Category: The Gramercy New Albany

Meet the Team: Jimmy Hoppel


Jimmy Hoppel joined the Kaufman Development team in June 2013, when he began working as a Community Ambassador at The Gramercy New Albany.

Though his role involves everything from leasing to property management to event planning, Jimmy’s primary objective is helping prospective residents decide which apartment style is best for them. And once they move in, he helps create opportunities for them to have fun and grow in their new community while feeling comfortable and safe.

Here at Kaufman, the staff is encouraged to discover what they’re passionate about and incorporate that into their role, which is what Jimmy says he likes most about his job.

“Many of us have backgrounds and interests in areas such as fashion, art, education and athletics, and you will see those different flavors of each of our personalities come out in the events and programs we create,” he adds.

As a Kaufman employee and a resident, Jimmy has an appreciation for our effort to create a sense of true community.

“Our communities are a fusion of inspiring environments and opportunities to become your best self alongside neighbors with common interests,” he says.

Wellness is a top priority for Jimmy, and since moving to The Gramercy he’s found it easy and exciting to work out consistently, making regular use of its fitness center and classes.

“I have trained for and run my first half-marathon, and I have started taking spinning classes, which are really fun,” he says.

The Ashland University grad –with a bachelor’s degree in political science– is excited to be working at Kaufman as we continue to grow and develop the Greater Columbus area.

“I believe we have the opportunity to make Columbus even better than it already is,” he says, “and I can’t wait to see how we take advantage of that in the future!”

Meet Liz


You might meet Liz at The Gramercy New Albany bootcamp. You might meet her in the community garden or at a BESA event after work. You might meet her on a treadmill, or possibly in the Kaufman Development office. For Liz, The Gramercy became more than a place to live, and more than a place to hang out. Liz said she was so inspired by all the positive changes in her life after moving to The Gramercy that she wanted to actually be a part of it professionally. So now Liz isn’t just a resident, she’s also a Property Ambassador for Kaufman Development.

But let’s back up a few steps and see how her story unfolds. Liz didn’t set out to change her life, but a series of small actions did just that. Something as simple as the free fitness classes offered to residents got her started. “The fitness center was what first attracted me to the community, and since I moved in I’ve lost 32 pounds. It drew me into a healthy and happy lifestyle that I didn’t even know was possible.” And if that wasn’t enough, Liz said the group classes have helped her get to know her neighbors and be more social.

Of course, wellness includes food, which Liz said she enjoys in a healthier way than she used to, from growing her own herbs and vegetables in the community garden to working with a trainer and learning to fix healthy meals for herself. “I got stronger and smarter. I learned what foods to eat as good fuel and what to stay away from.”

Being more physically active inspired Liz to be more active in general. She explained that living in a Kaufman community opened a new door for her—the ability to do more for other people thanks to the community’s relationship with BESA and its conveniently scheduled events. And speaking of opening doors, while Liz could go on and on about how much she loves her apartment—and all the closet space!—she says couldn’t live without all the outdoor space. “We love our private patio and we love to grill in the summer. We put a bistro table and chairs out so it’s the perfect place to sit and have dinner. Then of course we take our dog Brutus out for a walk when we’re done!”

So much has happened for Liz since she moved into The Gramercy, but if you ask her, this is just the beginning. “I believe everything happens for a reason, and moving into The Gramercy has set off a chain reaction of only good things. We were meant to be here. I know more good is coming our way soon!”

Meet Dana


As we develop each of our properties, we want to create more than just a place for you to lay your head, four walls and a roof. We want to accommodate you, to help you get what you need and what you want—not just out of your home—but out of life. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it turns out you were thinking the same thing!

We’ve been delighted to hear your stories about Kaufman communities. They are proof to us that where you live can be more than just an accommodation; it can be an inspiration. In fact, with your stories of new relationships, healthy habits, successful ventures, and gratifying experiences, you’ve inspired us to grow in ways we haven’t even imagined. Now it’s time to get your stories out there to inspire your community.

You might catch a quick glimpse of them in 614, Columbus Monthly, or Fit. But here in our blog, you’ll get the whole story. You might learn something new about one of your neighbors or about your community. And you might just get inspired!

Meet Dana. Actually, meet Dana, Charley, and Dakota. They live in a two-bedroom apartment at The Gramercy New Albany. If you’ve spent any time at the dog park you’ve probably seen them romping and running and getting a quick clean at the bath station. Dana loves how easy it is to keep her apartment free of muddy paw prints, especially with all the energy that she puts into decorating—whether that’s making her own furniture, painting pictures or taking photographs.

Dana said the space she lives in now has enabled her to focus more on herself. She said she looks at her whole apartment as a blank canvas—from her walk-in closet, which she describes as palatial, all the way up to her high ceilings. “My apartment at The Gramercy really feels like me.” And while it started as an act in customizing the physical space, like creating a gallery wall of her favorite places, it grew into so much more. By surrounding herself with “things that are ME,” she explained that she’s been able to focus on what really matters to her, what’s important in her life.

Besides spending more time with her dogs and enjoying the pool and grill, Dana discovered that she started doing more things that she really enjoyed. “I love music. I am a collector of music and I am constantly listening and searching for new music to fall in love with. One thing that I have done more than ever since I have lived here is attend more live music shows. I broke a personal record this year by attending more than a dozen live shows since I moved in.”

Whether it’s spending more time with the two loves of her life—Charley and Dakota, creating things with her hands and “nesting” in her apartment, or enjoying her new-found focus on what really matters to her, we’re thrilled to have Dana in our community.

Meet Jenn & Geoff


Geoff and Jenn would be happy to shake your hand, but make sure they haven’t just come in from the garden. After moving into the Gramercy New Albany, one of the first things the couple did was get a plot in the community garden. “We grew arugula, beets, tomatoes, some herbs, and lots of jalapeños. It was great having the addition of all that fresh produce in our daily diets all summer. Fresh, healthy food is a key element to our lifestyle, and we really enjoyed the opportunity to grow it ourselves.”

The couple explained that lifestyle was the central reason behind the their move. Choosing this Kaufman community supported a larger shift they were making in their lives—to add more time and space that would allow them to grow their business and nurture their personal lives.

The fact that The Gramercy is just a mile from their store, VeloScience Bike Works, is one piece of the equation. “Time we would have spent mowing, raking leaves, and fixing up the house has now been spent developing our business and our pet projects like Sophia’s ReCycle, which has provided dozens of bikes to kids whose families couldn’t afford them.”

For a couple that loves to be physically active, the fitness center has practically been an extension of their apartment. Jennifer teaches the Spinning classes and enjoys yoga and bootcamp, while Geoff said when weather prevents him from training at one of the parks or country roads nearby, he loves that the facility is just a short walk from their doorstep.

Having more time has also translated into taking more joy in their living space. They said they fell in love with the styling and decor, especially how the layout provided a sense of open space and brightness. Geoff explained, “Since moving here we’ve been devouring books. The New Albany Library is a great resource, and for the first time in many years we’ve been able to enjoy having access. Living healthy lifestyles and accomplishing ambitious athletic goals are both important to us, and so much about The Gramercy makes achieving these goals much easier.”

Julie Wilkes Promotes Inspired Living Through New Ventures


Here at Kaufman, we’re excited to be partnering with Seven Studios to offer fitness and wellness activities to residents at two of our communities: The Gramercy New Albany and 600 Goodale.

Free yoga, spinning, bootcamp and circuit training classes are offered at each community on a weekly basis, and monthly wellness workshops on a variety of topics—from nutrition and time management to financial health and stress management—are in the works.

Additionally, Kaufman residents receive a 25% discount on any class package at Seven Studios.

Kaufman’s relationship with Seven Studios Owner Julie Wilkes began in 2012, when Julie hosted the first annual Inspire The World Day at The Gramercy New Albany.

“We share a common vision of helping to bring positive energy to those around us, and building up a stronger city based on health, wellness, kindness and connectivity,” Julie says, adding that she appreciates how our leadership and employees live our values in everything we do.

Julie’s own commitment to inspired living is what prompted her to open Seven Studios in June.

“Opening a studio provides me the opportunity to reach more people, and share positive messages and inspiration,” she says.

Everything Seven Studios does—and even its name—can be tied back to a concept Julie has created called “The 7 Life Miracles.”

“These are seven areas of awareness that, when we are focused on them, open up possibilities in our lives,” she says.

The concept is also the subject of her forthcoming book “The 7 Life Miracles.” It will be available in paperback and in e-book format next year, and sold at, as well as several online and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

“The book is one of the messages I believe my life was meant to share, and so it is an honor to be able to share the inspiration with the rest of the world,” Julie says. “It will inspire you, at times bring you to tears, and it will challenge you to try out small things that help you to tap into the miracles in your life every day. I believe this book will change the life of anyone who reads it.”

To view a schedule of fitness classes offered by Seven Studios at The Gramercy and 600 Goodale, visit

Besa’s Matthew Goldstein Helps Central Ohioans Give Back to the Community


After graduating from The Ohio State University with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and political science, Matt Goldstein landed a job at Abercrombie & Fitch. During his five-year tenure with the retailer, he spearheaded several volunteer projects that engaged hundreds of his co-workers.

When a project ended, the commentary was always the same; Matt’s co-worker’s invariably told him it was their primary contribution to the local nonprofit community. He quickly realized he was working with a group of young, talented, smart people who wanted to be more involved in community service, but lacked the means to fit philanthropy into their busy lifestyle.

That’s when the idea for Besa, a social welfare platform that makes philanthropic opportunities more accessible to the Columbus community, started to take root.

In 2010, Matt resigned from his corporate gig to focus on developing Besa full time. It launched two years later.

“The growth over the first year has been tremendous,” Matt says. “We have had a strong community response from the start. In fact, we added the volunteer portal in March to make it even easier for people to connect with immediate impact projects.”

In January, Besa began managing volunteer opportunities specifically designed for the community here at Kaufman. In March, the Kaufman Development Volunteer Portal launched, allowing residents, staff and friends to sign up for those exclusive opportunities, monitor dollars raised, and track volunteer hours tied to Kaufman initiatives.

We’re proud to report that, to date, Kaufman has logged 275 volunteer hours and donated more than $14,600 worth of goods and services to the community through Besa.

Since Besa’s launch, more than $40,000 in goods and services and 1,200 volunteer hours have been contributed to Columbus nonprofits.

For Matt, the most rewarding part of his job is watching a volunteer light up when they make an impact.

“Just the other week, a first time volunteer was helping a client select food from the Broad Street food pantry,” he says. “After they walked through, the client shook the volunteer’s hand and thanked her profusely. The client exited out the door and the volunteer walked by me with a smile that lit up the entire food pantry.”

Matt also loves seeing volunteers take the initiative to better the client experience.

For instance, Besa volunteers once a month at Dress for Success, helping low-income women select workplace outfits and build confidence. When two volunteers noticed one of the aspects clients struggle with most is how to match items to make an outfit, they met with the executive director and are now in the process of creating a lookbook that clients can use to style outfits appropriately.

So what’s next for Besa?

Matt says his team is developing an app that can be used to sign up for a volunteer project, remind volunteers about an upcoming project, and provide directions to the corresponding venue. A blog highlighting local philanthropic events and efforts, and how to get involved is also in the works.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season, but here at Kaufman we encourage you to pause and consider how you can positively impact our community. Besa’s Adopt a Senior program, which helped more than 1,000 seniors last year, is a great way to give back.

Once again, Besa is partnering with the Central Ohio Agency on Aging to provide low income seniors with Christmas presents. To participate, just send an e-mail to, and Besa will respond with a specific senior and all the details you need to buy, wrap and drop the presents off.

“Many seniors live in isolation, with little or no family support and, for most, the Adopt donation will be the only help they receive over the holidays,” Matt says.

For more information about Adopt a Senior or other Besa volunteer opportunities, visit

Kaufman’s Interior Design Guru Shares Easy Tips for Decorating Your Space


At Kaufman, we are committed to creating communities that have modern, sophisticated architecture. However, a pleasing exterior isn’t enough.

That’s why we work hard to ensure that the interiors of our developments also reflect our aesthetic, as well as our concept of inspired living. To do that, we turn to Visualopathy.

Over the years, the Columbus-based visual merchandising firm has helped design our leasing areas, fitness facilities, clubhouses, and apartment models.

Visualopathy’s first Kaufman project was The Gramercy New Albany, and we’re pleased to be working with the firm again, this time on 600 Goodale and 801 Polaris.

Here, Visualopathy Design Director Randy Geho shares a few tips for improving your space without breaking the bank, and current design trends that can easily be incorporated into your existing home décor, no matter your style.

Note the scale of the furniture in your home
If the apartment is fairly small, keep the furniture on a smaller scale or use a longer sofa with a single chair.

Legs on furniture also help create the feel of a larger, more airy space. Fabric to the floor eliminates the amount of floor you can see, giving the illusion of a smaller area.

Low, sleek pieces can also make the ceiling feel taller, which fools the eye into believing the room is bigger.

Don’t be afraid to paint
For the cost of a few smart cocktails, a gallon of paint goes a long way in creating a whole new look for a room. Renters: don’t be disheartened. Most apartment communities will allow you to paint as long as you repaint your place the original color when you move out.

Also, painting an entire room isn’t necessary to get a pop of color. Choose an accent wall to paint. Maybe it’s the wall you first see when you walk into the space, maybe it’s the wall behind the sofa or bed.

And remember: painter’s tape can be a renter’s best friend. By simply taping off a few squares or stripes and painting those a lively accent color, you can make any wall look like art.

Rethink wallpaper 
Gaudy florals aren’t the only wallpaper prints available these days. And, again, you don’t need to decorate the walls of an entire room—or even an entire wall. Just pick a great print and put it up where it makes you happy.

Consider a mural
It can be an enlarged photo or a reproduction of a great work of art, such as the Mona Lisa, or a mural of graffiti like you’d see in a subway tunnel. The possibilities are endless. And, like wallpapers, most murals aren’t too difficult to remove later.

Make a noticeable change with just a few new items
Reproduction furniture, such as the Egg Chair designed by architect Arne Jacobsen in 1958 for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen, is especially popular right now. An original can cost upwards of $10,000, while reproductions can be had for mere hundreds and in an array of colors.

Speaking of color… A big splash can be made with an area rug, and the selection and price ranges are virtually endless.


The Gramercy Community Garden’s Inaugural Growing Season is a Success


A community garden was planted at The Gramercy this spring, and to our delight it has yielded a bounty of tasty herbs and vegetables and pretty flowers.

Parsley, basil, tomatoes, eggplants, brussel sprouts, hot peppers, squash, lettuce, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, and wave petunias are just some of the goodies that thrived during the garden’s inaugural growing season.

Residents are responsible for taking care of their own plots.

“Some residents have built friendships at the garden, and they look out for each other’s plots,” says Gramercy Community Ambassador Jimmy Hoppel.

The garden’s 44 plots range from four to 30 square feet in size.

A trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and a planting demonstration by Pam Baker of Baker’s Acres Greenhouse helped get the residents inspired and prepared to make the most of their garden.

Additionally, a garden committee was formed to help oversee its progress. During the committee’s meetings, residents discussed improvements to the garden as well as what the Gramercy could provide to better their gardening experience.

Those meetings birthed a shed (complete with gardening tools) and a birdhouse designed to control the insect population.

A class about closing down your plot for fall, transferring plants indoors, and what to plant now so your plot is ready come springtime will prepare the Gramercy’s gardeners for the months ahead.

“I think the first growing season went well,” Jimmy says. “So many residents were able to explore gardening for the first time and see success.”

The garden was also a beautiful aesthetic addition to The Gramercy, adding pops of green, red, yellow, and purple to the grounds, he says.


Second annual Inspire the World Day takes place at The Gramercy New Albany


During a goal-setting workshop three years ago, Julie Wilkes was encouraged to come up with a “big, hairy, audacious goal.” After reflecting on what matters most to her, Julie came up with the idea for Inspire the World Day, an event designed to create a greater community of people focused on health, happiness and positively impacting the world around them.

“We have so much talent in Central Ohio, and I wanted to showcase all of the amazing health and wellness professionals that people can learn and be inspired from, all while doing something good for others,” she says.

The second annual Inspire the World Day will take place Saturday, August 24 at The Gramercy New Albany, located at 5935 Central College Rd. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. with sunrise yoga and concludes at 5 p.m. with happy hour and a live musical performance by the Wheatgrass Revival Band.

A speech by plane crash survivor Skip Vachon, two panel discussions (one of which features Kaufman Development CEO Brett Kaufman), and a digital photo scavenger hunt are also among the day’s activities.

When choosing speakers for the event, Julie says she kept several criteria in mind.

“I looked for real life people who are out there impacting the world for the better,” she says. “I looked for stories of overcoming odds to live a powerful life. I looked for professionals that could add a variety of topics and interests, and who think outside of the box. I looked for professionals who walk their talk.”

Giving back is another prominent theme at Inspire the World Day, which is why the event’s net profits will be donated to Make-A-Wish of Central Ohio.

Those who participate in the event will leave with a renewed sense of energy, Wilkes says, adding that past attendees have even called it life-changing.

“We promise a day of inspiration, motivation, education, challenge, fun, laughter, and impact,” she says.

To learn more about Inspire the World Day, or to register, visit

Spinning Improves Cardio Fitness, Strength


Several years ago, Jennifer Clark’s husband, Geoff, suggested she join him and his cycling friends for a class at a nearby spin studio. As a runner, she needed to crosstrain, especially during the winter months when running outdoors isn’t exactly pleasant, so she went along.

One of the spin studio’s instructors quickly stood out to Jennifer. In fact, he would later become her mentor.

“His movements on the bike mirrored the up-tempo beats of his music while at the same time being physically challenging,” she says. “It wasn’t like any other spin class I had ever taken, and I was hooked.”

Jennifer started teaching spin classes of her own about four years ago, and she seems to have borrowed from her mentor.

“I incorporate the tempo of the music to dictate the level of intensity, and the rider controls the amount of resistance, but the music dictates your pedaling speed,” she says. “A well taught spin class shouldn’t be drudgery. It should be fun and exciting and over before you know it!”

Jennifer contends that the cardiovascular fitness and strength that spinners develop will help them burn fat faster and train their bodies to use energy more efficiently.

“If you are a cyclist, it will have a direct impact on your performance on the bike,” she adds.

Jennifer would know. She and her husband own a bike shop—VeloScience Bike Works— in New Albany.

“Knowing proper form on a road bike transfers to spin bikes, so making sure everyone in my class is fitted properly on their bikes is important,” she says, adding that any guidance she can give—from equipment to apparel and shoes—is helpful for someone who may want to transition to road riding.

However, Jennifer insists that spin classes are for everyone, not just cyclists.

“It’s a great and challenging cardiovascular workout, and it can be a great substitute for outdoor riding, whether you ride outdoors or not,” she says. “It’s a terrific way boost your fitness level with little impact and improve your health.”

Jennifer teaches spinning at The Gramercy on Tuesdays from 7-8 a.m. She also co-teaches spin yoga at The Gramercy on Saturdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Both classes are offered by Fitness in the City, a company committed to supporting local professionals and businesses that make fitness a lifestyle. Visit to register for a class.