The future of an off-campus bar and church remain uncertain, as the University Area Commission might approve a proposal that might tear both down.
The commission will decide Jan. 18 if a proposal to tear down and replace The Little Bar and University Baptist Church of Columbus with two apartment buildings will be recommended to Columbus City Council. American Campus Communities, a texas-based national student housing development and management company, will make the proposal.
Michael Kehlmeier, chairman of the University Area Commission’s Zoning Committee, said in an email the commission has yet to hear any objections to demolishing the buildings, and he has no issue with the plan to remove them.
“I am more familiar with the Little Bar building,” Kehlmeier said. “This was a breakfast spot when I was young and I’d go there to eat late at night.”
The University Area Commission Zoning Committee approved the proposal earlier in January. A recent plan features eight-story and six story buildings connected by a walkway. If the council approves the proposal, American Campus Communities can begin to break ground with its plan.
American Campus Communities, The Little Bar, and the University Baptist Church of Columbus did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
According to Columbus Business First, The Little Bar owner John Massimiani previously said he has four years left on the lease of the property, but he would be willing to move the bar sooner if the lease is bought out.
Kehlmeier said the company, American Campus Communities, initially came to the commission in fall 2022 with plans for a bigger development, but the Zoning Committee worked with them to downsize the project.
Kehlmeier said the initial plan would have also torn down apartment buildings on the east side of High Street, which would’ve eliminated affordable housing options for Ohio State students.
“Another good point about this project, it will not tear down affordable housing to build it,” Kehlmeier said. “For example, the proposed project on the east side of High at Lane Avenue would tear down several historic apartment buildings with more-affordable housing. So the district would demolish housing just to build more housing.”
According to its website, American Campus Communities operates on 203 communities on 93 college campuses across the United States. In Ohio, they manage buildings at the University of Toledo and Kent State University.