Homeport’s $26 million Mulby Place development is just now wrapping up, but advocates say it’s already bringing Cleveland Avenue back to life.
What was once vacant commercial buildings and rundown homes is now housing for those 55 and older who make between 30% and 60% of the area median income.
“This housing is important because this is our workforce,” said Homeport CEO Leah Evans.
The Mulby Place project has been in the works since 2019, when Homeport responded to a request for qualifications from Columbus Next Generation Corp. That group had pieced together about 3 acres along Cleveland Avenue and wanted to see it developed.
Homeport won the right to do so, and broke ground in 2022 on its project at the intersection of Myrtle and Cleveland avenues. That corner has been a theater, a library and other community uses, Evans said, and the developer wanted to see it become a place people could form community again.
“In five years, we’ve seen a major transformation,” said Next Gen executive director Boyce Safford. “This has accomplished what I had hoped it would. It’s setting the tone for Cleveland Avenue.”
Mulby Place has already led to other potential development.
Next Gen is working on a deal with Detroit, Michigan-based developer Woodborn Partners on a mixed-use development across Cleveland Avenue from Mulby Place. Safford couldn’t disclose other details about the project, which is still in the early stages.
But he said there are also potential plans to do something new with the building that Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen is in.
“It’s very important for the community to get this type of investment,” Safford said. “It’s important for the vitality of the community.”
About Mulby Place
Mulby Place includes two three-story buildings with 70 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units between them. Wallick Communities will manage the property.
Tuhru Derden, project manager for Mulby Place, said nearly 30 units have already been leased, and residents will move in throughout the rest of the year.
There is also new commercial space at the corner of Cleveland and Myrtle, which is still available.
A second phase of the project includes 11 single-family, three-bedroom homes. Homeport has been working with Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families on that component; those homes are nearly complete.
Derden said that because the project is along a busy thoroughfare, Homeport wanted to be sure to include green space that would be accessible for all residents, like the plaza that fronts Cleveland Avenue and the community garden out back.
There is also a pocket park behind the apartment building, and the city is planning a bike and walking path behind that along a former railway line.
“It’s so good to see both public and private investment following our investment in Linden,” Evans said.
Some residents are coming from Linden, but others are coming from all over Columbus. Derden said some residents were formerly homeless or nearly homeless, staying with their children or friends.
Homeport will celebrate the opening of Mulby Place on Monday at 2 p.m.