Skip to main content

Columbus State, Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. partnership proposes 160-unit workforce housing development

Project will provide affordable apartments for students and downtown workers 

Campus News | Monday, March 4, 2024

Columbus State Community College’s real estate affiliate plans to transform a block adjacent to the downtown campus into a new 160-unit affordable apartment complex that will reserve 20 units exclusively for Columbus State students. 

Woda Cooper logoThe $47 million project, called Opportunity Pointe, will be built and managed by Woda Cooper Companies, Inc., a nationally known affordable housing developer, through a joint venture with Columbus State Community Partners, the college’s independent real estate nonprofit. 

“This innovative development will address a key impediment to student success – housing insecurity – while bringing affordable rents within reach of lower-wage workers to a highly desirable downtown location,” said Zachary Woodruff, the college’s chief real estate development officer and executive director of Columbus State Community Partners. “The Opportunity Pointe apartments will simultaneously address a critical student need, support the broader regional demand for affordable housing and revitalize a largely dormant downtown block.”

Columbus State Community Partners is contributing seven parcels to the project through a long-term land lease with Woda Cooper. The leased properties make up about 75% of the project block, which is bordered by Cleveland and North Grant avenues and East Spring and East Long streets. Woda Cooper is working to secure additional parcels on the block. 

The project is contingent on a 9 percent tax credit that Woda Cooper is seeking from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. If tax credits are approved, development would begin in early 2025. 

Per unit rents would be priced at varying rates based on income eligibility and the size of the unit. Projected rents will range from $365-$995 for a one-bedroom, $410-$1,175 for a two-bedroom, and $440-$1,295 for a three-bedroom. 

“Working with Columbus State Community College has provided a great opportunity to build on our mutual vision and combined expertise and resources to address the need for quality affordable housing aligned with the City of Columbus’ vision to increase housing options downtown,” said Jeffrey J. Woda, Founder of Woda Cooper. “We look forward to our partnership to create this new community near the downtown campus and close to many jobs, transportation, and cultural opportunities.”

Woda Cooper’s portfolio has approximately 330 properties and 16,000 housing units operating or in development across 17 states, including more than 20 properties in central Ohio. It consistently ranks among the top affordable housing developers and owners in the country by Affordable Housing Finance.

Proposed site of affordable housing“Housing insecurity is a major barrier that can derail students’ plans. Having affordable apartments so close to our campus will offer a tremendous benefit to students,” said Desiree Polk-Bland, Columbus State’s vice president of student affairs.

The college expects to incorporate Opportunity Pointe’s dedicated student apartments in its Success Bridge student housing support program, which received $2 million in support from the City of Columbus in 2023. The program provides housing counseling, one-time or short-term housing payment assistance and other supports. Success Bridge is a partnership between the college, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, Community Shelter Board and Home for Families.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s annual housing needs assessment says that there are too few affordable housing units, particularly in central Ohio, and the “the gap between supply and demand is widening.” Both the City of Columbus and Franklin County have identified affordable housing as a key priority.

“We are excited by Columbus State Community Partners’ plans for workforce housing adjacent to the Columbus State campus,” said Columbus Downtown Development Corporation CEO Greg Davies. “Columbus State is a critical partner in one of downtown’s underdeveloped areas, and we are very encouraged by this proposal and the commitment of the Community Partners organization to transform its downtown campus and strengthen the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Columbus State Community Partners, authorized in 2019 by the college Board of Trustees, was created to advance, encourage and promote real estate development that supports the college’s mission. Community Partners is governed by an independent board that includes college trustees, members of the Columbus State Foundation board and community members with expertise in real estate.



Go to 2024 Archive Go to Campus News