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Crawford Hoying Reflects on Bridge Street District as Development Plan Enters a Second Decade

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Crawford Hoying Reflects on Bridge Street District as Development Plan Enters a Second DecadePhoto by Walker Evans
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The development plan for the City of Dublin’s Bridge Street District turned 10 years old last year, an ambitious project that, just a few years into work on the corridor, saw the city in partnership with private developers Crawford Hoying.

In the years since, both have described the Bridge Street District as a resounding success.

In conversations about the project, principals Brent Crawford and Bob Hoying have said through their shared vision — creating density rather than just starting with one block — they were able to create a “heart and center” for the city.

“I don’t think the city probably envisioned that it would have gone as quickly as it did,” said Crawford, adding that both the private developer and the City of Dublin recognized early on they had “incredible” real estate to work with.

Let Crawford and Hoying tell it, not even a global pandemic could stand in the way of the project’s growth. Restaurants are doing well, which they attribute to people being “pushed” from Downtown and the Short North because of protests, closed businesses, and difficulty parking.

“A number of the restaurants here are basically at or above their original budget numbers,” said Crawford. “We didn’t have a scenario in which we had boarded-up buildings and people felt unsure about the area that they were going to.”

He said, with projections estimating 40% of restaurants would close after the pandemic is all said and done, “The surviving restaurants are going to do absolutely record numbers starting, probably, this summer and then through the next year.”

The developer is looking at future blocks that will soon begin development. And they’re cautious of making decisions based on trends amid the pandemic.

They say it does make sense to reflect on trends of the past year, and take that into account when planning the size and types of office spaces, deciding if they want as many retail spaces, or considering the kinds of restaurants that may move in. However, the “pandemic won’t be here forever,” said Crawford, and people will eventually settle back into normalcy.

“Ultimately, at least in our opinion, within a couple of years, offices will generally have returned to normal,” he said. “Once people realize that you can’t have a successful company without culture, and it’s hard to have culture over Zoom phone calls every day.”

Hoying says the relationship between the private developer and the city has been collaborative. They worked with city staff hand-in-hand on over 50 master plans during that first year and a half or so. The city has been flexible, says Crawford, regarding approvals and zoning issues.

Lately, that collaboration has continued as Crawford Hoying works with the City of Dublin’s Development teams on weekly and monthly update calls, discussing the city’s progress on public projects and the developers’ progress on the private side.

Crawford says there’s a lot left to do in Bridge Park and the site adjacent to it. They’re looking to add more restaurant spaces and possibly less office space, to be replaced by condominiums as the market for condos “remains hot.”

In addition, Hoying says the developer will be finishing out the remaining vendor spaces at North Market Bridge Park over the next month or so, but in the long term, they’re looking at live music concepts that could open in the next few years.

He says there’s also possibly another hotel somewhere down the road to join AC Hotels by Marriott, which was just awarded 2019 Hotel of the Year in the Americas by Marriott International.

Hoying said, “We’ll see what the market allows us to do.”

For more information on Crawford Hoying, visit crawfordhoying.com.

For more information on Bridge Street District, visit bridgestreet.dublinohiousa.gov.

Our technology series is presented by our partners in the City of Dublin.

Dublin is a city of more than 47,000 residents located just northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The City of Dublin Economic Development team has a vision to make Dublin a Midwest IT Magnet through business leadership and sustainable workforce development. This commitment goes beyond short-term skills training to include long-term strategic and cultural support for the entire Dublin business community. Dublin is one of America’s Top 20 Creative Class Cities and is home to more than 20 corporate headquarters, an entrepreneurial center, 3,000+ businesses, world-class events and the urban, walkable Bridge Street District.

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