Program to build diversity among housing developers

Illustration of quarters transformed into nails.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Building a new pipeline of developers from underrepresented backgrounds could help solve Central Ohio's affordable housing crisis, local leaders say.

What's happening: A new loan program to help minority developers build more homes β€” particularly women and people of color β€” launched yesterday through the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County.

Tyler Buchanan
May 12, 2022 - Business

Bill would prevent Ohio cities from regulating short-term rentals

Illustration of a luggage cart carrying apartments, a house, and high-rises.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Columbus is home to more than 1,000 Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, but a proposed law would give the city little to no say in how they operate.

Driving the news: Two dozen Republican lawmakers support House Bill 563, which would prevent local governments from regulating the "number, duration or frequency of rental periods for short-term rentals."

Tyler Buchanan
May 11, 2022 - Business

Former Kroger Bakery site to become housing, retail space

An overview shot of a former commercial bakery and factory site.
The former Kroger Bakery site on Cleveland Avenue is being restored for mixed-use development. Photo: Doral Chenoweth III/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

The site of a former car assembly plant and bakery near downtown is being redeveloped into an apartment complex and retail space.

  • Developers Casto, Kelley Cos. and The Robert Weiler Company want to turn the historic 9.3-acre site into 49,000 square feet of offices, and another 8,850 square feet into shops and restaurants, along with 364 apartment units.
Tyler Buchanan
May 10, 2022 - Business

COTA seeks startups' help with new innovation lab

The lobby of a tech innovation space at a public transit agency.
The entrance to COTA's new "Go! Mobility Lab" meant to bring together transit officials with local startup innovators. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

For the Central Ohio Transit Authority to effectively modernize, the agency knows it needs some outside help from Columbus' brightest tech minds.

Why it matters: COTA recently opened a "Go! Mobility Lab" on the seventh floor of its High Street headquarters with a goal of working closely with the city's rapidly-growing startup scene, part of an ongoing tech overhaul meant to better serve its millions of annual riders and draw in new ones.

We tried it: Ramen served by a robot

An animated gif of a robot waiter delivering food to a table
A robot server arrives at a table at Hiro Ramen & Tea on Sawmill Road. Clip: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

A boy gasped as the waiter wheeled over his dinner. "That's a Roomba! A Roomba has our food!"

  • Adults smirked and recorded videos while the little white robots with blinking blue eyes carefully maneuvered around tables, never spilling a single drop of hot ramen broth.

What to watch: Netflix's Abercrombie & Fitch doc

Shoppers hold Abercrombie & Fitch bags displaying topless men
Shoppers hold Abercrombie & Fitch's iconic bags displaying topless men in 2010. Photo: Brooks Canaday/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

If you want to stay inside and binge shows this weekend, check out Netflix's "White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch."

Quick take: The documentary highlights a history of discriminatory hiring practices and hypersexual marketing at the New Albany-based company during its surge of popularity in the '90s and early 2000s.

Trolley District's East Market opens this weekend

The Oak Street side of East Market, a brick building with a green painted facade
The Oak Street side of East Market. Photo courtesy of Connect Real Estate

The Columbus area's newest food hall debuts Saturday, offering Creole cuisine, pizza, gourmet waffles and more inside the shell of a refurbished 1800s trolley barn.

What's happening: East Market, near Franklin Park, will offer a slate of family-friendly grand opening activities from 11am-11pm, including a magician, face painting, a visit from Columbus Zoo animals and a DJ.

Kroger remains king of Columbus-area grocery stores

Chain Store Guides, LLC; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Kroger is once again the go-to grocery store for Columbus area shoppers, according to new data from sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.

Why it matters: We've all got to eat. And hungry Ohioans continue to be overwhelmingly loyal to our homegrown grocery chain.


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