Wonderland Scraps Broad Street Renovation Plan, Looks to Build Elsewhere in Franklinton
In March, the team behind Wonderland Columbus began the investigative process of setting up their ambitious multipurpose artist studio space at 500 West Broad Street in the heart of Franklinton. Today, they’ve announced that after completing their research, the property is not ideal for the needs of their project.
“We were very enthusiastic about this building, and are still very optimistic about locating in Franklinton with close proximity to 400 West Rich and the Columbus Idea Foundry,” explains Wonderland Executive Director Adam Brouillette. “GCI Environmental Consulting completed a phase one and phase two survey of the building and found the usual stuff like asbestos and mercury — and none of that was too problematic — but we then discovered underground tanks in the parking lot that contain PCB contamination at double the EPA’s federal regulation allowances.”
Brouillette explains that the cost of cleanup was too prohibitive, as well as the future liability regarding EPA policy updates that could cause the group to need to invest hundreds of thousands in additional remediation efforts down the road.
“Long story short, when we go out and look at new properties, we want people to understand that we’re doing our due diligence with the full assistance of NRI, Corna Kokosing, BBCO Architects, our benefactors, the City of Columbus and our other partners,” adds Brouillette. “At this point, with the start-and-stop we’ve been through, it makes sense for us not to rush anything. We’re taking our time and doing things right.”
The next steps for the executive team behind Wonderland is to go back to the City of Columbus and other partners to discuss possibilities with other existing buildings as well as vacant lots where a brand new building could become the future home of the nonprofit organization.
“To be in the kind of neighborhood we want to be in — with proximity to bike paths and bus stops — we’re now looking at the option of a new build,” said Brouillette. “That door has opened for us, and we’re looking in Franklinton for an appropriate piece of land.”
Wonderland does not have a current timeline for the next steps, as it hinges entirely on the results of upcoming partner discussions and meetings.
“The work is still continuing,” adds Brouillette. “We have regular monthly board meetings, I attend three to five meetings per week, and all of our contractors have said they will stay on board with the project until something is built. It’s nowhere as easy as I thought this would originally be, but I’d rather we do it right than screw it up.”
More information can be found online at www.wonderlandcolumbus.com.