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Business & Economy

Near East Side Area Commission asks residents to weigh in on the future of Latitude Five25 property

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The Near East Side Area Commission hopes residents will weigh in on the future of the Latitude Five25 towers.

The commission is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Near East Neighborhood Pride Center, located at 1393 East Broad Street. The agenda includes discussing the future of the buildings.

The Robert Weiler Company, a receivership group that took over the property from former owners Paxe Latitude, is trying to sell the buildings and the accompanying 7.1 acres. The company has asked developers for proposals by May 31.

But Near East Area Commission Chair Kate Curry-Da-Souza said the community hasn't been invited into the conversation.

“The community would like to be able to have continued use of this space on the Near East Side,” Curry-Da-Souza said. “We are in desperate need for more housing, and the community would like to be part of that conversation.”

Hundreds of residents evacuated the dilapidated Latitude Five25 apartment towers on Christmas Day 2022 after a water break. The residents never returned to their apartments.

The building sat empty while the city of Columbus fought a legal battle with Paxe Latitude.

The two 15-story towers were built in the 1960s. Together, they contain almost 400 apartments.

Curry-Da-Souza said the Near East Area Commission doesn’t know exactly what residents want for the property yet, but she believes affordable housing should be a priority.

“I think the best case scenario is whatever's going to be the best opportunity for housing to exist on the Near East Side,” she said.

She said the Near East Side Commission hopes to work with a developer to ensure that the community is represented and the project that takes shape is beneficial for everyone.

“We understand that developers have numbers that they have to hit in terms of projections and productivity,” Curry-Da-Souza said. “But we also understand that we want a project to look great and to be something that’s going to help improve the lives of residents for the next 100 years.”
Representatives from the Columbus attorney’s office are expected at Thursday’s meeting. Curry-Da-Souza said members of city council were also invited.

Nathan Harris, the Near East Commission’s Vice Chair of Community Engagement, will lead the meeting along with Commission Zoning Chair Roy Lowenstein.

The meeting is open to the public and neighbors are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts.

Allie Vugrincic has been a radio reporter at WOSU 89.7 NPR News since March 2023.