Timeline: A Look Back at the Events That Led to Today’s Scioto Peninsula Groundbreaking
Today’s groundbreaking on the Scioto Peninsula is being celebrated as a milestone for Downtown Columbus, but it was a long time in the making.
The seven-acre first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022, with the full 26-acre site perhaps being built-out in about a decade’s time.
Here’s a timeline of events that have led up to the first dirt being moved on the site:
1908: The Plan for the City of Columbus is released, in which a rectangular greenspace framed by monumental public buildings is envisioned for the peninsula. Many other proposals are floated for the site over the course of the next hundred years.
2011: On the east side of the river, Civic Center Drive is reduced from five to three lanes and a walkway with fountains, colonnades and swings is built. More improvements are made to the public spaces along the river Downtown, an area that is rebranded as the Scioto Mile.
2012: The CDDC officially begins a public planning process for the site.
August, 2013: The first renderings are released of the new plan for the peninsula. Included in this vision is a new veterans museum and a park built over an underground parking garage in front of COSI.
November, 2013: The Main Street dam is demolished, creating a narrower, deeper Scioto River and freeing up 33 acres of land, which over the course of the next two years is developed into the Scioto Greenways.
June, 2014: The Columbus Zoo abandons a plan to build an attraction called Downtown Adventure on a three-acre triangle of land across West Town Street from COSI. That piece of land will remain empty for the immediate future, as it is not a part of the first phase of the development.
September, 2016: COSI announces a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History that will result in a new, permanent dinosaur exhibit at the museum.
February, 2017: The first iteration of the plan that is now being built is released. Although the overall scale of the mixed-use development has not changed dramatically, some of the elements that were envisioned – like two large residential towers, each over 30 stories – have been eliminated.
November, 2017: The 6.5-acre Dorrian Green opens, immediately to the west of COSI. It sits on top of a 600-space parking garage.
December, 2017: Indianapolis-based Buckingham Companies was selected to be the master developer of the site.
February, 2018: Money for a “COSI Connection Corridor” is included in the state budget. Guy Worley of the CDDC told CU last week that his group is “not focusing on that right now; we are in a global pandemic and our cultural amenities are struggling…our focus is on the mixed-use portion of the peninsula site.”
June, 2018: Buckingham Companies is dropped as the master developer of the site. The CDDC assumes that role and lines up different developers for each distinct portion of the project.
October 2019: The plan is presented to the Downtown Commission for the first time.
June 2020: Other elements of the plan are approved by the commission in subsequent meetings, like the two parking garages and a pedestrian-friendly street that will run down the middle of the new development.
September 2020: A groundbreaking ceremony is held, with work on the first phase of buildings scheduled to be completed in about two years.