Columbus developer National Church Residences proposes affordable housing on Capri Lanes site in Northland

The former home of Capri Lanes in Northland could get new life, thanks to a Columbus developer.

Affordable senior housing developer National Church Residences wants to build an up to 145-unit, five-story apartment building at 5860 Roche Dr.

Longtime bowling alley Capri Lanes shut down at that location about a year ago. National Church Residences would tear down the building and replace it.

The developer has several other projects in the Northland area, including one under construction next door to this site. That project, Salem Village, will have 76 units. National Church Residences’ Worthington East Court, formerly the InCare Suites, is also nearby.

“We are talking about how we could make this more of a campus, with three of our communities so close,” said Amy Rosenthal, the developer’s vice president of affordable housing.

In total, the developer has invested $48 million in the Northland neighborhood, Rosenthal said.

National Church Residences has seven communities for those over the age of 55 in Central Ohio.

The developer is taking a slightly different approach from its usual one with the Roche Drive project. The firm hasn’t secured a funding source for the development before going into contract to buy the property.

Rosenthal said National Church Residences did so because of the site’s proximity to other developments and because the nonprofit developer is in competition with market-rate developers.

“It’s purely strategy for us to acquire land that meets our mission and meets the needs of the growing population of seniors in Central Ohio,” she said. “Central Ohio has a major supply problem for affordable housing, and we’re chronically under-building housing.

“We’re going and competing against the open market for land, so we’re being a little bit more strategic in those opportunities to set aside land specifically for National Church Residences to build quality senior housing.”

National Church Residences will use an acquisition loan from the Affordable Housing Trust to close on the land. The developer plans to apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding in the summer or fall, so construction could start in about two years, said project lead Stephanie Rhodes.

Being prepared with land to pick from when a funding round to hits is a strategy that the developer will likely continue in the future with other projects in other parts of the region, Rosenthal said.

The Columbus Development Commission approved a rezoning of the Roche Drive site last week. Now that legislation is headed to Columbus City Council.


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