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New Board Members, Retiring CEO Point to New Direction for Downtown Development Group

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Board Members, Retiring CEO Point to New Direction for Downtown Development GroupA view of the full, multi-phase redevelopment planned for the Scioto Peninsula, looking east toward Downtown. Rendering courtesy of Columbus Downtown Development Corporation.
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The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, the non-profit entity behind many large projects Downtown, appears to be shifting course after the appointment of new board members and the announced retirement of its President/CEO.

Guy Worley’s last day will be May 31, according to a statement put out by the organization earlier this week. Worley led the CDDC and the Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation for 14 years.

Robin Davis, spokesperson for Mayor Andrew Ginther’s office, characterized the new board appointments as “a continuation of Mayor Ginther’s work to realign the CDDC, especially in the wake of the pandemic and as we work to recover and rebuild.”

“The new board appointments will help us lead an equitable recovery, one that creates an environment for businesses to thrive, attracts jobs and includes affordable, mixed income housing,” she added. “CDDC is in a strong position to help the city lead over the next decade and shape the future of downtown through an equity lens.”

The CDDC has traditionally focussed on building significant new public spaces and cultural destinations like Columbus Commons, the National Veterans Museum and Memorial, Scioto Mile, and Scioto Greenways. And in its role as the master developer for the RiverSouth District – the 45-acre southwestern quadrant of Downtown – the CDDC did not prioritize the inclusion of affordable housing in the many development projects that it helped to bring to fruition.

The redevelopment of the Scioto Peninsula, one of the largest projects that Worley has overseen during his tenure, is now underway as the first phase of a new mixed-use development is currently under construction. That project will follow the city’s affordability requirements for projects receiving residential property tax abatements.

As the developer and owner of several Downtown parking garages, the CDDC has also not always supported transit to the degree that many advocates would have preferred. The organization pulled the Lazarus Building, which it redeveloped and still owns, out of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District about a year before the C-Pass program officially launched (the C-Pass program provides free bus passes for some Downtown workers and is funded in part by property owners who pay into the district).

How exactly the organization might evolve with its new board members and new directive from the Mayor’s office is unknown. The new board will likely take up the issue of hiring a new Executive Director soon, although details about how that process will unfold have not been provided.

The statement released by the CDDC on Monday included several quotes from Worley and others about his tenure leading the organization.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have spent 14 years leading an organization that’s made a lasting impact on our community,” said Worley. “It’s only through a visionary Board of Directors, community leadership and strong public-private partnerships that we’ve been able to change the face of Downtown Columbus. I know that Downtown Columbus is poised for a future of continued success.”

“Guy is a force of nature who knows how to get complex projects accomplished and he brought with him decades of experience working with both the public and private sectors,” said former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who will be joining the board as one of the new appointments. “Guy is a man of his word and when he committed to getting a project done on-time and on-budget, I knew I could trust him. His fingerprints are everywhere as you look around Downtown and our community is better because of his leadership.”

Here are the new board members, as approved by City Council on March 22:

  • Christie Angel, President and Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Columbus, replacing Jordan Miller, former Regional President of Fifth Third Bank.
  • Michael B. Coleman, Partner, IceMiller, replacing Alex Shumate, Senior Partner of Squire Patton Boggs.
  • Sandy Doyle-Ahern, President, EMH&T, replacing Nancy Kramer, Chief Evangelist at IBM iX.
  • Jeff Edwards, President, CEO & Chairman, Installed Building Products, replacing Michael G. Morris, former CEO of American Electric Power.
  • Alex Fischer, President and CEO, The Columbus Partnership, replacing Melissa P. Ingwersen, Central Ohio Market President for Key Bank.
  • Bruce Soll, Counselor/Advisor for L Brands, and Matt Scantland, Co-Founder and Former CEO of CoverMyMeds, were both reappointed to the board.
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