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Columbus: Downtown: Capitol Square Developments and News

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2 hours ago, cbussoccer said:

 

What I'm saying is you should be encouraged by the fact that they are working with a smaller area. This should hopefully force them to build up higher. I think a 25-story building at the corner of 3rd and State is a very realistic expectation. 

 

In terms of being frustrated, I understand it to a degree but I don't think you should be too down in the dumps. Columbus has a solid amount of buildings on the taller end of the spectrum. We have 10 of the 20 tallest buildings in the state. We have 5 buildings over 500 feet (Cleveland has 4, Cincy has 2) and 10 buildings over 400 feet (Cleveland has 10 and Cincy has 7). What we lack, and what make our city feel inferior from a skyline and urban feel perspective, is the number of buildings we have in the 250-400 foot range. We only have 12 buildings in that range, with 3 more on campus. Cleveland has 25 in that range and Cincy has 23. 

 

We currently have Hilton 2.0 and Market tower both in the 250-400 range that are about to go up. We have Millennial Tower (lol) that is still a possibility. We have a tower (~20 stories I believe?) that has been floated at the southeast corner of 4th and State. We have a 15-story tower that has been talked about next to the Holiday Inn which would be borderline 250 feet. If this development lands us at least a 20-25 story tower we could end up with a handful of towers in the 250-400 foot range all going up within a few years of each other, and that's just what we know of publicly right now. I don't know about you, but that's pretty encouraging. Even more encouraging is the fact that we are trending up instead of down right now. 

Thanks for putting things in perspective. 

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So I'm not expecting a super tall here, but what does give me hope for decent size and decent quality is that in the last few years the Wolfe family, who owns Capitol Square Ltd., has transitioned from a media focus to a real estate focus. I think this makes them interested in developing a signature building and has given them the cash (Dispatch $47M and WBNS $535M) to do so. 

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Dormant corner of Capitol Square gets development proposal

 

A development is in the works for a long-quiet corner of Capitol Square.

 

Capitol Square Ltd. is working with Elford Development on a 3-acre site on the northeast corner of State and 3rd streets. Capitol Square, which is controlled by the Wolfe family, has owned the land for years. The Wolfes were the former owners of The Columbus Dispatch, whose former home is next to the site but still carries its sign.

 

The project will be a "vibrant, mixed-use development including retail, restaurant, office, multifamily, and parking garage components,” according to a statement released Friday.

 

The land is today some of the last large empty space on the square. The project would include the parking lot at the corner and the former bank building at 66 S. 3rd St., and potentially some other properties behind it.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2019/10/14/dormant-corner-of-capitol-square-gets-development.html

 

dispatch-building-capitol-square-10*750x


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Chase is building a new supertall HQ in NYC. Maybe they're in the mood for skyscrapers 😉

 

Pretty sure the original Capitol Tower was to house Bank One before they landed at Polaris with the 2,000,000 square foot McCoy Center.

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2 minutes ago, Pablo said:

^Someone posted this over on CU - the Capitol Tower

 

6fde589942d67a76f4a756755f59334a3121f55a

 

Two things... One, I'm impressed with how much I love the look of a tower that was proposed almost 30 years ago, and two, incredibly disappointed this never happened.

 

Can you image how Cap Square would feel surrounded by 30+ story buildings on all sides. I'm super curious how this would look in the skyline. 

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Notice this appears to go between the dispatch building and bank building. It would still leave the empty lot on the corner. Really a classic design and I'd be happy to see it resurrected. 

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On 10/14/2019 at 10:35 AM, DevolsDance said:

I cannot for the life of me find it but, I know I have seen an article where Moody Nolan actually participated in a design exercise to imagine what a skyscraper would look like in this exact location. I believe they had envisioned some 50-story glass and steel tower with some intense angles and architecture, it wasn't the best design but it was interesting none the less. 

You found the North Bank Condos parking garage info for me when I seemingly searched everything I could think of to find the info so here you go:

 

1071461856_Screenshot_20191015-1329472.png.df86dbc1fbd277bcbe0104a72f595988.png751186305_Screenshot_20191015-1329333.thumb.png.89476b798c0d800826bebfe12bc01367.png

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^^^I legit don't like the middle finger tower, lol. I do, however, like the Capitol Tower one, though. I hope something just as tall can be built there and harken back to this design somehow. 

 

About when/what year(s) were each of these proposed?

Edited by Zyrokai

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2 minutes ago, Zyrokai said:

^^^I legit don't like the middle finger tower, lol. I do, however, like the Capitol Tower one, though. I hope something just as tall can be built there and harken back to this design somehow. 

 

About when/what year(s) were each of these proposed?

 

The middle finger tower would certainly be....iconic.

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Just now, Zyrokai said:

Might as well go all out, come full circle, and just name it the "Ohio Against the World Tower", lol.

 

We could somehow project a picture of Anthony Precourt's face above it 🤣

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8 minutes ago, Zyrokai said:

^^^I legit don't like the middle finger tower, lol. I do, however, like the Capitol Tower one, though. I hope something just as tall can be built there and harken back to this design somehow. 

 

About when/what year(s) were each of these proposed?

Capitol Tower was circa 1991/1992. The glass skyscraper looks like it's from the 90s, but that's from 2011/2012.

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2 hours ago, aderwent said:

You found the North Bank Condos parking garage info for me when I seemingly searched everything I could think of to find the info so here you go:

 

1071461856_Screenshot_20191015-1329472.png.df86dbc1fbd277bcbe0104a72f595988.png751186305_Screenshot_20191015-1329333.thumb.png.89476b798c0d800826bebfe12bc01367.png

Thanks for finding this as it is also the one I was thinking about. I really like the idea of this, just not so much the top tapering as it does to such a sharp point-maybe something at the top similar to Torre Verre in NYC?

 

(Not that I am trying to suggest that I know everything about how real estate and development works, or that I know what is economically feasible or warranted, nor am I griping and expressing "height frustrations" and all. smh.)

Edited by Toddguy

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Development Planned for Capitol Square Parking Lots

 

A plan is afoot to redevelop three acres of prime real estate on Capitol Square, but details on what the project might look like are still scarce.

 

Elford Development and Capitol Square, Ltd. sent out a press release on Friday announcing their plans “to create a vibrant, mixed-use development including retail, restaurant, office, multifamily, and parking garage components” at the the northeast corner of Third and State streets.

 

“We’re excited to see a high impact mixed use development of this critically important block become a reality,” said Chris Ruess, President and CEO of Capitol Square, Ltd. in a statement. “The Elford team has led the development of several truly unique and highly successful mixed use projects here in Columbus, and brings the perfect blend of development and construction expertise that this site commands.”

 

More below:

https://www.columbusunderground.com/development-planned-for-capitol-square-parking-lots-bw1

 

Capitol-square-lot-1150x550.jpg


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20 hours ago, jeremyck01 said:

 

It's kind of silly to blame "Columbus" for your height frustrations.  It seems like you might not know how development and real estate work.  Just because you want something doesn't mean that it's economically feasible or even warranted.  You complain a lot about Columbus, but Columbus is booming and there has been so much construction it's actually quite mind-boggling compared to what it looked like even 10 years ago.  Columbus and the people who live there have a lot to be proud of, so considering where Columbus is now and where it's headed, perhaps less griping is in order.

 

There was just an article on Business First today talking about how both Columbus and surrounding cities are pushing against development now because none of them have bothered to prepare infrastructure or zoning for current and future growth.  Seems Columbus does indeed share some of the responsibility for underwhelming development.  Yes, there is lots of development, but compared to regional and national peers, Columbus is actually behind almost all of them in terms of the number of projects and housing units being added.  The anti-density, anti-transit, anti-development attitudes are going to hurt the city sooner or later, including significant increases in housing costs and traffic.

I really don't like the attitude that you should only be happy with the city.  There are problems and they should be discussed.  

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15 minutes ago, Toddguy said:

Be careful..or you might get classified as complaining "a lot" about Columbus because you do not always accept the status quo and sometimes/occasionally dare to *gasp* express some disappointment concerning anything about the city. 

 

I admittedly do complain about projects a lot, but I think for good reason.  The BF article just reinforces some of the obvious problems I and others have been talking about over the years- the city is not preparing well enough for a significant population increase.  The individual project complaints are easy targets, but the issues are deeper than that and I don't think it helps anything to gloss over them.  I love Columbus and it is a great city.  That reality doesn't mean there are no areas where it can't and shouldn't improve.  

Edited by jonoh81
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12 hours ago, jonoh81 said:

 

I admittedly do complain about projects a lot, but I think for good reason.  The BF article just reinforces some of the obvious problems I and others have been talking about over the years- the city is not preparing well enough for a significant population increase.  The individual project complaints are easy targets, but the issues are deeper than that and I don't think it helps anything to gloss over them.  I love Columbus and it is a great city.  That reality doesn't mean there are no areas where it can't and shouldn't improve.  

I will admittedly get frustration at the "downsizing" or scaling back of many projects and lack of size from time to time.  I feel most people in any city that have pride where they live will agree with that sentiment.  When all the stats point to a booming city, which it is, it can be frustrating to see the developments not keep pace with what is warranted.  That being said, I have a few friends, who have lived here their whole lives, and worked in construction and utilities industries very high up, and I've been told repeatedly that the INFRASTRUCTURE needed, much of which is underground, is very much lacking and far behind what is required to build big.  And yes, I think much of this blame can be put on the city to a degree.  They have kicked the can down the road in so many departments and now are not prepared for what should be a proud and exciting boom for this city.  The key word here is INFRASTRUCTURE, and how this city has not kept up or prepared for this in any way.

Edited by Gnoraa

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So in my eyes, it's a tenfold issue with the city bearing the bulk of responsibility.

 

Developers - Developers are never going to take a risk, it's not in their business model, it's not in their financing model, and it's not in their short term interest. Honestly, why would they? For the most part developers are not here to make a city better or unique, they are here to make a return and currently they can make a return with mid-rise structures in the core. 

 

Banks - Banks hold so much power in development it's insane. Lenders are traditionally conservative with what they're willing to approve financing wise on projects, they also are interested in the return and even less about adding to the the urban environment. Pair that knowledge with Columbus historically being a third-tier market and you have the cycle of funding we have seen for the past 10 years, it's slowly changing it seems but ultimately it has hurt our ability to score big ticket developments until recently. 

 

The Market - Columbus has (for the past 80 years) been a car-centric, third-tier development market that loved the suburbs. We have no natural barriers to stop sprawl, we have a population willing to commute and bear the burden of a person vehicle, and we have a pretty solid suburban-esque population that due to annexation lives within city limits meaning they get a say in things like transit and development. Now, in recent years the mindset is changing, the city and OSU have leveraged growth together and really helped push density in the urban core, our growth has pushed us into a new tier of development interest, and even suburbanites are starting to see value in urban growth. I think we're heading the right direction but it won't be easy because as we see everywhere, people for the most part hate change and lifers are going to fight harder and harder as the city they grew up in becomes less and less recognizable. 

 

The Commissions - Double issue. One, the commissions seem to regulate on density and how they "feel" about projects vs the architectural integrity of projects which was kind of their actual purpose from the start. Two, the regularity of meetings, with the city growing and development proposals increasing, they should be meeting multiple times per month and at times when residents can actually attend vs the strange 11AM-3PM thing they currently run. With the current structure, developments spend months in limbo just navigating commission approval and input for things that can probably be fixed and reviewed a week later instead of a month ultimately delaying the project timelines. Additionally, I will say it, the meeting times basically  cater to older residents attending and nobody else, that's how every development ends up with only negative comments and feedback which is what the commission bases so much of their decisions on... thats an issue.

 

The City - Finally, the largest responsible party in my eyes, the city. The city has benefited from years of sustained growth and expansion, it has always been able to adapt to the changes happening because they were never massive. As time has passed and growth has increased we have finally hit a point where growing pains are beginning. The city and council have spent the better half of two decades ignoring form based zoning, transit, infrastructure development, and smoothing out the road to growth. We have witnessed the city push major issues to the back and shift focus on "Good PR" projects like SMART Columbus. The city council recently had the gull to publish a statement about "Putting developers on notice for traffic and density" while completely ignoring that fact that transit, mobility, and zoning are the responsibility of the city itself... It's completely ludicrous. Leaders tout density but maintain parking minimums and density restrictions, they push for added traffic lanes and reduces bike/bus lanes... The city has done so little to truly prepare for growth that all the things listed above have become more symptoms than causes. How many transit studies and programs, corridor plans and improvements has the public seen in the last 20 years? More than you can probably count and almost none of them have been pushed through or enforced. Instead the city is going to continue on its path until a breaking point is hit and by then it will all be too late. 

 

Anyway, I could go on for hours but if we're going to play the blame game for development, the issue has and for the time being fall down the line onto the city and its lack of planning. 

 

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5 hours ago, Gnoraa said:

I will admittedly get frustration at the "downsizing" or scaling back of many projects and lack of size from time to time.  I feel most people in any city that have pride where they live will agree with that sentiment.  When all the stats point to a booming city, which it is, it can be frustrating to see the developments not keep pace with what is warranted.  That being said, I have a few friends, who have lived here their whole lives, and worked in construction and utilities industries very high up, and I've been told repeatedly that the INFRASTRUCTURE needed, much of which is underground, is very much lacking and far behind what is required to build big.  And yes, I think much of this blame can be put on the city to a degree.  They have kicked the can down the road in so many departments and now are not prepared for what should be a proud and exciting boom for this city.  The key word here is INFRASTRUCTURE, and how this city has not kept up or prepared for this in any way.

 

Good points. If the concerns about the city's growth are based upon the fact that the number of units and/or SF is not meeting demands or needs, that is one thing. Those are valid reasons for concern and should be addressed. But it's another thing if said concerns are primarily being driven by the simple desire for taller buildings or true skyscrapers because they are cool and make for good pictures. Taller is not necessarily better. It is possible that Columbus won't see developers go higher until more of the holes in the core are filled. If the demand continues to be there and the numbers work, the taller buildings will eventually come.

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6 hours ago, Gnoraa said:

I will admittedly get frustration at the "downsizing" or scaling back of many projects and lack of size from time to time.  I feel most people in any city that have pride where they live will agree with that sentiment.  When all the stats point to a booming city, which it is, it can be frustrating to see the developments not keep pace with what is warranted.  That being said, I have a few friends, who have lived here their whole lives, and worked in construction and utilities industries very high up, and I've been told repeatedly that the INFRASTRUCTURE needed, much of which is underground, is very much lacking and far behind what is required to build big.  And yes, I think much of this blame can be put on the city to a degree.  They have kicked the can down the road in so many departments and now are not prepared for what should be a proud and exciting boom for this city.  The key word here is INFRASTRUCTURE, and how this city has not kept up or prepared for this in any way.

 

I know we're getting OT here, but that development plan on Henderson and Olentangy RR had to be pulled back in part because of a concern that local sewers couldn't handle the additional load.  I remember that being an issue in Clintonville with the Indianola projects, too.  Infrastructure upgrades, from sewers to transit, have to be a greater priority around Columbus moving forward.  This issue may not apply Downtown as much, but I'm sure we all want density beyond just Downtown. 

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51 minutes ago, jonoh81 said:

 

I know we're getting OT here, but that development plan on Henderson and Olentangy RR had to be pulled back in part because of a concern that local sewers couldn't handle the additional load.  I remember that being an issue in Clintonville with the Indianola projects, too.  Infrastructure upgrades, from sewers to transit, have to be a greater priority around Columbus moving forward.  This issue may not apply Downtown as much, but I'm sure we all want density beyond just Downtown. 

Of my friends who work in the biz, sewer and sanitation lines have been a huge draw back, if not the largest.  Half of the projects that have been approved have had to take on their own ability to build in retainer sanitation options within their building, more than normal, simply because Columbus's system would get backed up and cannot handle the influx.  This is becoming embarrassing in my opinion that we are falling so far behind at this point.  We all want larger buildings and projects to be proud of and enhance our city, and people see a shiny new rendering and get all excited, but the reality is there is so much impact buildings of that size impose to our systems, and we are seriously ill-equipped to take on the extra load right now.  I'm a huge huge huge champion and defender of Columbus and want the best for our city, but the more inside information I get the more frustrated I am with lack of sight for the future, mostly from the lack and delay in infrastructure investment.  Lets not forget most things in the last decade or more were taxed abated so there's not much money coming in to help anyways.  I think many people focus on the "pretty" aspect of skyscrapers however fail to actually understand the level of "hidden" and messy infrastructure that needs to occur behind the shiny glass curtain.

Edited by Gnoraa

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2 hours ago, Gnoraa said:

Of my friends who work in the biz, sewer and sanitation lines have been a huge draw back, if not the largest.  Half of the projects that have been approved have had to take on their own ability to build in retainer sanitation options within their building, more than normal, simply because Columbus's system would get backed up and cannot handle the influx.  This is becoming embarrassing in my opinion that we are falling so far behind at this point.  We all want larger buildings and projects to be proud of and enhance our city, and people see a shiny new rendering and get all excited, but the reality is there is so much impact buildings of that size impose to our systems, and we are seriously ill-equipped to take on the extra load right now.  I'm a huge huge huge champion and defender of Columbus and want the best for our city, but the more inside information I get the more frustrated I am with lack of sight for the future, mostly from the lack and delay in infrastructure investment.  Lets not forget most things in the last decade or more were taxed abated so there's not much money coming in to help anyways.  I think many people focus on the "pretty" aspect of skyscrapers however fail to actually understand the level of "hidden" and messy infrastructure that needs to occur behind the shiny glass curtain.

Are cities like Austin experiencing these same issues?  I've read in online threads that people in Austin actively fought against urbanisation for years, but I don't know how true that actually is.  Are they experiencing these same kinds of infrastructure problems with their development as well?

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Do you guys--who are clearly smarter and more informed than I am--think it's too late? Just want your opinion. I would imagine the city is *aware* of all this, yes? And what was all in that huge bond package we just passed? Surely SOME infrastructure for sewer, right?

Edited by Zyrokai

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15 hours ago, Gnoraa said:

Of my friends who work in the biz, sewer and sanitation lines have been a huge draw back, if not the largest.  Half of the projects that have been approved have had to take on their own ability to build in retainer sanitation options within their building, more than normal, simply because Columbus's system would get backed up and cannot handle the influx.  This is becoming embarrassing in my opinion that we are falling so far behind at this point.  We all want larger buildings and projects to be proud of and enhance our city, and people see a shiny new rendering and get all excited, but the reality is there is so much impact buildings of that size impose to our systems, and we are seriously ill-equipped to take on the extra load right now.  I'm a huge huge huge champion and defender of Columbus and want the best for our city, but the more inside information I get the more frustrated I am with lack of sight for the future, mostly from the lack and delay in infrastructure investment.  Lets not forget most things in the last decade or more were taxed abated so there's not much money coming in to help anyways.  I think many people focus on the "pretty" aspect of skyscrapers however fail to actually understand the level of "hidden" and messy infrastructure that needs to occur behind the shiny glass curtain.

 

Did the massive sewer project from a few years ago not help in addressing this at all? I'm genuinely curious because I know nothing about the specifics. 

 

https://www.columbusunderground.com/underground-tunnel-columbus

Edited by cbussoccer

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16 minutes ago, cbussoccer said:

 

Did they massive sewer project from a few years ago not help in addressing this at all? I'm genuinely curious because I know nothing about the specifics. 

 

https://www.columbusunderground.com/underground-tunnel-columbus

From my understanding, as large as this project was, it was only to "catch up" to what was already so far behind, it still is not large enough to take on the size of projects we would like.  This project was to take on the overflowing sewage that was going into the Scioto River.  If you've ever taken a walk through Victorian Village, Short North, Italian Village, etc......I'm sure you've smelled the massive amounts of sewer gas.  It's not as frequent as it used to be but still exists.  This project was to help eliminate that.  As my friend called it once, it was a giant "sniffer". haha

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9 minutes ago, Gnoraa said:

From my understanding, as large as this project was, it was only to "catch up" to what was already so far behind, it still is not large enough to take on the size of projects we would like.  This project was to take on the overflowing sewage that was going into the Scioto River.  If you've ever taken a walk through Victorian Village, Short North, Italian Village, etc......I'm sure you've smelled the massive amounts of sewer gas.  It's not as frequent as it used to be but still exists.  This project was to help eliminate that.  As my friend called it once, it was a giant "sniffer". haha

 

So what you are saying is we need to dig another giant tunnel, and while we are at it we might as well dig out a tunnel for a subway as well? I like that plan!

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13 minutes ago, cbussoccer said:

 

So what you are saying is we need to dig another giant tunnel, and while we are at it we might as well dig out a tunnel for a subway as well? I like that plan!

Haha, I'm not sure we will ever get a full on subway but I agree, transit upgrades are a must in the future.  But additional sewer and utility infrastructure is very much needed if we are going to grow and grow well.

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Do you guys really think that a mid or a high-rise will be built on this land? Them selecting Elford as their development partner pretty much says exactly what they're looking to build on this parcel of land; another 5 story max mixed use development. Picking Elford essentially guarantees we see the exact same thing that is being built at the white castle headquarters, Jeffrey park, Harrison west, etc. They're about as innovative as Nationwide when it comes to 'groundbreaking' developments...

Edited by Mateo
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14 minutes ago, cbussoccer said:

 

So what you are saying is we need to dig another giant tunnel, and while we are at it we might as well dig out a tunnel for a subway as well? I like that plan!

 

The overflow tunnel does not improve the infrastructure to allow for greater density. That still needs to be done at the street level. It only comes into play during significant rainy.  Ideally, if the proper upgrades are done at the street level, the overflow tunnel becomes less important. (I.e. blueprint columbus)  We could build 3 or 5 or 10 of them and it won't help get more density where its needed. Water and sewage main upgrades are what's most important. 

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5 minutes ago, Mateo said:

Do you guys really think that a mid or a high-rise will be built on this land? Them selecting Elford as their development partner pretty much says exactly what they're looking to build on this parcel of land; another 5 story max mixed use development. Picking Elford essentially guarantees we see the exact same thing that is being built at the white castle headquarters, Jeffrey park, Harrison west, etc. They're about as innovative as Nationwide when it comes to 'groundbreaking' developments...

 

Isn't Elford at the mercy of those financing the development? White Castle was never going to pony up the cash to build a high rise at that location. They've also done their urban projects mostly in the Short North where they couldn't go very high. Obviously it's a risk going with a company that hasn't built high, but it also doesn't mean they won't try. 

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9 minutes ago, cbussoccer said:

 

Isn't Elford at the mercy of those financing the development? White Castle was never going to pony up the cash to build a high rise at that location. They've also done their urban projects mostly in the Short North where they couldn't go very high. Obviously it's a risk going with a company that hasn't built high, but it also doesn't mean they won't try. 

 

But I think it's telling on what their intentions are. If I'm looking to do build a new oil refinery, you can bet I'm not selecting a contractor that historically only does office buildings for example. 

 

Now if they selected someone like turner construction or brasfield & gorrie; then we would reasonably expect something relatively 'big'

Edited by Mateo

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2 hours ago, aderwent said:

If this is such a huge issue unique to Columbus, why is no one talking about it publicly?

IS this a problem that's unique to Columbus?  I would have a hard time believing we're the only ones dealing with these issues.

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On 10/16/2019 at 8:28 AM, Gnoraa said:

They have kicked the can down the road in so many departments and now are not prepared for what should be a proud and exciting boom for this city

The city has seemed ripe for a boom in the past couple years.  So, are you saying that we absolutely aren't going to see the exciting boom that we've been waiting for because of these issues?

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10 minutes ago, Mateo said:

 

But I think it's telling on what their intentions are. If I'm looking to do build a new oil refinery, you can bet I'm not selecting a contractor that historically only does office buildings for example. 

 

Now if they selected someone like turner construction or brasfield & gorrie; then we would reasonably expect something relatively 'big'

 

That's a bit of a drastic comparison. 

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