Commission Weighs in on North Market Proposal

Brent Warren Brent Warren Commission Weighs in on North Market ProposalAn aerial view of the proposed tower. All visuals by NBBJ.
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The latest proposal to redevelop the North Market’s parking lot got its first review from the Downtown Commission this morning.

The design presented was the same as the one unveiled in July, but more details were provided, including additional visuals that show the building from different angles.

Steve Schoeny, the outgoing Director of Development for the City of Columbus, kicked off the presentation with an overview of the project.

“We started with a great concept,” he said, alluding to the tower that was first proposed for the site in 2017. “That idea has (now) been more fully fleshed out…we’ve maintained the importance of the street grid, mantained the pedestrian scale of the street grid, and we’ve found ways to make the street and the market interact better.”

The development team behind the proposal – which includes Schiff Capital Group, Rockbridge, and the Wood Companies – has worked closely with the city and the North Market as the programming and scope of the project has changed over the course of the last two years.

The plan now calls for 150 residential units, 90,000 square feet of office space, new bar and restaurant concepts, a 352-space parking garage and a 200-room boutique hotel.

City Council approved an economic development agreement for the site in July, soon after the new design was announced, and the Historic Resources Commission reviewed it conceptually at its meeting earlier this month.

City officials said that a joint meeting of the Historic Resources Commission and the Downtown Commission – both of which will have to sign off on the project before it can move forward – may be scheduled for later this fall.

Daniel Ayars, of the architectural firm NBBJ, explained that more details, particularly concerning exterior materials, will be brought to that next meeting.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion with the North Market, and with the merchants, about how critical visibility is,” he said, especially for pedestrians on High Street looking west down Spruce Street.

The feedback received from the commission was generally favorable, with most of the comments focused on the public spaces around the building.

The overall feel and pedestrian accessibility of Vine, Wall and Spruce Streets should be carefully considered, several commissioners said, since there will be a significant amount of vehicle traffic on the streets. The plaza planned for Spruce Street – and the streets themselves – should also be designed to draw people in from High Street and to have its own distinct look.

A site plan shows the proposed layout and existing buildings.
View from the corner of Vine and Wall streets.
Looking west from the corner of Spruce and Wall streets.
The proposed plaza would run along Spruce Street.
Another view of the plaza, called Market Square on the site plan.
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