Rivergate project featured in The Athens News

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Church would make way for apartment complex under proposal

Zoning board, citing parking and height issues, rejects variances

By Conor Morris

published: Wednesday, May 21

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Photo Credits: Photo by Terry Smith, The Athens NEWS. Photo Caption: Under a proposal from Homestead U of Columbus, the New Life Assembly of God Church near OU’s South Green would be razed to make way for a student apartment complex.

Owners of the Riverpark and River’s Edge apartment complexes on South Green Drive have big plans for the land where the New Life Assembly of God Church currently stands.

Student housing company Homestead U LLC of Columbus plans to build a new 4.5-story, $20 million apartment building called “Rivergate” on the spot.

The only problem is, those plans may be a little too big; in a 4-1 vote, the Athens Board of Zoning Appeals at a May 13 hearing denied the owners four requested variances from city codes. That decision can be appealed. Concerns also have been raised about whether the plans have enough parking.

Phillip Foster, the pastor at the New Life Assembly of God church, spoke at the zoning board meeting in favor of the project.

He said the church entered into a contract with Homestead U’s late last year. If and when issues with the city and OU are resolved and the church finds a new location (Foster assured the board that it would still be in Athens), the church will be torn down and replaced with the Rivergate complex.

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