A Columbus developer is looking to build affordable housing and an employment hub at the site of the vacant Value City complex on Westerville and Innis roads on the northeast side.

Brad DeHays, owner of Connect Realty, has applied to annex the 27-acre Clinton Township site to the city of Columbus in preparation for development.

“We had a plan that we looked at, something we wanted to do once we found the right property,” DeHays said. “We are excited about the prospect of making this property productive again for central Ohio.”

DeHays bought the site for $ 4.5 million in February 2020 from Ibnu Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center, who had hoped to convert the property into an Islamic shopping, worship and cultural center.

The site consists of two connected buildings comprising approximately 480,000 square feet. When a second story in one of the buildings is counted, the square footage rises to approximately 670,000 square feet.

The buildings housed the former Value City office and warehouse and a Value City department store, which had replaced a Schottenstein department store on the site. Value City closed this store and others at the end of 2008, a few months after the chain filed for bankruptcy.

A developer intends to transform the former Value City department store site on Westerville Road into a housing and employment center.

DeHays said he was working on plans that would include two apartment buildings on the north side of the site, now occupied by a parking lot. The complexes would include around 150 affordable apartments.

The plan would reallocate the existing building.

“We hope that whatever we put into it will be an employment hub for this region, to develop something that generates jobs,” he said.

The annexation request, filed on September 1, indicated that the intended use of the site would be affordable housing and manufacturing.

DeHays said he was working on the details, but hopes to present a plan to the city later this year or early next year if annexation is approved. The site is located in one of the 52 Opportunity Zones in the Columbus area, which provides tax benefits to investors.

Karen Rogers, chair of the Northeast Side Commission, said she had not seen plans for the site but welcomed its redevelopment.

“It just sat there, a big horror, for years and years,” she said. “It would be great to see something go into that, especially if you bring jobs and affordable housing.”

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