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Edwards Companies Envisions More Art & Entertainment for Gay Street District

Walker Evans Walker Evans Edwards Companies Envisions More Art & Entertainment for Gay Street DistrictInstallation by Janet Echelman — Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
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The long-vacant Madison’s and White Haines buildings Downtown may soon see renovation work begin. A virtual tour of the area hosted by CASTO and The Edwards Companies earlier today unveiled new details on plans for the properties as a part of a larger makeover project.

The idea to renovate the buildings and construct a new 12-story hotel on the adjacent parking lot were first presented by The Day Companies in 2015, but failed to materialize. Instead, The Edwards Companies are planning to move forward with a version of the plan that would include the same mix of renovation, new construction, and some new outdoor public spaces.

“Certainly those areas can use a little TLC,” stated Jeff Edwards, President and CEO of The Edwards Companies. “We’re in the process of working with the city to extend Pearl Alley north of Gay Street and into a new sculpture garden and more public spaces that we plan to create here.”

While new restaurants have already been announced for the district, Edwards sees the addition of art and retail as being equally important for the future of the area.

“This is probably the most architecturally intact and healthy retail, restaurant and activity center in all of Downtown Columbus so we want to build upon what’s already on Gay Street,” he stated. “We’ve already had conversations with a number of art galleries interested in relocating here.”

Edwards also mentioned plans to have a large hanging sculpture installed above the intersection of Gay Street and High Street, designed by artist Janet Echelman.

“We think it will be an iconic symbol for the neighborhood and set the neighborhood up as a real arts and entertainment district,” he added.

In August, the White Haines and Madison’s buildings were awarded historic tax credits to assist with renovations. Currently, there is no timeline for the project’s completion.

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