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Modern Towers Proposed for Convention Center Expansion Project

Walker Evans Walker Evans Modern Towers Proposed for Convention Center Expansion ProjectRendering by NBBJ.
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Multiple companies have answered the call for new development on the north side of the Convention Center, including Wagenbrenner, Pizzuti and Starwood Hotels. A collaborative proposal has also been submitted from Daimler, Kaufman and Continental, which include two 12-to-15 story towers that would house a hotel, new residences, retail and office tenants.

“It’s all pretty conceptual at this point, especially with this being a competitive process,” says Kaufman Development founder Brett Kaufman. “But the reason why where’re interested in this project is pretty simple for us in that it’s one that we feel incredibly important for the city that we all love. We think this property has an opportunity to further invigorate this area and connect the Short North with the Convention Center and Downtown.”

Similar to Wagenbrenner’s proposal, the north building would replace the current surface parking lot located north of Goodale, next to I-670. Kaufman says that building is very similar to their 250 High project, currently under construction next to Columbus Commons. It could include between 120 and 140 residential units, several floors of office space, and ground-floor retail.

“The hotel side is a partnership with Continental, which would include a full-service hotel with approximately 250-300 rooms or more if the Convention Authority desires,” said Kaufman. “It’s early in the conceptual stage, but we’d like to have some restaurant and entertainment retail users, as well as other supporting retail for convention center visitors, area employees and Downtown residents.”

The modern glass exterior also echoes the 250 High project, both of which have been designed by architectural firm NBBJ. Kaufman says that the design appropriately continues themes established with the main Convention Center building that the hotel would be attached to.

“If you look at this exiting Eisenman-designed building, you can see that we wanted to turn it upward and continue some of the patterning going vertical,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to bookend the Convention Center, as the Hyatt does on the south end.”

Currently, the four proposals submitted for this development opportunity are all being reviewed.

“Four proposals were submitted and all four are being evaluated,” stated Maria Mercurio, Finance Director at the Convention Authority. “The board is still evaluating all options and no timeline on a decision has been established yet.”

More information will be available soon on the additional proposals from other developers.

How would you like to see other areas around the Convention Center redeveloped? CLICK HERE to weigh in on the latest installment in our “Wasted Spaces” series.

For more info and discussion on this development, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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  • King Gambrinus

    I think it’s funny how excited everyone was when the authority proposed just a parking garage on the Goodale strip and we hoped for maybe, just maybe a little bit of retail. We had no idea the much the convention authority was holding out on us.

  • Pablo

    I like the look of the Wagenbrenner buildings over these.

  • UrbanLegend

    I am against anything that involves continuing the Eisenman concept/pattern/image.

  • InnerCore

    Wagenbrenner’s proposal is much better.

  • thatmikestout

    Yeah . . . not caring too much for this. It’s not that I mind the design . . . I actually think it’s quite visually appealing. But not for that spot. The Wagenbrenner’s proposal is more suitable, in my opinion (for whatever that’s worth), for the area.

  • mbeaumont

    Yeah, definitely prefer the Wagenbrenner proposal.

  • columbusmike

    Yikes. I agree, Wagenbrenner’s proposal is light-years ahead architecturally than this dog. Wagenbrenner’s proposal has streetscape elements that make it much more interactive and fitting.

    This proposal is just an expression of crappy modernist architecture that looks good in a portfolio, but functions like hell for pedestrians.

  • InnerCore

    I agree columbusmike. This looks aesthetically appealing, I just don’t like the function. Even if they put retail on the ground floor this is really only on the corner. The Wagenbrenner’s proposal extends a better streetscape down high st.

  • Keep in mind that all proposals are very preliminary. Design details can (and very likely will) change.

  • UrbanPlanner2112

    Wowza! We’re choosing between good, better, and best here. I do like the idea of accent buildings as bookends on the Convention center.

    • davidhunegnaw


  • JMan

    Best yet.

  • Stephen43215

    Reminds me of UNC Charlotte City Center

    • Ned23

      Looks kind of like a stack of phone books. Anyone remember big phone books?

  • JMan

    Hurray! Now we’re cookin’

  • I like all the proposals. The sooner the better. What do the Pizzutti and Starwood proposals look like? It seems like pictures were only shown for the Wagenbrenner and Kauffman ideas.

    • We’ve reached out to Pizzuti and Starwood and are hoping to be able to share more from each of them soon. It’s a bit outside the norm to share these kinds of uber-preliminary concepts with the media/public, but we’re working on them. ;)

  • I like it, big, bold, looks like its from the future.

    • columbusmike

      “I like it, big, bold, looks like its from the future.”

      That’s also what people said about the Hyatt down the street (High and Nationwide) when it was proposed. It’s now an eyesore and functions terribly at the pedestrian level.

  • combs1ng

    I agree with the majority here. Wagenbrenner all the way!

    • Eugene_C

      Well, I like it and I count a tie in the responses. There’s no majority for Wagenbrenner.

  • JMan

    We are just way too afraid of innovation. The same thing could be said of the Guggenheim museum in N.Y. , or the Walt Disney performing arts center in L. A.

  • BuilderDeveloper

    I dig the Daimler concept. It bookends the Convention Center nicely and fits the space. The Waggenbrenner development is far too large for the space and would either build over or mask the current north end of the Convention Center.
    I would love to see the Starwood rendering(s)…but I like where Daimler is headed.

  • jbaker544

    I agree that the Wagenbrenner’s proposal is better and seems to have more of an urban feel that fits Columbus better. I don’t dislike the design but I think the location is wrong. How putting something like that in the dead zone of High between gay and long?

  • urbanenthusiast

    Do you edit/delete comments that you do not like?

  • urbanenthusiast

    JMAN, I’m with you on this. These glass towers have a great metropolitan feel. Exciting and fresh.
    The Waggenbrenner buildings look like they belong on North Campus for student housing.

  • hweston5

    I like the Kaufman proposal.

  • Architecture is so subjective, as is any art. I personally think Waggenbrenner’s concept looks like an upscale hospital. I see it looking dated in ten to fifteen years. I much prefer this modern all glass concept, or Lai’s. Who cares if it doesn’t go with anything around it. Our city’s skyscrapers are very spotty. From a distance they work, but once you get up close, they are spacey. Once the surrounding areas fill in more, in oh, say, 30 – 50 years, it’ll all blend quite nicely. ;)

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