November 30, 2023

Furniture Bank

Swing Your Furniture Bank

Meet Steelton Village, 100-year-old Ohio warehouse getting new purpose

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Developers of a repurposed 130-year-old warehouse south of downtown are expanding with a surrounding neighborhood featuring 1,000 residences, restaurants, workplaces, and more. 

Named Steelton Village, the 36-acre development is growing from The Fort, a former 19th-century ladder and fire truck factory. The space is now home to more than two-dozen tenants, including furniture maker Fortner, architects, coffee roasters, photographers, and more. 

Plans released last month call for a $350 million walkable community around The Fort, with more than 1,000 residences sitting on 26 acres. In addition, New York-based City Winery is redeveloping a building adjacent to The Fort, opening this winter. Honest Friend, a newly formed brewery and taproom, is also joining the village, eyeing a summer 2023 opening. 

Kyle Katz and Justin McAllister (Courtesy Photo/Dylan Menges).

Justin McAllister, the owner of Fortner, acquired the property in 2017 and later partnered with Columbus developer Kyle Katz to reinvigorate the area. McAllister said he fell in love with the property’s character and history.

“[McAllister] has set forward the DNA of our community,” Katz said. “Art is in the atmosphere, and we want that to be transplanted throughout the 36 acres of Steelton.” 

The developers submitted a request to the City of Columbus to rezone the property for residences last week. McAllister said the team is in talks with apartment builders and is eyeing a groundbreaking for sometime next year. 

Several new structures will house the apartments connected to the village by a tunnel under South High Street. Katz said the goal is to develop a walkable “community of vital energy” with residents who live, work, and play in Steelton Village. 

“We are a reflection of not the past, but rather what’s coming next,” Katz said. “What we want to do with Steelton is really design and build for that next Columbus, not for the one that exists today.” 

When McAllister first acquired the area, his ambitions were far lower. However, he said local business owners have inspired expansion opportunities. 

“What I underestimated was the strength of the community that happens when you bring people together,” McAllister said. “The network and the energy that comes from all of these different entrepreneurial, pioneering folks down here has continued to really fuel the fire to think about how we can continue to grow.”