Columbus is a city of contrasts, a rust-belt manufacturing town, a center of government and a Midwest college town all at once.
But while its other Ohio neighbors garner all the press, C-bus has quietly positioned itself as a trendy economic and entertainment city, with growing residential populations and booming nightlife, centered around the third-biggest university in the nation, an emergent sports entertainment district and some of America’s most stylish neighborhoods like German Village and Short North.
The populace of Columbus contains a number of diverse and unique neighborhoods, on both sides of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers and along the outskirts of the large community. But from the city center to the border enclaves, what Columbus neighborhoods have seen the largest increases in rental prices over the last 12 months?
- Price increase over the past year: 7.06 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Downtown: $1,387
Downtown Columbus is certainly the heart of Discovery City. The compact district is bounded by the Scioto River and the series of highways east of the river that form the Innerbelt, I-670 to the north, I-70/71 along the south and the Olentangy Freeway (State Route 315) out west. Inside this loop are the key cultural, governmental and entertainment components of Columbus.
At the center of it all is Broad & High, the intersection Columbus’ tallest buildings and biggest businesses share with the Ohio Statehouse, just two blocks from the city’s beautiful riverfront. The riverfront area is primarily recreational, featuring a number of parks like Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile Promenade and Battelle Riverfront Park.
Just north of the river’s western bend is the Arena District, which — as its name implies — is home to Nationwide Arena which houses the city’s only major league team, the NHL’s Blue Jackets. The district also features the minor league Huntington Park stadium and Express Live!, an indoor/outdoor music venue, as well as a number of pre- and post-game drink and eating spots along Vine Street and the aptly named Nationwide Boulevard.
A bevy of business, nightlife and entertainment spots in Downtown can also be found throughout the High Street Corridor/Uptown District, which runs from the Statehouse to near the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Like many Midwestern cities, Columbus’ Downtown becomes more desirable every year as new and trendier businesses and residences open that cater to millennials and young professionals. Accordingly, Downtown is one of the city’s fastest increasing rental districts, with a one-bedroom apartment averaging $1,387 a month, up a little more than 7 percent from last year.
- Price increase over the past year: 7.72 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Franklinton: $1,304
Along the other side of the Scioto River is the historic Franklinton neighborhood, the first American settlement in central Ohio. For the first six decades of its existence, Franklinton remained its own city until it was annexed by Columbus in 1859. This independent beginning gave the district its own personality distinct from its neighbor across the river, which remains intact today.
Throughout the 20th century, Franklinton suffered hard times due to economic depression, the loss of property through highway construction and periodic devastating flooding. But urban redevelopment, government financing and a seven-mile-long floodwall have bolstered the neighborhood’s economic revival.
As on the opposite side of the river, Franklinton’s riverfront is adorned with park and recreation land, including the Dodge Park Recreation Center, the National Veterans Memorial and COSI (Center of Science and Industry) science museum. The majority of the neighborhood is residential and light industrial, but there are a number of retail, grocery, restaurant and nightlife spots along Franklinton’s Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue east/west corridors. The area also features an increasingly-vibrant visual arts community, especially within the Arts and Innovation District.
The Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One” takes place in Franklinton in the year 2044, showing a rather bleak future of the neighborhood. But truth is, Franklinton is quickly moving away from its “The Bottoms” reputation, with rents averaging $1,304 for a one-bedroom unit — comparable to across the river — and up a similar 7.72 percent from a year ago.
3. Northern Woods
- Price increase over the past year: 10.26 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Downtown: $786
The small Columbus neighborhood of Northern Woods is, as advertised, a wooded suburban-style community at the north end of the city limits. Just south of the town of Westerville, Northern Woods is a primarily residential community with single-family units populating most of the northern side of the neighborhood and a number of apartment complexes along its southern end.
Two commercial corridors line the edges of Northern Woods, on the southern end along East Dublin Granville Road and on the west end along Westerville Road (State Route 3). The primary retail center of the neighborhood is the Columbus Square Shopping Center, a large retail mall that dates back to 1947, featuring 68 stores. James O. Casto and Cooper Parks feature several athletic fields along the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail, part of the extensive Ohio to Erie Trail.
While the rent for an average one-bedroom apartment is a low $785 monthly, that reflects an increase of 10.25 percent year-to-year.
- Price increase over the past year: 15.65 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Downtown: $716
Along the western edge of Columbus is the appropriately-named neighborhood of Westland. The geographically-large district, part of the larger West Columbus region, is subdivided into a number of smaller neighborhoods including Laurel Green, Westbend, Woodlawn, Cherry Creek, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Columbus and Lincoln Village, created in the 1950s as a planned community for Nationwide Insurance employees.
The neighborhood is bisected by a portion of the Camp Chase Trail, a key section of the Ohio to Erie Trail, and is a version of a rail trail with the active train tracks still in use.
Several other landmarks dot Westland, including the Mentel Memorial Golf Course, a 20,000-square-foot, par 72 championship course, Bolton Field, one of Columbus’ 12 general aviation public airports and the former Westland Mall, a large suburban-style mall currently awaiting renovation.
There are several retail and service centers throughout the village, including at the intersections of Norton and Hall Roads and along Georgesville Road near the offramps from Outerbelt/Jack Nicklaus Freeway (I-270).
A number of businesses also line West Broad Street (U.S. 40) on the neighborhood’s north side near the neighboring Hollywood Casino, including a number of taco trucks setting up shop each day.
Like its Northern Woods counterpart, Westland is also primarily residential with a mixture of single-family homes and apartment complexes. As well, rents and price increases are similar, with a one-bedroom unit leasing for just $716 monthly on average, and up 15.65 percent over the past 12 months.
1. Victorian Village
- Price increase over the past year: 31.62 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Victorian Village: $1,607
Sometimes, it’s not who you are, but who your neighbors are. The historic neighborhood of Victorian Village most certainly benefits from its location a block removed from the entire length of the trendy bars, cafes, restaurants and retail shopping of Columbus’ Short North Arts District. The shops, pubs and galleries along North High Street are a short walk from anywhere in Victorian Village, without the distraction of having to reside along the busy offbeat street.
That doesn’t mean Victorian Village isn’t a great place on its own. Columbus Monthly named it the “Best Neighborhood for Arts/Entertainment” and Columbus Underground listed it as No. 4 in the “Top 10 Neighborhoods in Columbus.”
The district is filled with dozens of beautiful Victorian and Queen Anne homes (which can be viewed during the Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens) and features the 33-acre Goodale Park, an urban park that offers promenade walking trails, athletic fields, tennis courts and a fountain lake. The park is also home to ComFest, a half-century-old free “non-corporate” arts and music festival.
Convenience abounds in the Victorian Village district, as well, with a top 10 walk score among all neighborhoods of Columbus, and Neil Avenue, site of the city’s first streetcar line, serving as a primary regional artery with the Arena District an easy ride south and The Ohio State University campus a simple hop north.
But convenience can be costly. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Victorian Village has ballooned 31.62 percent from a year ago to an average of $1,607 a month as residents take advantage of the proximity to Short North and points south.
We looked at all neighborhoods in Columbus with sufficient available inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and compared the average price from September 2019 to September 2019 to find the neighborhoods with the highest percentage increase in one-bedroom apartment prices.
The current rent information included in this article is based on September 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.