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Plans Moving Forward to Build 35-Story Tower on North Market Parking Lot

Brent Warren Brent Warren Plans Moving Forward to Build 35-Story Tower on North Market Parking LotRendering/design via Schooley Caldwell.
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The City of Columbus has chosen a 35-story tower as the winning proposal for the North Market parking lot.

The proposal, called Market Tower, is from the Wood Companies and Schiff Capital Group. It would consist of approximately 200 residential units above office space, with restaurant and retail uses on the first two floors.

The first and second floors will also have about 10,000 additional square feet for the North Market to use, including a public atrium that will connect the new building with the existing market. The plan calls for the historic North Market building to remain intact and for the market to be open throughout the entire construction process.

“We’re very excited about it, they’ve put together a fantastic proposal,” said Development Director Steve Schoeny. “It really enhances the market, puts a new signature building on our skyline, and accomplishes all the objectives that we set out to at the outset of this.”

The new building, along with a new outdoor plaza running along Spruce Street, would sit on top of an underground garage meant to replace the surface lot being lost to the development. That garage, with roughly the same number of parking spaces as the existing lot, would continue to serve North Market customers.


An additional 160 parking spots would be provided on the third and fourth floors of the building, and would connect via a bridge to the existing Vine Street garage. The goal for starting construction on the new development is the spring of 2018, with completion in the spring of 2020.

Since the city and market narrowed the list of proposals to develop the lot to three finalists in December, anticipation at the prospect of adding a significant addition to the Columbus skyline has grown, as have concerns about the impact of the project on the surrounding neighborhood, and on the market itself.

Schoeny and North Market Executive Director Rick Harrison Wolfe are both convinced that the Wood/Schiff proposal not only addresses those concerns, but provides a way forward for the market that will allow it to thrive for years to come.

“Just having 500 or so residents coming or going right in front of us, that’s a game-changer,” said Wolfe. “That’s a lot of potential customers for our vendors. It will help our fresh merchants, in particular, to stay alive, prosper, and hopefully grow.”

The goal is to have stores and restaurants in the new building that would complement the market. The application submitted by the development team said that “an anticipated retail pharmacy at the corner of Wall St. and Vine St. and other ground floor retail and restaurant spaces will further engage the street and increase pedestrian traffic.”

The application also outlined a number of ideas for making sure that the market benefits from all those new residents, such as a membership program in which residents would agree to spend a certain amount at the market monthly. The new building will also greatly expand the capacity of the market to make money off of events, which is currently a relatively small source of revenue.


“Our success will be totally driven off of a vibrant market,” said Mark Wood, President of the Wood Companies. “So from a community perspective, we are super-proud to be involved, but from a business perspective, too, the project will be so closely tied to the success of the market.”

Schoeny said that track record of the Wood Companies and Schiff Capital was another reason their proposal was chosen — particularly their success in working with historic buildings and in historic neighborhoods.

“Schiff has done a great job with the Atlas building, and has been involved with a lot of other projects,” said Schoeny. “And Mark, and his dad before him, they were really pioneers in how to do this in the Short North.”

Although the exact financial terms of the deal are still being worked out, the basic outline calls for the city to transfer ownership of the market itself to the North Market Development Authority, the nonprofit organization that runs the market. The parking lot would be transferred to the development team, and the city would help fund the parking garage, plaza, and other costs, such as utility upgrades. The total investment from the development team will be about $100 million.

“For the market, the story here is, that for the first time in a 141 years, we know our future,” said Wolfe. “We’ve been a tenant, and we’ve had a great landlord and partner in the city, but now we control our destiny…we’re here to stay, and we’re grateful for that, and we all should be grateful that we will have a public market forever…not many cities can say that.”

Construction will likely take around 24 months, but Wood said that the plan is to open the underground garage first, even before the building above it is completed.

“We will need to get creative about parking during the construction,” Wolfe said, adding that he has spoken to the owners of nearby parking lots and is confident that arrangements can be made. “It’s a three minute walk from the closest surface lot, the one by BBR, but we are open to ideas like a valet service, for our fresh merchants, also.”


The future parking needs of the project were also considered – the third and fourth floor garages were designed so that they could be converted into offices space if that much parking is not necessary in twenty years, due to the growth of driverless cars or other technological advances (cars would access the parking from the Vine Street garage across the street, so there are no ramps in the proposed building).

Schoeny cautioned that the proposal being presented now will change with input from merchants and the public.

“We have a long road ahead of us still, but we want this to be sort of the start of the next phase of where we go,” he said, ” and that will include a lot of public outreach and also a lot of back and forth negotiation to figure out what’s going to be a really complex real estate transaction.”

The first public meeting on the project is scheduled for May 9th, at a location still to be determined. The development will also need to be approved by both the Downtown Commission and the Historic Resources Commission. Because it is in the Downtown District, there are no existing height restrictions or prohibited uses.

“Something that I’ve learned,” said Wood, “even just developing in the historic neighborhoods of Victorian Village and Italian Village, is that you go through the process, you have conversations with the commissions, and usually you end up with a better project; not everyone is going to be happy with every decision that’s made, but going through that process creates a much better product.”

Michael Schiff, Principal of Schiff Capital Group, expressed confidence that the size and scope of the project is appropriate given the current level of demand for apartments and condos in vibrant urban neighborhoods. “We feel that it’s as good a location as you can get in Columbus for an urban development,” he said, “and the views will be phenomenal.”

For more information, visit www.northmarket.com.


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  • cucbus

    Yea buddy! Kinda sucks we have to wait another year for it to even get started but this is extremely exciting.

    Question: Is there a possibility that height could be reduces, appearance changed, etc.? I noticed that it still has a couple more approval processes to go through. I love the way it looks right now and I’m concerned they will be forced to reduce height, change the layout, or something else.

    • WJT

      Don’t even mention that! The skyscraper Gawds may hear you! lol.

    • JMan

      Let’s hope it’s approved all the way. It will be, has to be – we WILL have an exciting vibrant downtown yet.

  • Jaye Moore

    HUGE 614 SALUTE! Great project hope it doesn’t get a height reduction. This property is not under vicky-village influence so chances are this project will come alive as planned.

  • C of the 501

    Definitely keep the height (or higher even)!

  • lpeters

    Wow, this is a big one. Going to stick out like a sore thumb. I feel it should be reduced in height a bit, that’s a lot for that small space. I will also admit I think the design leaves a bit to be desired, the upper glass portion really isn’t attractive, has a very ‘cold’ look and feel, especially considering it is intended to be residential.

    I do worry about the businesses during the 24 months of construction, that’s going to be a significant cut in traffic due to the tremendous lack of parking. Let’s be honest, very few people are going to park and walk four blocks to pick up lunch.

    I’m game for progress, just needs to be thoughtful and a good fit.

    • WJT

      The LAST thing it needs is a height reduction. Glad they chose this one.
      ‘Sticking out’ does not have to be ‘like a sore thumb’-the Leveque Tower also stuck out in it’s day.

      IMO it will be a nice exclamation point for the northern end of downtown.

      • John McCollum

        An elderly friend of mine was a pilot who flew in and out of Columbus a lot in the 50s, and he told me that they called the Leveque “The Woody.”

        • WJT

          Uh…I am not sure I want to know why he called it that lol. I am just going to go with Woody Hayes and leave it at that.

    • Sore thumb indeed! What a terrible idea to put a tall building in a Downtown.


      • WJT

        Walker is it actually confirmed that the tower is 35 floors above ground? Just wondering. thanks.

      • lpeters

        I’m not of the mind that just because it’s tall means it’s impressive or progressive, or attractive, in this case. The upper floors seem an odd fit in this area. Perhaps I’m wanting to maintain the look and feel of that area, and a huge building casting shadows across the entire area is not something that makes a lot of sense to me there. Obviously just my opinion, and seems to be in the minority. Whatever is done, just hope it’s done right.

    • JMan

      Disagree. This is one on the areas where our city’s skyline has a gaping hole.

  • JTobias

    How exciting!! I am looking forward to seeing how this moves forward.

  • Chris

    This tower will serve as a landmark building for the north side of downtown and the southern end of the Short North. As such, I think based solely on its striking visibility it will contribute to greater awareness and engagement for the North Market. For example, think of the many thousands of daily motorists driving east & west along I-670 and the many out-of-town convention center attendees who step on to High Street while taking a break from activities inside. This tower will draw many of such who pass through the area toward the Market. For that reason alone, I think it’s height is a benefit.

    Also, the tower will likely help to spur development of several other major surface lots west of the Market, between Front Street and Neil Avenue and even further westward. Development, followed by residential and commercial occupancy of those underutilized parcels will be yet another significant benefit to the Market; and the tower will serve to also attract those future area occupants.

    Finally, recognizing this is still a concept, it would be nice to have some type of signage on the tower that somehow cites or refers to the Market… how about placing a giant rooster on it’s roof? I’m kidding, I suppose, but the more the tower refers to the Market, the better.

    Yes, construction activity will pose some temporary, short-term challenges, but the result will provide major long term benefit, not just to the Market, but to all of the near north side. So this is great news!

  • traviscols

    Yes! I was worried they may choose one of the smaller proposal’s…
    So excited for this!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can’t wait!

  • Jordan Smith

    Love it overall, except it should be 60 stories. Seriously, 35 is decent, but we majorly need to build up our skyline and downtown population. Still, this is big progress!

  • TomB

    One condition: The North Market’s awesome rooster logo goes on the very top.

    • Chris

      I agree that it would nice to find a way to tastefully add some type of graphic element to the tower that refers to the NorthMarket, be it the Rooster logo or something new. There’s plenty of very creative graphic designers in our city. Maybe they should have a contest.

  • VariousArtist

    What a poor idea. Completely out of touch with what makes the North Market desirable. Build the tower downtown, not in the Short North.

    • WJT

      It IS downtown, the Short North does not start until you are north of 670!

      • traviscols

        My thoughts exactly!!
        I was just about to say the same thing!
        You beat me to it… Lol

      • Frank
        • ehill27

          The Short North is bounded by the High Street arches. Some brochures may include the Convention Center and Market, but they are both downtown.

          • Frank

            I don’t mean to be argumentative, but who makes that decision? Is the shortnorth.org guide to what constitutes “Short North” not an accurate description of what is the Short North? What about Google Map’s image of Short North, which includes North Market? What is your source, your evidence?

          • Frank

            The city’s website (https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/neighborhoods/short-north/) also includes North Market as being in the Short North

          • cucbus

            Frank, you are using marketing pamphlets to attempt to prove your point. Experience Columbus is not the city’s website, it is a group that markets the city. These websites group the North Market and the Convention Center with the Short North because they are right on the border of downtown and the Short North. It’s good for both the Short North and North Market to group the two together for marketing purposes because the same people will generally visit both on the same day.

            The North Market site is classified as being downtown which is important for developments like this. This development has to abide by downtown’s development guidelines, rather than the Short North. If this was governed by the Short North, the project, as well as the Hilton Hotel on High Street, would never be able to happen because they would be much too tall and would have to go in front of the Short North commission to gain approval.

          • Frank

            “The North Market site is classified as being downtown” By whom? What is your evidence? Citations? References? Without evidence, your claims come across as nothing more than opinion. You may be right, but without evidence, I have no reason to believe you.

          • cucbus
          • Frank

            That’s interesting. You are indeed correct re: the legal boundaries of Short North. What’s weird, then, is that the legal boundary is different from the cultural boundary. That is, how the city has legally distinguished between Short North and Downtown is not what the community and the city’s advertisers purport the distinction to be. That undoubtedly leads to the confusion and the different preferences on what to do with this legally-downtown-but-culturally-Short-North territory. I’m not opposed to the new building, but it’s understandable why some people would be

          • dalias

            In terms of this building you could start with the Short North Design Guidelines – https://www.columbus.gov/uploadedFiles/Columbus/Departments/Development/Planning_Division/Document_Library/Library_Documents/PDFs/Short%20North%20Design%20Guidelines%20-%20Adopted%2009-19-11(1).pdf
            map on 1.2 clearly shows border ending at cap.

          • traviscols

            Try reading today’s Dispatch… There are three write-ups on this today. One piece talks about the fact this property is downtown so there is no height restrictions involved like there would be if it was in the Short North.

          • DeWight Smith

            City building code as described above.

          • DeWight Smith

            Umm the Columbus building code? Like described above.

        • cucbus

          It’s still not the Short North. That map includes the North Market area because many out of town visitors will be staying at the hotels next to it and they are generally in town for an event at the convention center. Downtown is bound by 70, 71, 670, and 315.

          • WJT

            Well actually the western border is the railroad tracks…otherwise East Franklinton would be just a section of downtown, which it is not. But anyway the northern border(as has been repeatedly stated and evidenced here by you and half of the city lol)is 670.

      • VariousArtist

        Maybe for rubes it does. But everyone with any sense of Columbus history knows that Downtown starts at the overpass of the rail lines next to the Ohio Center..

        • WJT

          Your comment has been thoroughly disproven by the facts posted in this thread. Give it up already-you were wrong-it happens.

  • Scott McLain

    Don’t forget about the bodies under the surface lot.

  • JRemy

    I hope they will refine this proposal. Of the all the proposals, this had to be one of my least favorite. While it is tall, the tower looks as if it is designed for the 1980’s. I wish it were more sleek, thinner, and simply had more glass.

    • WJT

      The main tower portion looks pretty thin already. I think the upper residential tower portion looks to be about the same diameter as The North Bank Condo tower-around 100 X 100 feet or so..and is has setbacks as well. It is difficult to get that much thinner unless you want to go NYC Central Park Billionaire Supertall thin. The design otherwise, yeah I admit it could be refined imo.

    • I like the proposal a lot, but agree the that tower design here looks dated. This is just conceptual so hopefully when it starts construction in a year the tower’s look will be improved (and not downsized).

    • JMan

      It’s more complex in design concept that most 1980s buildings were.

  • Fur614

    Absolutely shocked they chose the 35 story tower, but thrilled to see this. I must say, I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ve seen projects like this fall through and I don’t want to be disappointed again. Anyone know if this will get built with absolute certainty?

  • combs1ng

    Sweet mamojamma!!! I actually had a good feeling before pulling up Columbus Underground today and I was right. When I saw the title of the article it was beyond goosebumps. I got that weird, good feeling in the pit of my stomach!

  • Mikedaddy

    200 residential units plus office and commercial, but only 160 new parking spaces? Doesn’t add up for an area that already has parking problems. I don’t understand why they keep letting these developers get away with this, all up and down short north.

    • Columbusite

      This is in downtown, where there is no parking minimum. Clearly the market is not demanding the same amount of parking as it used to.

    • There are no parking problems in this area. There are thousands of spots across multiple garages within a short walk. And every alternative transit option is readily available as well.

      The only parking problem that exists is if you’re expecting a free and easy spot directly in front of the North Market as if you’re parking in your driveway at home. Which is a silly thing to expect.

    • WJT

      Again, this is not the Short North…and is right next to(and will be connected to)an existing giant parking garage.

  • JMan

    This is welcome news indeed. We are finally moving forward. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tiger57

    Very excited to hear this proposal was selected over the others! This will serve to further energize area of town between the Short North and the central city.

  • David Filipi

    It would have been a stronger article if it mentioned that the developer is getting a 100% tax abatement for 15 years. That prime location is going to produce zero tax dollars for 15 years.

    • WJT

      This is common for just about any mostly residential project downtown. And it will secure the continuation of the North Market, probably strengthen it, definitely expand it, and it is a $120,000,000.00 investment that will provide construction jobs, permanent office jobs, residents who will probably work and shop in the area, new restaurants…etc. etc. so it is probably worth it if you look at the big picture.

      • David Filipi

        Yes, I realize that it is SOP to give wealthy developers tax breaks and to cite the jobs it will create as a reason to forgive millions in tax dollars. One has to appreciate the brave captains of industry, who asks the rest of us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, to slash taxes and social programs, and then to plead that the only way they can succeed in business is for the government to step in and allow them to dodge the same taxes we all have to pay.

        • combs1ng

          In one hand you condemn giving “breaks” to the “wealthy developers” who earned their wealth through societal progression, and in the other you’re completely content giving away money to social programs assisting many(not all) people who have never earned or contributed to anything. Look what all those “horrible” tax breaks have done for our downtown over the last 10-15 years. I don’t think anyone could argue the city is much better off now.

  • A very ambitious timeline, but with all of the excitement around it I’m sure they can start to make it all happen. I LOVE the fact that the 2 levels of parking they’re planning in the tower are being outfitted for eventual conversion to office space — a notion sorely lacking in most other developments. Stand-alone garages are the best for urban development because they can be taken down/repurposed individually. When new towers are proposed with 5-8 story podiums of parking, if not properly designed those could become entirely useless in the future when downtown parking is less of a premium (NYC is going through this process now of decommissioning parking structures and trying to redesign them into office space). Love how forward-thinking they’re being.

  • it0322

    The day is here, boyz!

  • jim brennan

    I LOVE THE 80s. like the ht. pity it isnt more contemporary :(

  • traviscols

    This proposal, along with the tentative plans for two 35 story buildings on the 21 acre plot of land in Franklinton, and Millennial Tower could collectively really give our skyline a much needed boost!
    Hopefully these four buildings are just the start of our skyline beginning to realize its true potential!

    • Caleb Ross

      I hope the downtown commission makes the Millennial Tower developer rethink the design. It looks more like a huge box instead of a highrise.

      • ColumbusTravis

        I kind of like the design of Millennial Tower, except for the LED screens around the bottom couple floors… I’d be surprised if the screens get okayed in the end.

      • traviscols

        I kind of like the design of Millennial Tower, except for the LED screens near the bottom… I’ll be surprised if the screens are okayed in the end. It would be nice if the final approval was even taller too but that’s not likely going to happen.

        • Caleb Ross

          I just disagree completely. The renderings make the building look like it’s taking up the full city block with only 35 stories. It’s not proportional when it comes to height and width. It needs revised, if it even gets built. Arshot doesn’t have the best track record (think SPARC).

          • traviscols

            It’s proposal is closer to 25 stories… And your right, I’m not holding my breath as far as if it even gets built.

      • Mike S

        I agree, the design is too boxy, sleek and cold, and lacks an organic character that would be more suitably associated with the North Market.

        • Caleb Ross

          We’re talking about two different proposals. I like the tower proposed for the North Market. I was talking about a planned high rise in the RiverSouth district planned by Arshot Development

  • Robert C. Carter

    Simply a stupid idea. Leave it to the hillbillies of Columbus to come up with this idiotic idea!

    • traviscols

      Sure… because hillbillies always have so many skyscrapers where they live.

    • Brian Cluxton

      Why is it a stupid idea?

    • cucbus

      I’m pretty sure hillbillies would leave this as a parking lot so they could do donuts with their big pick up trucks. But you are right, this is such an idiotic idea! Why build things downtown?!

  • 4N6science

    This was the right choice for the city and the North Market. I like the vision and the improvements that will come from this redevelopment. Most of the criticisms against the tower are lame at best. A lot of people are afraid of any kind of change, embrace the expansion and upgrades that will come at the North Market and across the city. There are plenty of empty lots that need new buildings on them.

  • Gato

    Goodbye North Market.

    • Columbusite

      The market will still be there. The tower is going beside the market.

  • CbusIslander

    Picked the best option the tower being set back won’t be as imposing as some think it will. Few questions I have is the design of the car connection with the existing garage? Also where will be the access point to the underground deck? We have some time to figure out and fine tune this project. Love the massing and hope they maintain that through the community response period.

  • Roland Leatherwood

    Hooray! More mediocrity on the skyline! Please someone say that this is only for scale.

    • cucbus

      In what way is this mediocre?

      • Roland Leatherwood

        The high rise portion of the building is indistinct in its design, has no character, does not even appear to even try to embrace architectural themes or materials from other buildings. For something of this scale, I would hope for something that compliments the existing skyline, or that makes a bold design statement. The tower proposed here, looks like a cribbed version of the Sears Tower

        • cucbus

          So you think the planned building above looks like this… https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/b6/33/6a/b6336a55d929728e30dc266f71429527.jpg

          I see absolutely no resemblance. Also, this building looks completely different than any other building in our skyline. How can you call it indistinct? You say you it is indistinct yet you go on to say it should “embrace architectural themes or materials from other buildings.” Make up your mind here.

          • Roland Leatherwood

            A forum like this is an awkward place to explain principles of design. I put my name behind my public criticism on the chance that the designers may truly be curious about a further more substantive discussion.

          • RedStorm45

            I’m sure insulting the renderings will convince them to contact you for ideas.

          • DeWight Smith

            Especially when you’re unsure of whether it should make a bold design statement or compliment the existing skyline.

            Sucks having to actually put up an idea for a proposal and having to live with reception of it.

  • RedStorm45

    So much kvetching, sheesh. There were a lot of proposals, which got cut down to three finalists. Maybe it’s not *exactly* what YOU want, but would you prefer a parking lot? Lighten up. We’re getting a unique building downtown that will really tie in the Short North/Convention Center/Arena District areas nicely. Why are so many complaining??

    • cucbus

      Some people just complain about everything, whether or not it positively affects them, negatively affects them, or even affects them at all. Some people complain about new developments, no matter what they are. I really don’t get it.

      • traviscols

        Totally agree…
        I noticed certain people on here ONLY post negative comments.
        I don’t understand it either. I can’t imagine being a Negative Nancy everyday of my life.

  • nexttuesday

    All of these renderings put the building in the foreground so that it looks taller than it is. 35 stories is 5 stories less than the Nationwide tower.

    • cucbus

      What’s your point?

  • traviscols

    For those of us concerned that the final approved version of this project may end up being significantly shorter, there was some promising stuff in today’s Dispatch…
    There are three seperate articles on this project today. (On the front page, Business & Editorials)
    The front page article asks Steve Schoeny, director of development for Columbus, specifically about the height… He says alot could change with this before final approval, but height is NOT one of the moving pieces!

  • Benjamin Howes

    This is a nice looking tower. Well-designed.

  • DB Cooper

    Some of you guys seem overly invested in building the tallest tower – a real case of skyline envy.

    • cucbus

      Nobody here is invested in this tower and this won’t be the tallest tower in the city so what are you getting at? It’s a big time development so it’s exciting, but in no way is the excitement evidence of skyline envy.

  • Ghulam Lone

    Turning that lot into a park would’ve been better for the citizens of Columbus. It would’ve felt quite urban since it’s already surrounded by buildings that could be altered so that the façades look like the front of the buildings, rather than the back.

    I like this tower, but it’d be better suited to take the place of Bar Louie or any other lot near Park st.

    • There’s 33 acres of brand-new park just a few blocks from here.

      This is the only lot that the City of Columbus owns (to my knowledge) in this immediate area. They can’t redevelop properties that they don’t own.

  • Caleb Ross

    So excited about this! I wish some other developers would go higher!

    • Caleb Ross

      Wish some signage would be added to it. It’d be a boost for the market even if it just said “Market Tower” on the top.

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