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Northern arc downtown becoming a billion-dollar boom town: Here’s what’s planned

Article Originally Published in Columbus Business First by Tristan Navera

The northern cusp of downtown is poised for a boom as multiple development projects converge in the next few years.

The plans are impressive in scope: Hundreds of millions of dollars in new development, hundreds of housing units and the city’s two newest high-rises will be built in the area between Nationwide Arena and I-670, where the booming Short North, growing downtown and nascent Arena District, Grandview Yard and Franklinton areas converge.

In fact, eight projects alone are in development promising $1 billion in investment.

“This urban area is as good as any city in America and there’s room to grow for the whole neighborhood,” said Michael Schiff, principal of Schiff Capital Group and one of the principals on the North Market mixed-use development, which has been in the works for years. “We’re lucky to have the growth we’ve had and it’s coming together.”

The developments come as a result of years of work on a series of projects that made the area of town favorable, including the continued build-out of Grandview Yard, the $140 million renovation of the Greater Columbus Convention Center and continued growth of downtown employers like Nationwide.

Here’s a rundown of what’s under construction and what’s planned in this part of downtown:

  • The $220 million, 28-story Hilton Columbus Downtown tower along North High Street is set to break ground next month.
  • The $192 million North Market tower project will construct an approximately 28-story tower at the North Market’s parking lot. It’ll have apartments, more market space and 90,000 square feet of offices.
  • A $200 million expansion of the Arena District, on what are today gravel lots between Vine and Spruce streets. Details are still being worked out, but long-term plans could mean 500,000 square feet of office space. Chipotle’s headquarters would be the first anchor tenant in a 130,000-square-foot building.
  • $233 million new soccer stadium for the Columbus Crew SC, with substantial commercial and residential components expected around it.
  • An $18 million, 650-space parking garage being constructed now on the other side of the convention center to open in February 2020.
  • The Reach on Goodale, a 21-acre mixed-use development including a $65 million new headquarters for White Castle, is under development to the northwest as well. That site also includes a second office building, amphitheater and apartment complex. Developers say it’s intentionally designed to eliminate the “no man’s land” where Grandview and Arena District have been separated by highway, river and industrial corridors. The cost of the total development isn’t clear.
  • The 13-story, $50 million Canopy by Hilton Columbus hotel at 77 W. Nationwide Blvd., which is fitting out now for an opening next month.
  • An eight-story AC Hotel by Marriott is vertical now at 511 Park St. Building permits put construction at $30 million but fit-out costs are likely to drive the cost up.

It should also be noted that a host of nearby developments will undoubtedly contribute to the developments at this one-mile stretch, including the $200 million multi-phase Gravity project and the $240 million CoverMyMeds campus across the river in Franklinton; the 600-unit Jeffrey Park expansion with 12-story tower just to the north, and continued development in the Short North.

“It’s a confluence, and we feel good about it,” said Brian Ellis, COO of Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd., which has put over a billion dollars into the Arena District since it began in 1997.