Wasted Space in Downtown: Motorist Parking Lot
All it takes is a quick walk around Goodale Park, Schiller Park, or Franklin Park to find some of the nicest, largest, and most valuable homes in our urban neighborhoods. A stroll through the Topiary Park downtown is just as pleasant, but the residential aspect surrounding the park is drastically different. The south side of the park still boasts several beautiful old brick homes, but the north and east sides of the park are surrounded mostly with parking lots.
The largest of these parking lots runs almost completely along the north side of the park and is owned by the Motorists Mutual Insurance Company located on East Broad Street. They’ve also got a multi-story garage next door and several other small buildings in the area.
First, I should point out that some condo developments downtown have been a tough sell, while others have sold out amazingly quickly. Despite the current market conditions, the Neighborhood Launch condos continue to sell like hotcakes today because they offer a product that specifically caters to the type of units that are still in demand. They’ve also got great proximity to existing amenities.
There’s really no reason that Motorists couldn’t build something similar in this location. In addition to having the beautiful and historic Topiary Park as your front yard, you’ve also got the number one Library in the country located next door, and the Columbus Museum of Art, CCAD and Jefferson Center all within a 5 minute walk. Additionally, the whole Capital Square area is only a 15 minute walk away giving you easy access to everything around it while remaining secluded enough to be out of the downtown traffic and noise.
Nationwide has carved out their own neighborhood with the Arena District, and Grange is in the process of rebuilding the Brewery District as speak. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Motorists turn their parking lot into a dense residential development? Who knows… they might find that they’ll need fewer parking spots if they can provide some of their employees a new place to live where they can walk to work.
To further illustrate the potential that lies in this space, I’m displaying two photos below. One is of the view along Library Park, the narrow access road between Washington and 9th that runs parallel to the Topiary Park. This street is alright nice and narrow and cozy. The other photo below shows the view along John H McConnell Blvd in the Arena District. Again, a narrow street that also borders a park (Mcferson Commons). And instead of a parking lot, they’ve got the 100% occupied Burham Square condos.
Some food for thought.