The final day of the year is always a great time to reflect upon the happenings of the entire calendar year. And what a year it was! 2012 was an incredibly busy time in Columbus with a wide variety of announcements, grand openings, lively festivals, and other fun ways to fill your spare time week in and week out.
Below we’ve provided a month-by-month recap of many of the major happenings throughout Columbus in 2012 that will help remind you of just how much happened during the past 366 days (2012 was a leap year!). You can also read up more on 2012 through our year-in-reviews focused on restaurant openings, urban development, photography and local music.
At the beginning of the year, we made a couple of predictions that turned out to be true. We proclaimed that 2012 would be the “Year of the Beer” (a term we saw adopted by others in the months to follow) with all of the microbreweries that have come online. We also said that the Brewery District would continue to make a comeback throughout the year, and the neighborhood has continued to strengthen (click here for photos). Tim Lai and Eliza Ho also teased about Dinin’ Hall in January, two months prior to it being officially announced. Additionally, Curtis Stitt was named CEO of COTA (who we interviewed later in the year), Cookie Cravings opened in Italian Village, Vice President Joe Biden visited the North Market, and it was proclaimed that Downtown is missing bike lanes.
In February we published one of our most well read interviews of the year that featured the ambitious new urban development plans for the Bridge Street Corridor in Dublin. In transportation news, ODOT sought feedback on Downtown highway bridge designs while the city of Columbus discussed two-way street conversions with us. El Arepazo announced Gahanna expansion plans. We took a road trip to Over The Rhine in Cincinnati. Anne launched her new “Treat to Try” dessert review series with a Swiss Cake Roll from Jeni’s. The Columbus Historical Society moved into a new space at COSI just in time to celebrate the 200th birthday of Columbus. The birthday was also celebrated with a gala at the Columbus Convention Center. February 2012 featured a leap day, so as to not waste the 29th, Mayor Coleman delivered his annual State of the City address that evening.
News-wise, March was a little slower of a month. We witnessed the installation of the somewhat controversial bronze Arnold Schwarzenegger statue at Veterans Memorial. Studio 35 closed their doors for some significant theater renovation plans. The City of Columbus got into the recycling game by kicking off the first phase of the RecyColumbus program (which will finish rolling out in 2013). In other “green” news, the City of Columbus also installed its first public electric vehicle charging stations. BRU was announced as the city’s first brew-on-premises concept. The North Market also debut its Coffee Roast Festival to a roaring success.
We kicked off April just like we do every year with a couple of April Fool’s Day articles that poke a bit of light hearted fun at some of our favorite topics. But then we got serious and launched “Urban Living“, a new tool to help our readers find apartments for rent and homes for sale. The Scioto River was also buzzing in April with announcements of its Downtown renovation moving forward along with some redevelopment plans formalizing next door. Hometown musician Lydia Loveless got some great national press following her SXSW appearances. 400 West Rich checked in after a year to report on their growth. We learned a bit more about the long term plans for the western edge of The Arena District. And last but not least, our regional Farmers Markets started to come into bloom.
In May, Studio 35 reopened their newly renovated doors to much excitement. We took a little trip down to Hocking Hills for a weekend. Two well read people features highlighted movie mogul Fritz the Nite Owl and tupperware drag queen Dee W. Ieye. We called out that the Short North would experience a summer of construction, but that ended up mostly delayed. The King Arts Complex turned 25 and Squared turned 10. Scioto Downs opened the city’s first Racino. We talked to Mayor Ray DeGraw about the future of Grandview Heights. And the Summer Festival Season kicked off with over 125 events to attend.
This summer was a scorcher in Columbus, so you can be assured that we spent most of our time relaxing on patios, cooling off at The Scioto Mile and staying indoors where the air conditioning was good. The Columbus Arts Festival kicked off the month with a celebrated return to the riverfront. We took a look to the futuristic year of 2050 in an interview with the Urban Land Institute. B1 Bicycles celebrated their fifth anniversary in business Downtown. And the month concluded with the first of what would be several violent summer wind storms that knocked out power, damaged homes, cars and trees.
July got off to a bumpy start as the COTA bus drivers union went on a three day strike, eliminating service during Red, White & Boom celebration. Big urban development plans were announced in both Franklinton and at CCAD’s Downtown campus. Speaking of Franklinton, the new Dodge Park Pool was a hit this summer. July was also a good month for coffee lovers as One Line opened in the Short North and The Grind opened in Grandview. We also took a look at some new retail at Easton including the new HOMAGE store and the renovated Express. Big announcements were also made this month with some new apartments Downtown and a new Dirty Frank’s planned for Westgate.
A flurry of new business activity took place throughout the month of August. Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza opened in Worthington, Oak Street Meats & Seafood opened in Olde Towne East and House Beer opened in the Short North, just to name a few. The Arena District made waves by announcing yet another apartment development would begin construction this fall. We profiled a new kitchen incubator business in the works for Franklinton. Upper Arlington decided to grow upward with some dense new mixed-use development on Lane Avenue. We took a trip over to the Topiary Park to remind ourselves why we love this Downtown greenspace. Old Familiar Barbershop launched their highly successful Kickstarter campaign to manufacture the world’s first comb/bottle-opener. Gay Street continued to get more vibrant with the openings of Zen Cha Tea Salon and 39 Below Frozen Yogurt. And last but not least, there were a few boozy updates with Watershed launching a Bourbon and brewmaster Charlie Davis getting things started at BRU.
Toward the beginning of the month we spotted a mysterious package Downtown, which turned out to be a promotion for the first annual idUS event. We also spotted some new public artwork displays popping up throughout Downtown. The Center for Architecture & Design announced that they were moving into the Lazarus Building. Speaking of architecture, we took a visual tour of the historic Smith Brothers Hardware Building and also interviewed 360 Architecture, designers of many Arena District buildings. In retail news, Pure Imagination opened a new Grandview Avenue store, and Nordstrock Rack announced an Easton area location coming in 2013. History guru Doug Motz dove deep into the beloved Kahiki just in time for the opening of the new Grass Skirt Tiki Room. Oh, and Independents’ Day celebrated five years with some great festival weather while pop culture fans nerded it up at the 2012 Wizard World convention at the Convention Center.
The fall is always a busy time in Columbus with college students back on campus, college football back on the list of weekend events, and plenty of time for taking relaxing walks in the woods. This October saw the long awaited opening of the Columbus Hollywood Casino. We interviewed Richard Florida in advance of his speaking engagement at Innovate Columbus 2012. We did a little bit of urban rappelling down the side of a building. New details emerged on the Downtown Racetrack project, including the addition of a sportscar showroom. COTA added a second late night route bus route to their lineup. Bourbon drinkers celebrated the addition of both Watershed Bourbon and OYO Bourbon Whiskey. COSI opened a temporary exhibition featuring preserved human bodies on display. We relaunched our New Columbus Chefs series in October with a new crop of fresh faces. And the month concluded with the 5th Annual Highball Halloween party on High Street.
November signaled the end of the political barrage in Columbus, as Obama won and the campaign blitz finally stopped. We took a quick road trip to Dayton to see how the Oregon District compares to The Short North. German Village saw the opening of the city’s first blowout bar. A new bike share program was announced for 2013. Annie Leibovitz returned for a second time to visit during her show (reviewed here). We put together a big roundup of alternative craft shows and craft fairs for the shopping season. High Street got its very first parking meters installed through the core of Downtown. We spoke with Blue Jackets President John Davidson about the NHL Lockout. And there was a flurry of development activity including the groundbreaking of Aston Place and The Hubbard, as well as the announcement of The New LC Apartments near Columbus Commons.
Typically, December can be a bit of a slow month in the news cycle, but there really wasn’t much of a slowdown. The month started off with a flurry of announcements including the massive new Jeffrey Park development in Italian Village and the Rehab Tavern in Franklinton. We spoke at length with Paul Astelford, to talk about the end of his tenure at Experience Columbus after 13 years. The Seventh Son Brewing Company opened their doors to the public. We provided a plethora of ideas for gift givers in our annual Holiday Shopping Guide. We also took some time in December to reflect upon everything that’s happened in 2012, including restaurants that opened, restaurants that closed, urban development that occurred, philanthropic efforts and photos that were taken. It sounds like 2013 will be a good year for the local real estate market. Oh, and the world didn’t actually end, as the Mayans predicted.
So there you have it! We hope your 2012 was as great as ours! See you next year!