Commons at Buckingham – BCDT blog 6

For this case study the Back Corner Design Team visited the Commons at Buckingham (CB). CB is a well maintained, relatively new, affordable housing apartment building located at 328 Buckingham St. Before visiting we did a general site overview with the following results:


Site Characteristics:

  • Name of the Property: Commons at Buckingham
  • Owner/Manager: Commons at Buckingham Housing L P
  • Type of Funding:

Capital Financing Sources JP Morgan Capital Corporation, LIHTC Equity $ 6,935,482 City of Columbus HOME Funds $ 1,100,000 Franklin County HOME Funds $ 500,000 Soft Debt $ 2,338,342 Other $ 81,521 Total $ 10,955,345 Operating Financing Sources Project Based Section 8, HAP Subsidy $ 552,860 Tenant Rent $ 110,740 Services Financing Sources Medicaid/Medicare/County Levy/Private Insurance $ 171,000

  • Population Served: no data
  • Year Built: 2011
  • Number of Buildings: 1
  • Number of Units: 100
  • Land Use Classification: Commercial Apartment
  • Square Footage of Building: 59,128
  • Total Assessed Value: 1,400,010


Following the site characteristic investigation, most of which was done using information from Franklin County’s auditor maps, we actually visited the physical location in order to see how well it is maintained, along with it’s location relative to other parts of the city.


A view of the facade from the parking lot

A brick road leading to CB. The sidewalk (right) is relatively poorly maintained.

Nearby fencing (not managed by CB) in poor condition

a view of CB from the adjacent highway

nearby businesses are inaccessible and alienating

Additional angles of CB

nearby areas are vacant or completely commercial

Site Analysis:

The largest benefit the location has is it is a short walk away from Columbus State. This provides tenants easy access to higher education.

The building itself is very out of place. Aesthetically it looks very nice, and takes a modern approach. It is surrounded by highway (i670), a gated semi truck shipping yard, a field, and other various buildings that do not have similar uses or architecture. CB itself is tucked away almost against the highway.

It is by the company ABBOTT, but other than that there isn’t a whole lot around it. The building and landscape is well maintained and it seems like a great spot for students, but it’s in an isolated area that’s noisy from the highway

The building is nice and well maintained, but it’s terrible location(and isolated surroundings) takes away from its value. The building might be okay with students renting, but not a good permanent living situation as it would be a hike to the nearest store or even gas station.

There are very few bus routes within walking distance of the location, aside from those made to service C State.


From LexisNexis


Number of crimes

500 ft:  6

1000 ft: 9

.25 miles: 10

.5 miles: 167



The address is in the dark blue, which is the lowest density that still has crimes occuring. Therefore, it is not anywhere near one of the highest crime rate areas within .5 miles. Several blocks west is significantly higher in crime rates.

Within 500 and 1000 feet however, the property becomes the desnist area of crime – however this is most likely due to the fact it is one of few buildings in the area whatsoever.


Most common crimes:

The most common crime within 1000 ft is theft, of which there are 3. Within .5 miles, however, the most common crimes are, in order: Burglary from a motor vehicle (18), All other criminal (10), and Assault (8)


Nearby schools:

Columbus State Community College N/A

East High School 2/10

Champion Middle School 3/10

Trevitt Elementary School 1/10

Property Values:

Property Values:

There was only one property that was even near the housing development, which had a property value of $152k

Properties to the east of the development had similar property values to the one near by development

Properties to the northwest (north of 670) had a much higher PV, as did those to the south in downtown Cbus

This is mostly due to the development’s close proximity to two noisy interstate highways and an industrial area

Closing Remarks:

Overall CB itself seems like a relatively safe, and semi-acceptable place to live. When members of BCDT did a crime comparison to some of their own living situations, it was significantly safer. Furthermore, the property itself is indeed well maintained and the building looks nice form the outside (which often indicates a well maintained interior).

The largest downfall of the building is its location. Because it is rather isolated, with the exception of Columbus State, there is little residents can do without a car. The direct access to i670 is an indicator of the car-centricity of the design. Furthermore, local public schools are low ranking. This can hinder youth growing up in the building and make Columbus State’s accessibility almost irrelevant for them. Overall, CB is a best pick for those looking for affordable housing near Cstate that have access to a car.



Back Corner Design Team Art Planning – Blog 4

Pictured above is a rather unpleasant, aesthetically speaking, strip of High Street. It includes the sidewalk in front of the Ohio Stater, and the area in front of White Castle. This area is characterized by flat, cement, nothingness. In the mid afternoon, when we visited, it was also very sunny and somewhat unwelcoming. The result is that we felt far more comfortable and welcomed walking on the Campus side of the street. However, what is the purpose of a sidewalk if it does not feel welcoming to pedestrians. Having people prefer the campus side of the street leads to more congestion, and less business for stores along the edge.

We devised a plan to tackle the unfriendliness of the place using art.

The basic outline of the plan is broken into two parts, left and right. On the left is what we called the “green stretch” which would act as a water retention plot, a location for more aesthetically pleasing lighting, and as a way of removing the very ugly intersection of road and sidewalk. In the first two pictures posted, it can be seen that there is very little greenery. The goal of this project would be to improve greenery without losing the feeling of the area. Every two trees along this strip would then include a lamp post much like the one pictured in front of the UDF sign. Artist would then be employed to create OSU themed bike racks next to each light (in our initial rough draft they simply spell OSU, however a more creative approach could be taken by local artists). This creates a better sense of place, and encourages bicycle use. The overall goal is to create a well shaded, green, and friendly place during the day that doubles as a safely lit area at night.

Funding such a project can be difficult. Especially because the green space requires maintenance. That is where the image on the right comes into play. The goal is to add a large billboard onto the top of the White Castle. It’s location is designed to further provide adequate shade for the sidewalk. The billboard could then, theoretically, be rented out to potential advertisers — provide offering discounted design assistance through OSU’s design school, thus further integrating the arts. The profits generated from the billboard could then be used to pay a landscaper to maintain the grass/flower/tree beds proposed on the left.

Another part of this area that is subject to change is this:

a short wall, about 5 feet, separates a parking lot from the sidewalk. It is a rather bleak beige color that stretches the entire block, and as can be seen, does not add much personality to the street. If the above idea is not adopted, something surely must be done to create a more inviting environment. We have proposed a mural + smaller green space. below is a rough draft of what the space could look like.

The art installation is heavily Ohio themed, featuring alternating buckeye leaves and Block Os, a red carnation garden (the state flower), and a Block O garbage can. There are, of course, other ideas implementable at this site as well. As mentioned in the photo, a Columbus Skyline Mural would be a good choice for the wall. Including the skyline would not only provide personality to the area, but also reinforce the idea that Ohio State is part of Columbus, as opposed to a separate entity within the borders. This artistic choice would improve sense of place, atmosphere of the sidewalk, and utilitarian use (trash cans help to cut down on litter, and attractive facades help to attract business to the Ohio Stater and the neighboring businesses).

Funding for this mural could, once again, be implemented by corporate sponsorship. Adding benches along the garden allows advertising opportunities, and integrating the financial interests of the Ohio Stater can be a good way to incentive involvement from the firm. While maintenance would still be important, the mural could be used as an alternating display for Ohio State design and art students as well.


— Back Corner Design Team–