Springfield City School District, in 2005.

The City Planning Board will hear the application at 7 p.m. today at the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St. The plan must also be approved by the Springfield City Commission.

Springfield city staff has recommended approval of the rezoning, according to public documents.

The developer has been looking to expand its Ohio portfolio, said applicant Chad Nykiel, development director for TWG Development. Nykiel is based in Cleveland and consistently drove through Springfield on Interstate 70 on the way to Indianapolis, he said.

“We really wanted to see what was there and after talking to some of the folks in city government, we came across some sites that made a lot of sense,” Nykiel said.

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The developer and the city discussed multiple sites and ultimately decided on the former Schaefer site, he said.

The developer wants to rezone the site to a residential district. If the rezoning is successful, the developer plans to seek state housing credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to fund the construction next year. If approved, construction will begin in 2019 with an expected completion date in April of 2020.

The school is selling the property for $200,000, the current asking price, Treasurer Dale Miller said.

The district is selling half of the former property, meaning a portion of the current green space will buffer the proposed apartment complex and the current Schaefer Middle School, he said.

The school has maintained the property while it has been vacant for more than a decade, he said. The district has five sites remaining from demolished school buildings, Miller said.

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Economic growth and new jobs have created a demand for housing in Springfield, the application said. The Ohio Housing Needs Assessment also shows the Clark County market is underserved for families, developers said.

“There’s a lot of growth going on, and we wanted to catch that momentum,” Nykiel said.

The property will create urban housing near downtown and provide new housing options for families in Springfield, Nykiel said.

“If you look at our portfolio, everything we build is high-quality,” Nykiel said.

The three-story building will include 60 units with open floor plans, walk-in closets, in-unit washers and dryers, a fitness room and a community room, according to the application. The plan calls for 15 one-bedroom apartments with about 750 square feet as well as 39 two-bedroom units with an average of 950 square feet.

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The one-bedroom units will cost between $248 and $525 per month and will serve families earning between $13,000 and $26,000 annually.

The two-bedroom apartments will cost between $291 and $650 per month and will be for families earning an annual salary between $15,570 and $31,140.

The three-bedroom units will cost between $331 and $715 for families earning between $18,000 and $36,000 annually.

The developer will have to apply for a conditional use permit if the rezoning is approved because it’s planned to be a three-story building, Planning, Zone and Code Administrator Stephen Thompson said.

“It’s been a long time,” Thompson said. “It would have to be rezoned anyway for any productive use. We’re really supportive of the rezoning. It’s a good fit for that area.”

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Neighborhood Housing Partnership is also developing a $9 million senior living facility nearby at the former Community Hospital site. The surge in housing could lead to more development or retail stores and restaurants for the busy East Main Street corridor, Thompson said.

“I hope they see what’s going on and realize investment in that area is a good thing,” Thompson said.

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