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Two 15-Story Towers Proposed at Convention Center

Walker Evans Walker Evans Two 15-Story Towers Proposed at Convention Center
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The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority is shopping for redevelopment ideas for the northwest corner of their Downtown footprint, and they’re inviting developers to dream big. Their board is currently reviewing four proposals for the site, one of which has been in the works by Wagenbrenner Development for around a year.

“About a year ago, we were finishing the Hubbard plans and searching for potential redevelopment sites in the Short North,” explains Michael Amicon, a Developer at Wagenbrenner. “We’ve driven past the corner of High and Goodale a hundred times and thought that could be something fantastic.”

Amicon says that Wagenbrenner approached both city officials and the convention authority to find out if they would be interested in allowing them to develop a limited-service boutique hotel concept at the southeast corner of Goodale and High. He said that the idea was met with hesitation, as the new Joseph development by Pizzuti is located only a block north and is bringing new capacity for boutique hotel service.

“They weren’t very excited to do another select service hotel,” said Amicon. “They wanted to do something bigger like another full service hotel.”

Wagenbrenner took the project idea back to the drawing board, and met with Rockbridge Capital — the sixth largest hotel operator in the US, which is headquartered in offices at Easton Town Center. The companies collaborated on a new project proposal that now includes two 15-story mixed-use towers, one holding around 108 apartment units, the other housing a 150-room boutique hotel and 300-room traditional full-service hotel. The buildings combined also include parking garage space and approximately 22,000 to 25,000 square feet of retail space.

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“We got together again with Bill Jennison (Executive Director of the Convention Facilities) again, and he was very excited about this project,” explains Amicon. “They couldn’t allow us as a private developer to move forward without an official RFP, so that was issued in February and we submitted our project.”

Three other proposals have also been submitted from development companies Daimler/Kaufman, Pizzuti and Starwood Hotels.

“Four proposals were submitted and all four are being evaluated,” stated Maria Mercurio, Finance Director at the Convention Authority. “The board is still evaluating all options and no timeline on a decision has been established yet.”

Amicon says that he feels strongly about the Wagenbrenner proposal due to their history with urban infill projects in Columbus, their hotel partnership with Rockbridge, and their experience with navigating complicated projects that include a mix of public and private partners.

“I think we have a really good team that’s flexible and we can adapt to what the needs are,” he added.

For information on the Kaufman/Daimler proposal, CLICK HERE. More information will be available soon on the additional proposals from other developers.

How would you like to see other areas around the Convention Center redeveloped? CLICK HERE to weigh in on the latest installment in our “Wasted Spaces” series.

For more info and discussion on this development, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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