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Columbus: Downtown: Convention Center Developments and News

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From Business First of Columbus, 9/22/06:

 

 

PHOTO: Battelle Hall, part of the original convention center at the top of the photo, is outdated and needs significant improvements, according to county officials.  Janet Adams | Business First

 

Battelle Hall in for a $20M upgrade

Improvements aimed at drawing more events

Business First of Columbus - September 22, 2006

by Adrian Burns

Business First

 

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority is moving forward with a $20 million renovation of the oldest exhibition hall at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  The 90,000-square-foot Battelle Hall, which opened 26 years ago, will be converted from an austere exhibition space with a concrete floor into one of the largest ballrooms in the state, said William Jennison, executive director of the Convention Facilities Authority, which oversees the downtown complex.  The authority hopes to have designers in place by November, with construction expected to begin in late 2007 and finish by late 2009, he said.

 

Read more at http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2006/09/25/story7.html

 

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From Business First of Columbus, 9/29/06:

 

Convention center retail area may be trimmed amid shopping drop

Business First of Columbus - September 29, 2006

by Adrian Burns, Business First

 

Stores along the retail concourse at the Greater Columbus Convention Center offer college football memorabilia, nuts and basic supplies for travelers, but the once-bustling commercial area has had little luck attracting anything else.  The inability to lure additional tenants has left thousands of square feet of empty space and has spurred convention center officials to consider converting much of the unused space into meeting rooms.

 

Created in 1980 as a shopping mall at what was then the Ohio Center, the convention center's south facility has 80,000-square-feet divided evenly between a food court and a retail concourse. The food court includes 12 restaurants and is busy servicing a steady lunchtime crowd.

 

Read more at http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2006/10/02/story9.html

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Posting a 2007 Business First article to catch up to a current article about the on-going Battelle Hall renovation within the Columbus Convention Center...

 

Battelle Hall facelift getting green light

Business First of Columbus - by Adrian Burns Business First

Friday, November 30, 2007

 

After three years of brainstorming and conceptual planning, the Greater Columbus Convention Center is set to begin its $35 million Battelle Hall renovation project.  The governing board of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, which owns and oversees the convention center, on Nov. 20 approved spending $41 million, the bulk of which will be used on Battelle Hall.  The project will undergo a detailed planning effort with construction expected to begin by October, said Authority Executive Director William Jennison.

 

Read more at http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2007/12/03/story5.html#

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And here is the current article...

 

Savings leave cash for more convention center upgrades

Business First of Columbus - by Adrian Burns

Saturday, June 27, 2009, 12:01am EDT

 

The Greater Columbus Convention Center is getting more for its money thanks to the recession.  Competitive bidding by contractors worried about the economic downturn dropped the construction price tag for Battelle Hall renovations by $3.9 million last fall.  That’s allowed officials to sock away about $2 million while putting the remainder of the savings toward a host of other improvements under way at the convention center.

 

All told, the $40 million project includes not only the original plans for Battelle Hall, but also new carpet throughout much of the facility, new common areas, more meeting space, fancier wall coverings and a new Nationwide Boulevard entrance with an elevator.  “We got some aggressive (bids),” said William Jennison, executive director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, which oversees the downtown complex. “We were able to complete our wish list.”

 

The savings for the convention center illustrate the opportunities that can be created during a recession, when companies short on business may be more willing to slash prices to secure work.  “People wanted the business, and there were not a lot of projects going to bid,” Jennison said.  “They wanted to tie up work knowing that we were going into a (deeper) recession.”

 

 

252435-300-0-1.jpg104552-300-0-2.jpg

Battelle Hall at the Columbus Convention Center is undergoing a major renovation that will give it a blue ceiling, where decorative glass fins will be added.  The first image is Battelle Hall being renovated into a ballroom.  The second image is a rendering of the renovated ballroom with a new ceiling and a new bank of windows looking toward Nationwide Boulevard and the rest of downtown Columbus.

 

Read more at http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2009/06/29/story5.html#

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So instead of renovating (part of) the facade to include businesses that attract customers inside, they're going to gussy up an indoor room that pedestrians never see. Great job!

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Great job!

"Finally the Columbusite seal of approval" exclaimed William Jennison, executive director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority.  :wink:

252436-300-0-1.jpg

 

Just kidding!  I know you're not thrilled with a "gussied up indoor room that pedestrians never see".  But millions of convention goers and visitors to the city will see that room.  As well as all of the other upgrades in the convention center.  And those millions of people provide alot of business to the surrounding Short North, Arena District and North Market.

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The new place to be

Renovated, expanded Battelle Grand is ready to host gatherings amid upscale surroundings in the largest ballroom in the state

Sunday,  January 17, 2010 - 3:40 AM

By Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch

 

Before there was a Nationwide Arena or a Value City Arena, there was Battelle Hall.

 

Built in 1980 as part of the Ohio Center, it was the place to be for arena football, basketball games, rock concerts, business gatherings and cheerleading contests.  And in recent years, it was starting to show its age. 

 

Now, after a $32.5 million face-lift, the newly christened Battelle Grand is ready for its coming-out party.  Those who remember the "old" Battelle Hall will be in for a surprise.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2010/01/17/battellehall_redo.ART_ART_01-17-10_D1_TFG9US8.html?sid=101

 

26205998251_43b0c197d0_z_d.jpg

 

26246332166_510c878562_z_d.jpg

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Greater Columbus Convention Center could get 500-room hotel

 

timthumb.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbusunderground.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F03%2Fconvention-proposal-01.jpg&q=90&w=650&zc=1&

 

Four developers have proposed hotels as part of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority’s  desire to develop surplus property along Goodale and High streets.

 

But ordering ceremonial shovels for a ground breaking is more than a bit premature.

 

Wagenbrenner Development got the juices going last year when it approached the public-sector developer and landlord of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/03/25/greater-columbus-convention-center-could-get-500.html

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Courtesy of ColumbusUnderground...

 

Two 15-Story Towers Proposed at Convention Center

 

convention-proposal-02.jpg

 

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.

 

convention-proposal-03.jpg

 

Much more below:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/two-15-story-towers-proposed-at-convention-center

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Another rendering courtesy of ColumbusUnderground...

 

Modern Towers Proposed for Convention Center Expansion Project

 

timthumb.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbusunderground.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F03%2Fkaufman-development.jpg&q=90&w=650&zc=1&

 

Multiple companies have answered the call for new development on the north side of the Convention Center, including Wagenbrenner, Pizzuti and Starwood Hotels. A collaborative proposal has also been submitted from Daimler, Kaufman and Continental, which include two 12-to-15 story towers that would house a hotel, new residences, retail and office tenants.

 

“It’s all pretty conceptual at this point, especially with this being a competitive process,” says Kaufman Development founder Brett Kaufman. “But the reason why where’re interested in this project is pretty simple for us in that it’s one that we feel incredibly important for the city that we all love. We think this property has an opportunity to further invigorate this area and connect the Short North with the Convention Center and Downtown.”

 

More below:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/modern-towers-proposed-for-convention-center-expansion-project

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This Convention Center development proposal comes as both a pleasant surprise and a bit of head scratcher.  The pleasant surprise is because part of this area was talked about last year as a parking garage to replace an existing surface lot.  This was first posted here on 9/18/2013 over in the Short North developments thread.  Then a little later, and posted here on 12/3/2013, the Convention Facilities Authority said they might add some commercial development to the parking garage that would compliment the Shops at Union Station (aka the I-670 Cap) next door.  But these tower proposals go waaaay beyond those earlier reports.

 

The head scratcher is because these proposals are so conceptual.  Usually these types of early conceptual proposals don't get publicly viewed.  Mostly because these early concepts tend to unrealistically raise public expectations.  After budgeting and financing take their toll, the final project is usually less impressive - if it even gets built at all.  But with that said, it is encouraging to see the CFA pushing the envelope here.

 

I like the overall look of the Modern Towers proposal, where they talked about taking the Eisenmann Convention Center concept and expressing it vertically.  The tower looks like an all-glass version of Zaha Hadid's Cincinnati art museum building.  The downside is it doesn't do much at the street level.

 

The opposite is true for the Wagenbrenner/Rockbridge 500-room hotel proposal.  In this one, the High Street retail portion looks great.  But the upper stories of this concept are a bland mish-mash.  Plus, it looks like this concept would require the demolition of a good portion of the Convention Center along High Street.  Not sure how realistic this is.  Still, it's an interesting idea.

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Here's the map they released last year of where the CFA parking garage would be built on the existing CFA parking lot north of Goodale and next to I-670.  The other lot now apparently in play is the narrow plaza/green space south of Goodale and next to the Convention Center

 

9805152365_d5d432b8c5_o_d.jpg

 

Columbus Underground has some photos of that plaza/green space next to the Convention Center at http://www.columbusunderground.com/wasted-space-in-downtown-convention-center-bw1.  That CU piece also has some photos of the space that runs between the original Ohio Center part of the Convention Center complex and the newer Eisenmann-designed part that runs along High Street.  That in-between space would be an ideal location for a future passenger rail station.

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I did not expect to see this proposed. Hopefully this would help connect the energy of the Short North to Downtown.

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This Convention Center development proposal comes as both a pleasant surprise and a bit of head scratcher.  The pleasant surprise is because part of this area was talked about last year as a parking garage to replace an existing surface lot.  This was first posted here on 9/18/2013 over in the Short North developments thread.  Then a little later, and posted here on 12/3/2013, the Convention Facilities Authority said they might add some commercial development to the parking garage that would compliment the Shops at Union Station (aka the I-670 Cap) next door.  But these tower proposals go waaaay beyond those earlier reports.

 

The head scratcher is because these proposals are so conceptual.  Usually these types of early conceptual proposals don't get publicly viewed.  Mostly because these early concepts tend to unrealistically raise public expectations.  After budgeting and financing take their toll, the final project is usually less impressive - if it even gets built at all.  But with that said, it is encouraging to see the CFA pushing the envelope here.

 

I like the overall look of the Modern Towers proposal, where they talked about taking the Eisenmann Convention Center concept and expressing it vertically.  The tower looks like an all-glass version of Zaha Hadid's Cincinnati art museum building.  The downside is it doesn't do much at the street level.

 

The opposite is true for the Wagenbrenner/Rockbridge 500-room hotel proposal.  In this one, the High Street retail portion looks great.  But the upper stories of this concept are a bland mish-mash.  Plus, it looks like this concept would require the demolition of a good portion of the Convention Center along High Street.  Not sure how realistic this is.  Still, it's an interesting idea.

 

I believe the portion of the Convention Center that would be demolished would be the late 1990s addition and not part of the original structure.  I'm fine with that.  It'll still leave the longest uninterrupted useless wall on High Street.

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I believe the portion of the Convention Center that would be demolished would be the late 1990s addition and not part of the original structure.  I'm fine with that.  It'll still leave the longest uninterrupted useless wall on High Street.

 

Useless wall for sure. What a detriment.

 

As Columbo said the  upper floors of the initial renderings are kinda bland, but I really like what they're showing at street level. In contrast, the modern tower concept just looks foreboding.

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I don't think they are going to tear down F Hall of the GCCC. The building would go in the open space between the Convention Center and Goodale. Perhaps a bit of the current north entry would be integrated into the new building.

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According to Columbus Underground the idea of a mixed-use development at the corner of Goodale and High Street has been abandoned.  :-(

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You can bet Cleveland will now get some of them.  They have been out of the convention business forever but with this new center you can bet the state will have to spread the wealth politically.

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State shows generally get the most attendees when they are located in the center of states. Industry statistics prove it; well, at least in states with fairly even population distribution such as Ohio.

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According to Columbus Underground the idea of a mixed-use development at the corner of Goodale and High Street has been abandoned.  :-(

 

Yep, here's the link to that report: http://www.columbusunderground.com/convention-center-to-expand-but-abandons-mixed-use-concepts-bw1

 

Here's the news in the Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/06/12/Convention_Center_addition_and_renovation_would_cost_125_million.html

 

Here's a breakdown of the announced Convention Center renovation, expansion and parking garage projects:

 

14428615631_1d71d2052d_o_d.jpg

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According to the various sources (linked above), here's what we know about the Convention Center projects:

 

1) NEW CONSTRUCTION - Expansion of north end of Convention Center and two-story entrance from Goodale Street; $48 million:  No renderings of this part of the project has been released yet.  This addition would presumably be built on the wedge-shaped plaza at the corner of High & Goodale.  This addition would add 36,000 sq. ft. to the northernmost exhibit hall, bringing the Convention Center's total exhibit space to 375,000 square feet.

 

2) RENOVATIONS - Complete interior renovation to the Convention Center; $66 million:  The interior renovations to the 1990 original section and the 1999 expansion call for new ceilings, new wall coverings, new carpet, and new signage.  According to the CFA, this would be completed in phases over the next two to three years.

 

2a) RENOVATIONS - Miscellaneous improvements such as new LED lighting for the CFA's existing parking garages and renovation work to preserve the exterior of the Convention Center; $11 million:  This sounds like maintenance and upgrades that just barely go beyond routine.  The LED lighting upgrades would presumably go into the Vine Street Garage located across from the North Market and behind the recently completed Hilton Hotel, as well as the internal Ohio Center Garage off Nationwide Boulevard.  The exterior preservation part sounds like it might focus on the original exterior facing High Street.  At 24-years-old, the 1990 post-modern dryvit/stucco features likely need some work beyond routine mainenance.

 

3) NEW PARKING GARAGE - 800 spaces on the north side of Goodale Street; $18 million:  This is currently a surface parking lot located across Goodale Street from the Convention Center.  The lot also abuts next to one of the two I-670 Cap buildings.  According to the CFA, space is being reserved for a potential hotel that would be located between the new 800-space garage and the I-670 Cap building.  The Dispatch shows a rendering of the parking garage without the hotel at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/06/12/Convention_Center_addition_and_renovation_would_cost_125_million.html.  CU shows two renderings of the parking garage with a hotel at http://www.columbusunderground.com/convention-center-to-expand-but-abandons-mixed-use-concepts-bw1.

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The convention authority should be ashamed of itself.  It took what could've been a signature project that could've actually helped them reach their goal of attracting new business and turned it into a glorified entranceway and 1970s parking garage, eliminating even the retail element of the garage that had previously been pushed.  All this because they deemed the Hilton's business too valuable to face any competition from a private hotel (which didn't have to be part of the project at all).  And then they have the gall to talk it up like they're doing something transformative.  What's even worse is that they took a private investment and made it into an entirely taxpayer-funded endeavor.

 

Awful decision by terrible convention leadership.  This one is going to keep me bitter for a long time.

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Are they starting the parking structure already? I've used the parking lot to take photos of the Joseph Hotel before and when I went there 2 weeks ago saw it was closed and there was a crane being setup.

 

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Convention center expansion wins design approval

 

convention-center-expansion-1*600.jpg

 

Plans to expand and modernize the Greater Columbus Convention Center have passed muster with the Downtown Commission, moving the complex closer to a $125 million makeover to improve its competitiveness.

 

A $30 million addition OK'd Tuesday by the commission includes the construction of a 36,000-square-foot exhibition hall off Goodale Street and 10,000 square feet of meeting space split among two levels.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/blog/2015/02/convention-center-expansion-wins-design-approval.html

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^ Don't they mean NorthEAST corner of High St? Or am I just backwards?

 

[edit: oh, they must mean northwest corner of the structure, not of the intersection]

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So instead of this:

 

convention-proposal-03.jpg

 

We get this:

 

convention-center-expansion-1*600.jpg

 

Disgusting misuse of over $100 million. That could have been spent on that fieldhouse across 3rd. The commissioners who approved this better not be reelected. So short sighted. How's it Wagenbrenner/Rockbridge fault the GCCC built a Hilton with 1/3 of the rooms a view of the inside of a parking garage?

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Convention center's revamped High Street plaza part of $125 million facelift

 

convention-center-high-street-plaza*750xx2838-1605-586-0.jpg

 

The renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center has started with a schedule set to end in June 2017.

 

The $75 million investment in renovations and $50 million in expansion costs are designed to make Columbus more competitive and attractive for large, national conventions and trade shows.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2015/09/11/first-look-convention-centers-revamped-high-street.html

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