2010 may not immediately spring to mind as a great year for urban development projects in Columbus, but if you’ll take a moment to reflect with us, you might be surprised to see how much was actually going on throughout the city this year. A few signature projects like the Main Street Bridge and Phase 1 of Grandview Yard were completed while others like Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile continue with construction into 2011. This year we also saw numerous projects announced, including Wonderland in Italian Village and the Pizzuti Hotel in the Short North.
Below is a rundown of all of the major urban development projects that were completed, under construction, or announced in 2010.
Projects Completed in 2010
Grandview Yard Phase One – Grandview Yard first announced Phase 1 of their 90 acre development in Grandview Heights in July of 2009, and that first phase celebrated its grand opening on September 1st with the completion of the new Hyatt Place Hotel, Urban Active Gym and Jason’s Deli. Additional office tenants are still filling into the site, and the Buckeye Hall of Fame grill also opened in November. Phase 2 of Grandview Yard has yet to be announced, but we could expect to hear something new in early 2011.
Main Street Bridge – The long-under-construction and semi-controversial Main Street Bridge opened Downtown over the Scioto River this summer. Initial reactions to the bridge were mixed. Many people cried out over the financial cost and budget overruns, while others were enamored by the architectural beauty of the bridge. Many CU regulars set out early to capture photos of the bridge and see how it adds new vistas of the Downtown Skyline.
The New Ohio Union (Photo by Patient Zero) – On March 29th, The Ohio State University opened up their newly built Ohio Union building. This facility is meant to serve as the “living room” for Ohio State students, but also works as a bit of a gateway for non-students as well, featuring multiple restaurants and eateries open to the public. The public reception to the design of the building was somewhat mixed here on Columbus Underground. Some folks loved it, some hated it. What do you think?
Jackson on High – The Jackson on High is a new condo building that towers over the northern end of the Short North. Construction was mostly wrapped at the beginning of 2010 and residents have been able to start moving in. Additional ground floor retail tenants are still filling in, and Short North Fitness just opened there in October. Between this project and the nearby Kroger redevelopment, the gap between the Short North and South Campus is quickly narrowing.
Kingsdale – The Kingsdale Shopping Center near Upper Arlington was half demolished and given a complete overhaul in 2010. The final build out will include many new restaurant and retail spaces that are still being filled in, but the major anchor was unveiled in October: The Giant Eagle Market District. This new grocery store combines elements from farmers markets, upscale grocers and the traditional offerings of a standard Giant Eagle.
Fourth & Elm Parking Garage – A new 680-space parking garage opened in February at the corner of Fourth & Elm Streets Downtown. This garage was announced nearly three years ago as part of a parking consolidation effort. The Neighborhood Launch residential development located next to the new garage is removing several blocks of surface lots, and the garage is intended to serve area residents, visitors and Downtown workers alike.
Commons at Buckingham – The Commons at Buckingham is a new 100-unit low-income housing project that was built on a former vacant lot adjacent to I-670, tucked back behind some of the Columbus State buildings on the western side of their campus. The building was completed this summer and residents have already moved in. The developer, National Church Residences, previously built the Commons at Grant low-income housing project near Franklin University as well.
Projects Under Construction in 2010
Flats on Vine – The latest addition to the Arena District is Flats on Vine, a 232-unit apartment complex located at the corner of Neil & Vine. These apartments were announced in September 2009, and construction began quickly, leaving them nearly completed at the end of 2010. These new apartments will add approximately 300 new residents to Downtown, and feature amenities including a swimming pool, fitness center, and easy walking access to The North Market, The LC, and the rest of the Arena District.
Hilton Convention Center Hotel – The ribbon-cutting / ground-breaking of the new 532-room Hilton took place in July, but construction only fully started moving forward in the past month or so. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012. In addition to hotel rooms, the new $140 million full-service hotel will feature over 22,000 square feet of additional meeting and convention space, a new 160-seat restaurant, 100-seat lounge, and a coffee shop.
Columbus Commons – The construction of the new Columbus Commons Downtown park progressed through 2010 and partially opened for public walk-through access last week. The trees and sod for the park have recently been planted, although the rest of the floral plantings will not be wrapped up until Spring 2011 for the official grand opening. The park took the place of the old City Center Mall, and long-term plans call for certain areas of the greenspace to be filled back in with new urban development in the future.
Scioto Mile – The River South District located Downtown was under heavy construction throughout all of 2010, and the new Scioto Mile park is one of the largest components of the project. The official grand opening will take place in June of 2011, and includes new water fountains, a new riverfront restaurant managed by the Columbus Brewing Company, and recreational features such as walking and biking paths, porch swings and chess tables.
RiverSouth – The rest of the RiverSouth area includes the new LC Annex Apartments, the Franklin County Courthouse Annex, the Lazarus Building, the new Riversouth Parking Garage and a whole slew of infrastructure upgrades happening on many streets running throughout the area. Over the summer, this area resembled a warzone and even as of today, most of those streets are still ripped up. We should see more of this area come to completion in 2011.
Hollywood Casino – The Hollywood Casino has been through a rocky year, first officially moving from the Arena District to the West Side in May, following the passage of Issue 2 on the May primary ballot, but then running into disputes with the City of Columbus over annexation, incentives, and water and sewer lines. Cleanup has already begun on the former Delphi plant site, and if construction of the Columbus Hollywood Casino is still on target, it should be expected to open sometime in 2012.
The Weinland Park Kroger – Quite possibly the most anticipated grocery store overhaul in recent Columbus history. The Weinland Park Kroger, located on High Street in between the Short North and OSU officially broke ground on their new store in November. The old store will remain open during construction of the new store, and then will be demolished to finish reconfiguring the parking lot. The new store will not be an upscale “Kroger Marketplace” but will have more amenities and modern features compared to its old counterpart.
Bishop’s Walk – Bishop’s Walk is the newest phase of the ongoing Neighborhood Launch residential development, and was divided into half for construction in 2010. The first half is nearly completed with the final detail work going on right now, and the second half is going skyward for a 2011 completion. Once finished, Bishop’s Walk will add 27 residential units to Neighborhood Launch for a current total of 74 units. The entire Neighborhood Launch development will contain 300 residential units once fully completed.
The Abigail – A new apartment building located at the southeast corner of Gay Street and Grant Avenue was announced in February, and later a name was revealed: The Abigail. This new building will be home to 68 apartment units housing 136 new Downtown residents, and primarily targeted toward students at the nearby colleges of Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus State Community College, Franklin University and Capital Law. Completion of construction is scheduled for August 1st, 2011.
Children’s Hospital Office Building – The new Children’s Hospital expansion continued skyward this year. In addition to the main 12-story building, a new six-story hospital office building was announced in January at the former Kroger plaza site on the northwest corner of Parsons and Livingston Avenues. The completion date isn’t until sometime in 2012, but once completed this area will look vastly transformed compared to just a few short years ago.
The Windsor on Grandview Avenue – A terrible winter fire claimed nearly a block’s worth of local businesses in January of 2009, and the rebirth of that area is still underway. The Windsor is a new four-story mixed-use development being constructed by The Wagenbrenner Company, that will include 37 apartment units and a full row of ground floor retail spaces to the popular neighborhood strip.
Projects Announced in 2010
2010 Downtown Strategic Plan – Perhaps the most visionary of all projects announced in 2010 is the new Downtown Strategic Plan. A series of public input meetings held back in the Spring gathered community ideas and input that was shaped into “12 Big Ideas” that will transform our Downtown over the next 10 years. Those ideas include a new “river greenway”, new transit centers for buses and bike facilities, a new sports complex, a creative campus surrounding CCAD and CSCC, Broad Street boulevards and more.
The Pizzuti Hotel in The Short North – The redevelopment of the “UCT Block” in the Short North was originally announced back in February 2008, and after some recent updates and expansions, the proposal may be moving closer to reality. The Victorian and Italian Village Commissions held several joint special meetings in 2010 to review the latest version of the mixed-use proposal from The Pizzuti Companies. The development includes a boutique hotel located east of High Street, an office building and parking garage, both located west of High Street, and ground-floor retail in both buildings facing High Street and Millay Alley.
Wonderland - 2010 started off with a bang as the Wonderland project was officially announced to the public in January. The former bread baking factory in Italian Village is on track to be reborn as a new creative space, and was just awarded another $50,000 development grant by The Columbus Foundation earlier this week. Once completed, the 65,000 square-foot Wonderland will be home to artist studios, music performance spaces, recording studios, retail and restaurants components and more.
OSU Master Plan – In June, the Columbus Chapter of the Urban Land Institute presented the new “One Ohio State Framework”, which outlines a plan for redeveloping The Ohio State University campus over the next half-century. The long-term plan focuses on few main strategies and has developed a list of recommendations that aim to strengthen the University.
Cooper Park Racetrack – The concept of a racetrack on the old Cooper Stadium site can be traced back to early 2008, the the proposal was taken to a serious new level in 2010 when new renderings were unveiled and NASCAR star Jeff Gordon came on board with developers to include additional on-site components such as an auto mechanic school.
Weinland Park Food Campus – A plethora of projects were announced in the Weinland Park area this fall. The most significant being the announcement from MORPC of a “Food Campus” project that would include community gardens, a year-round farmers market and a restaurant. Additionally, two vacant apartment buildings at the corner of 4th Street and East 8th Avenue are being razed to make room for new single family homes.
West Side Redevelopment – A multi-part development announcement for the west side was made in September , which includes the formulation of an amendment to the Greater Hilltop Plan, the initiation of a Regional Commercial Overlay, and a market study and economic development implementation strategy currently known as “The Weston Vision”. These initiatives are collaborative efforts between The City of Columbus, Franklin County, Franklin Township, Hilltop area businesses, west side residents and the Weston Development Partnership. The planning is primarily being done to accompany the new Columbus Hollywood Casino.
Near East Side Renovations – In February, OSU president Gordon Gee and Mayor Michael Coleman jointly announced a new partnership in relation to the previously announced 17-story OSU Medical Center expansion. The City of Columbus will provide OSU with an income-tax rebate that OSU would then be required to reinvest in neighborhood revitalization efforts surrounding OSU’s University Hospital East located on the Near East Side. Gee announced that OSU is dedicated to spending $10 million over the next ten years to improve housing stock and the quality of life surrounding the East Hospital.
Downtown Police Headquarters Renovation – Nearly two years ago, it was announced that the former Downtown police headquarters located next to City Hall would be undergoing a makeover that included the development of new greenspace that would take the place of an existing flat parking lot for city employees, and the re-opening of Gay Street for public access between Front and Marconi.
NoBo on Long – In July, Mayor Coleman, City Council member A. Troy Miller, and Amy Klaben, CEO of the Columbus Housing Partnership unveiled “NoBo on Long”, a new affordable condominium development located on the Near East Side. This development consists of nine condo units spread across three buildings at the corner of 21st Street and Long Street in the King Lincoln District, and will serve as an anchor to the completed development along 21st Street between Long Street and Mount Vernon Avenue.
Franklin Park Trolley Barn – The Columbus Compact Corporation sought interested community members in August to help plan and execute the redevelopment of the Franklin Park Trolley Barn facility, located at the northeast corner of Oak Street and Kelton Avenue, just one block south of Franklin Park on the Near East Side.
Merion Village Gateways – In September, the Merion Village Association hosted a special meeting to unveil the details of a new Gateway Signage and Streetscape Beautification Plan. Community input was sought for the plan, which was put together by the Neighborhood Design Center over the past year at the request of the Merion Village Association, and sketches were assembled by neighborhood resident and designer Michelle Isroff.
Wall Street Retail Alley – More of an “idea” than a “project”, Capital Crossroads proposed a big “what if” scenario for the stretch of Wall Street sandwiched between the LC’s new Annex at RiverSouth Apartments and Columbus Commons. With the help of the Neighborhood Design Center, several retail scenarios were rendered, providing a thoughtful starting point for what could eventually become the next hot Downtown alley space.
Honorable Mention / Greatest Disappearing Act
The 3C Passenger Rail Corridor – After decades of planning, and under the guidance of multiple government administrations, the 3C Passenger Rail Corridor that was planned to connect Columbus to Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati and beyond was fast tracked for development following a $400 Million injection of federal stimulus dollars. Construction was planned to begin in 2011, with service up and running by 2012. The project’s fate was sealed on the evening of November 2nd when Ohio elected a new governor who proudly claimed that same night that he would be sending the $400 Million out of Ohio and to other states’ passenger rail projects. Local rail proponents insist that the project has been “shelved” rather than “canceled”, but the fact remains that this economic development tool will no longer be happening in the short term.