Campus Partners unveils comprehensive plans for 15th and High

Campus Partners joined The Ohio State University on Friday to announce a comprehensive vision for the 15th Avenue and High Street area, which serves as a critical intersection between Ohio State’s campus and the University District.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide connectivity between the university and the community,” said Keith Myers, Ohio State’s associate vice president for planning and real estate and chair of the Campus Partners Board. “A signature public space east of High Street, soon to be known as University Square, will complement Ohio State’s dynamic arts district on the west side of High Street.”

The new 15th and High will open the university’s front door and connect to the heart of the University District. Campus Partners spent the last several years working with the city and neighborhood to realize a vision created through decades of planning. Key components include:

  • A new public space, University Square, located at 15th and High on the east side of High Street.
  • A high quality, walkable, pedestrian-focused environment.
  • Mixed-use buildings with active ground floor uses.
  • A “Signature Building” anchoring the new University Square featuring direct sightlines to The Oval and William Oxley Thompson Library.
  • A comprehensive parking strategy designed to support the existing and new development.
  • Improvements to the street network and infrastructure as well as streetscape enhancements.
  • A reimagined Pearl Alley serving as a retail corridor.

“This is an exciting time as we’re now going to see all of our planning and community discussions come to fruition,” said Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners. “We can now begin the infrastructure improvements that will benefit the neighborhood well beyond this development’s boundary.”

In 2015, Campus Partners led a rezoning of 9 acres along the High Street corridor bordered by 17thAvenue on the north and 14th Avenue on the south, to a Commercial Planned District to guide the future development to create a distinct sense of place that is visually connected to the University District and Ohio State. An Urban Framework document was developed. The revitalization plan will be guided by a vision based on five objectives for the area:

  • Promote a vibrant, mixed use environment within a multi-block district centered at 15th Avenue and High Street. 
  • Create a new community gathering space at 15th Avenue and High Street to serve as the physical and visual link between the University District east of High Street and the entry to the University’s Campus west of High Street. 
  • Prioritize pedestrians by designing all streets to be walkable, comfortable and safe environments that allow for street level activity and vibrancy. 
  • Reconnect neighborhood streets to High Street, and, where possible, convert to two-way traffic to allow for easy vehicular access and wayfinding. 
  • Address Parking requirements and reduce traffic circulating on neighborhood streets seeking on-street parking by providing a new garage strategically located to serve the new development and existing neighborhood needs.

In addition, Ohio State developed plans on the west side of the intersection for a world-class arts district. Recently approved by Ohio State’s Board of Trustees, the Arts District Master Plan intends to elevate the profile of arts programming and provide a connection between students and the local community.

“Ultimately, when the full vision is realized, we will be bringing students, faculty, staff and community partners involved in the arts closer together to enhance collaboration and hands-on learning—a reflection of the importance we place on the arts and humanities,” said Bruce A. McPheron, Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost.

Renderings unveiled Friday, and developed under the guidance of Myers, depict a cohesive connection between the new University Square on the east side of High Street with the west-side Arts Plaza to create a premiere destination for the university and for the city. Infrastructure work on the east side is expected to begin in early 2017 but an official timeline is not yet known.