Updated Millennial Tower Approved by Downtown Commission
The Downtown Commission voted to approve the Millennial Tower project today, meaning the 27-story mixed-use building at the corner of Front and Rich streets is now free to move forward.
Commissioners were overwhelmingly positive in their comments about the latest design, which features a very different approach to the building’s LED signage.
While previous iterations had envisioned a screen that would wrap around the entire building at a height of six stories, the new proposal calls for two smaller signs, both on the Front Street side – a vertical one that would extend nearly 90 feet up the side of the building, and a horizontal marquee that would measure about 86 feet in length.
“We heard from you, you expressed deep concerned (about the large LED sign)… we understand that and we responded to it,” said former Mayor Michael Coleman, who was representing the developer of the project, Arshot Investment Corporation.
“After listerning and adjusting and responding to those concerns, we’re ready to go,” he added. “Our investors, our tenants, our equity partners…appreciate your full consideration of what we think is a bold and beautiful, future-ready, statement building for the future of Columbus.”
Commission Chair Stephen Wittmann said that he liked the vertical blade sign and called it a “great solution,” to the issues expressed previously.
“This plan is radically improved,” added commissioner Micheal S. Brown, “thank you for listening.”
Other commissioners expressed appreciation for other elements of the design that highlighted the vertical lines of the building.
“We found that building was not well organized before,” said James Van Duys, of project architect SRSS. “This massing is stronger, it emphasizes the height of building…the previous design was so horizontal, it kind of looked like a stack of books on the shelf.”
The programming of the building has not changed significantly – it will feature 179 residential units (a mix of apartments and condominiums), a 130-room hotel, 40,000 square feet of retail space on the first and second floors, 678 parking spaces, and 155,000 square feet of office space, enough to serve about 775 employees.
Van Duys explained that the six floors of parking in the building have been designed so that they could be converted into office use if the demand for parking decreases in the future.
Instead of covering the parking levels with the LED screen, the new treatment calls for a combination of glass and a gray mesh material that could be lit from the outside to appear to be different colors. All told, the building will feature four different types of glass.
Van Duys also provided a hint at what the first and second floor retail space could end up looking like, calling it an “open market/event space” that would feature kiosks and a number of smaller retailers.
The motion to approve the new design was passed unanimously, with a condition that the LED screens be restricted to graphics related to on-premise tenants (not general advertisements).
The project will represent a milestone for Columbus as the tallest tower built in the central core of downtown in over 20 years.
Coleman emphasized the impact it could have on retail development downtown.
“We’ve had trouble attracting and keeping retail in downtown Columbus, we all know this,” he said. “I’ve always said that retail follows people…well, the tipping point has arrived – we believe retail is possible and can be successful downtown, and that this will provide a focal point and synergy for that.”