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Mayor: Develop housing on Lazarus parking lots

Business First of Columbus - by Brian R. Ball, Business First

Friday, February 27, 2004

 

Parking lots south of the Lazarus-Macy's downtown store would be redeveloped into multistory housing if Mayor Michael B. Coleman and the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. get their way.  Coleman outlined his intentions for the 4.3 acres along South Front Street between Rich and Town streets in his Feb. 26 State of the City address.

 

The Columbus Downtown Development Corp., a city-sponsored development agency expected to purchase the properties from Federated Department Stores Inc. for $5.7 million this summer, will issue a formal request for proposals to developers in April.  "We'll ask developers to send in their proposals for what it should be or could be and how they plan on paying for it," said Coleman in an interview a day before the State of the City speech. 

 

Coleman said redeveloping the parking lots would mark "a great first step in turning the whole RiverSouth area around."

 

Full article: http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2004/03/01/story7.html

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The Columbus Dispatch Sunday Edition this week has a front page article regarding redevelopment of the RiverSouth area of downtown, including the soon-to-be closed Lazarus store as well as CityCenter. Columbus' main redevelopment driver, Nationwide Insurance, is spearheading development plans there and along the High St. corridor between the Arena District and Capitol Square:

 

 

RiverSouth next for Nationwide

Arena District builder looks to city’s center

By Mike Pramik THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

With the Arena District nearing completion, Nationwide soon will turn its development efforts to Downtown’s core, Chief Executive W.G. "Jerry’’ Jurgensen said.  "That to me is the next major, critical test,’’ he said.  Nationwide, a force in Downtown development, now is working on a strategy to develop condominiums in the River-South area of Downtown.  The company also is considering residential construction along Gay Street and a section of N. High Street between Spring and Broad streets, said Brian Ellis, president of Nationwide Realty Investors.

 

Although Nationwide hasn’t acquired land in those locations, they are possibilities for new apartments and condominiums.  "The master plan for River-South shows that becoming a strong neighborhood,’’ Ellis said. "There are good opportunities there, taking advantage of the (Scioto) river.’’  Nationwide’s interest comes as Downtown’s core is struggling. Office-building vacancies are hovering near 20 percent. Columbus City Center mall is having a hard time keeping tenants; Lazarus is closing. Several other sections of High Street between I-70 and Spring Street are in need of attention.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2004/07/11/20040711-A1-00.html

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CITY TO CALL FOR RIVERSOUTH PLANS

Developers sought for site near City Center

Published: Saturday, December 11, 2004

By Debbie Gebolys, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

One of the largest residential redevelopments Downtown is at the starting gate.  Columbus Downtown Development Corp. on Monday will ask local and national developers to audition to build at least 200 condominiums and apartments on former Lazarus parking lots and garages along Front Street, between Town and Rich streets.  The development corporation, the city's nonprofit development and finance arm, paid $5.7 million for the five Downtown blocks this past summer, shortly before Lazarus-Macy's closed its flagship Downtown store.

 

Now, the development corporation is seeking a partner to come up with ideas to build an urban neighborhood larger than anything since the Arena District.  "It's a significant landmass and it's a significant number of Downtown residential units,'' corporation spokeswoman Kathleen Murphy said. "This is a major step in the revitalization of Downtown Columbus.''

 

Developers will compete to create plans for 4.3 acres directly west of the former Lazarus store, roughly on both sides of Front Street.  The development corporation envisions four- to five-story buildings that would be a mix of condos and apartments.  The new buildings would replace aging parking decks and lots.  The project site is in RiverSouth, a 31-block area that's now largely warehouses and parking lots punctuated by Columbus City Center and the Franklin County Justice Center.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2004/12/11/20041211-G1-00.html

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I'm really impressed with Columbus' abiltiy to execute.  They have a plan, then they go ahead and actually make it happen. 

 

 

So, yes, I expect this will get built, too!

 

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Too bad every city in Ohio, or the NE for that matter can't seem to make projects happen like Columbus. Could this be Columbus' attempt to become Ohio's premier city and have people from outside Ohio know it aside from having to learn its name in the 5th grade with all the other states/capitals.

 

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^Bingo.  Again, it's our next Largest City and Metro, folks.  I say "let em' ride."


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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awesome, yay columbus!

 

The more I think about where I'd like to live after college, the more I think about staying right here... I used to say if I stayed in Ohio at all, it would be closer to the Cincinnati area where I'm from, but Columbus is looking more attractive all the time.

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Columbus is lucky to have a company willing to take the reins and lead development like this.  Not to mention that they are likely throwing a ton of their own money at it to make it happen.  I am sure it benefits them too in the long run in both recruiting workers to town and shoring up their own real estate holdings downtown.

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Public forum to be held tonight. I can't go though, since I have work:

 

Firm hired to develop plan for RiverSouth

Forum tonight will let public make suggestions for Downtown project

By Debbie Gebolys THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The New York firm that submitted the earliest plans to rebuild the site of the World Trade Center has been hired to plan the future of the southwestern quadrant of Downtown.  Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners is to produce a redevelopment plan for RiverSouth by July.  Redeveloping the 25 acres bounded by High Street and the Scioto River, from State Street to Fulton Street, was a goal in Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s 2002 Downtown plan.

 

Columbus Downtown Development Corp., a nonprofit business group charged with redeveloping Downtown, hired Beyer Blinder Belle in February to help envision a plan for RiverSouth.  The goal is to replace parking lots, aging offices and warehouses with an urban neighborhood.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2005/04/13/20050413-B3-00.html

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A follow-up on the public forum last night was printed today in the Dispatch. Sounds like some good ideas, finally some firm dates, and some good criticisms:

 

Planner seeks ideas to improve S. High Street

Pedestrian safety, access called priority

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Matthew Marx THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

S. High Street needs a major overhaul regardless of how RiverSouth takes shape, the Downtown redevelopment project’s lead planner said.  Traffic patterns and lighting must be improved to make walking safer and easier on High Street, from Capitol Square to German Village, architect Neil Kittredge told 100 people at a forum last night.  "This really isn’t a street you want to stroll around on right now," said Kittredge, of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

 

The New York urban-planning firm and the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. hosted the forum to generate ideas for developing the 25 acres bounded by W. State Street, S. High, W. Fulton Street and the Scioto River. Already proposed for the area or in planning stages are the former Lazarus building project; relocating BalletMet to the area; realigning the Town Street bridge and creating a pedestrian bridge; improving Bicentennial Park; and expansion of the county courthouse.

 

The final plan is due in July.  Anyone with suggestions is asked to e-mail RiverSouthIdeas@downtowncolumbus.com.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2005/04/14/20050414-B1-00.html

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Columbus Council OKs money for downtown

Business First of Columbus

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 

Columbus City Council allocated $114,000 Monday for a group whose goal is to redevelop the downtown area.  The Columbus Downtown Development Corp. is a nonprofit agency charged with redeveloping downtown.  It is working to convert the former Lazarus store site into office and arts space and attract development to the RiverSouth area, the part of downtown by the Scioto River.  Its Scioto Mile plan will add green space and sidewalks aside the river.

 

Full article: http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2005/04/18/daily12.html

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From the 7/21/05 Columbus Business First:

 

 

Council mulls bonds for RiverSouth

Tony Goins Business First

 

Columbus City Council will vote Monday to allow the RiverSouth Authority to issue $40 million in bonds.  The authority plans to issue the bonds, although the ordinance council will consider Monday pledges the city will pay off the bonds. The payments will total around $4 million a year for 16 years, starting in 2008.  The RiverSouth Authority is a quasi-public body devoted to redeveloping the RiverSouth area of downtown, a 23-block area between the Scioto River, Mound Street and Town Street. Columbus Downtown Development Corp., a nonprofit development agency, administers the authority.

 

Councilwoman Mary Jo Hudson held a briefing Thursday to review the ordinance and update other council members on progress in RiverSouth. Councilwoman Maryellen O'Shaughnessy admitted some may question why the city is spending so much on downtown, but said the investment is worth it.  Downtown generates a disproportionately large amount of tax revenue for its size, Hudson noted. Its vitality also affects surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Read more at

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2005/07/18/daily24.html?from_rss=1

 

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Lazarus renovators employ variety of concepts at site

By Brent Wilder, For Business First of Columbus

Friday, September 2, 2005

 

The cast staging the redevelopment of the former Lazarus Building in downtown Columbus has been on scene with the project for a year, though to them it feels like Act 1 is only beginning.  With original plans for the site scrapped when Lazarus left downtown and the idea of building nearby a stadium for the Columbus Clippers fizzled, the Georgetown Co. continues seeking the right blend of uses for the building, whose success officials deem as crucial for redevelopment.

 

While redevelopment of the building downtown appears to be moving at a brisk pace, Brian Ezzell says this public-private development has been a lengthy three-year investment.  Ezzell, whose New York-based company is the development partner of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp., says getting the project done correctly is critical especially because of the building's role as a northern anchor in helping push redevelopment south toward the Scioto River.

 

Tenants thus far for the 1 million-square-foot facility include the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, expected to cumulatively occupy more than 500,000 square feet.

 

Full article: http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2005/09/05/focus3.html

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And we've got an RFP issued.  This project seems to have legs!

 

http://www.downtowncolumbus.com/publications/RFPforDevelopmentManager.pdf

 

Here's a snippit:

Description of CDDC’s Neighborhood Development Intentions

CDDC intends to develop CDDC’s Land and to serve as a catalyst in the development of

the remainder of the RiverSouth area in a manner designed to further the 2002 Strategic Business

Plan for Downtown Columbus (the “2002 Plan”) collaboratively created by Mayor Michael B.

Coleman and other city officials with civic leaders, community stakeholders, and members of the

city’s business leadership. In order to best accomplish the goals of the 2002 Plan, CDDC is

presently working with various planners and area stakeholders to create an overall vision plan for

the RiverSouth area (the “RiverSouth Master Plan”). An important qualification for the

Development Manager will be the ability to be a valuable participant and concept-contributor to

the final phases of the RiverSouth Master Plan.

Making use of the Development Manager’s Services, CDDC intends to develop buildings

on CDDC’s Land in a manner consistent with the RiverSouth Master Plan. Those buildings will

be constructed in a manner designed to serve as examples, as models, as incentives, and as

guideposts for other compatible development adjacent to CDDC’s Land and throughout the

RiverSouth area. CDDC’s buildings will constitute the beginning of the creation of the planned

RiverSouth residential neighborhood. Any special ability of a prospective Development

Manager to further compatible development of other portions of RiverSouth would be viewed

positively in the Development Manager selection process.

The RiverSouth Master Plan envisions the transformation of the RiverSouth area and

adjacent areas into a vibrant 24-hour mixed-use neighborhood that will accommodate a variety

of retail, entertainment, residential, and institutional uses. The residential development on

CDDC’s Land will be designed to work within the context of this greater vision.

CDDC is itself in a position to bring about some portion of these urban amenities in the

RiverSouth area. As the owner of the Lazarus building, CDDC, with the building’s associated

developer, The Georgetown Company, is renovating that 1,000,000 sq.ft. building to serve as a

northern anchor for RiverSouth, and is converting the section of Town Street adjacent to the

Lazarus building into a pedestrian-activity-oriented urban street. In addition, RiverSouth’s major

park, the Scioto Mile, is presently being designed under contract with CDDC.

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Nationwide Realty lands new gig

First, Arena District; now, it’s RiverSouth

Friday, January 20, 2006

Debbie Gebolys

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The team that built the Arena District yesterday was named to lead a transformation of the southwestern quadrant of Downtown.  Nationwide Realty Investors has been chosen to help redevelop RiverSouth, 23 Downtown blocks that are mostly warehouses and parking lots that also include Columbus City Center mall and the Franklin County Justice Center.  Columbus Downtown Development Corp., the city’s nonprofit development organization, selected Nationwide to develop five blocks that the group owns and to work with other property owners to redevelop the rest.

 

Nationwide Realty didn’t have to go far to supply its credentials.  Since 1999, Nationwide has been converting a pile of rubble that once was the Ohio Penitentiary into the Arena District, an entertainment hub that attracted 2.7 million visitors last year to restaurants, concerts, movies and sporting events.  Larry Fisher, president of the Downtown development group, said Nationwide Realty will be RiverSouth’s project manager for as long as it takes to turn the dis- trict into a lively urban neighborhood of apartments and condominiums, restaurants and shops.

 

Read more at

http://www.dispatch.com/business-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/01/20/20060120-G1-04.html

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Definitely great news, especially that we should be seeing some of what Nationwide has planned before summer. The Dispatch has some nice photos and graphics of the area mentioned in the article:

 

Pc0531000.jpg

Ar0530500.gif

(The 4 clearly visable surface lots in the photo is the site of the new courthouse.)

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I believe the catch phrase on this board is "megaproject".  It's hard to imagine those 23 blocks of mostly surface parking and run down bars converted to a mixed-use neighborhood.  I think they've got the right people for the job, and trust that Nationwide will do as nice a job here as they did in the Arena District.

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Great to see this-- That's a lot of parking!

 

I wonder when more companies are going to start waking up to the trends.  If they don't have offices in or near vibrant, liveable downtown/mixed use areas, then they will have a very hard time attracting young and talented workers.  This is the especially the case when the baby boomers retire en masse and the rest of us have a lot of bargaining power with employers.

 

I think several of the other biggies in Columbus help out by participating on development councils and sponsoring events and attractions around the city, but are there any other companies actively doing things like Nationwide is?  I'm sure being in the insurance industry gives them more of the ability to do things like this(lots of free funds availiable to invest in different areas), but I don't see why other companies couldn't get involved.   

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That aerial photograph reall shows the overabundance of surface parking space in downtown Columbus.  Most of that space used to be occupied by buildings, before they were bulldozed down.  Now.... happily .... something new will occupy the space other than cars.

 

Brewmaster's right about Nationwide Realty: they have done a fantastic job on the Arena District and there is still more coming.  They impressed officials in Pittsburgh sufficiently that they have been asked to design and develop the area around their arena.  Nothing suceeds like success.

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I think several of the other biggies in Columbus help out by participating on development councils and sponsoring events and attractions around the city, but are there any other companies actively doing things like Nationwide is? 

 

Surely not to the same extent that Nationwide is, however other local companies/corporations are actively participating in downtown redevelopment. There is a development board comprised of about a dozen of Columbus' top CEOs, including executives from Limited Brands, The Dispatch, and AEP. Their merits were recently reported in the Dispatch, mostly their success in lobbying money for projects. As far as actual bricks and mortar, Nationwide has definitely done the most development downtown. I'm actually somewhat surprised AEP hasn't done much more as far as development goes, especially since their headquarters are right across the tracks from the Arena District. The only building they've put up in recent memory is a parking garage.

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I'm actually somewhat surprised AEP hasn't done much more as far as development goes, especially since their headquarters are right across the tracks from the Arena District. The only building they've put up in recent memory is a parking garage.

 

AEP actually has offices IN the Arena District too.  They are located on the three floors above BD's Mongolian BBQ.  I also they they fronted money for Nationwide Arena and are part of the "Founders Club".

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Well, this is not great news...but FREAKIN' FANTASTIC NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Well we have great things going on in different parts of downtown:  Brewery District, Whittier Peninsula, RiverSouth, Discovery District, and Arena District.  Having a LRT to connect all of these distant areas would be great (i.e. pipe dream), but I hope that COTA will at least have an effective transportation system for downtown in place (BRT? Downtown Circulation bus route?) once all these development plans come to fruition.

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Don't hold your breath on COTA.  They're a major "fix-it" project in themselves.  But you're right in saying there needs to be effective transit as part of this and other development projects in and around downtown.

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From Business First of Columbus, 7/6/06:

 

 

OSU opening arts center at Lazarus building in '07

Business First of Columbus - 1:24 PM EDT Thursday

 

Ohio State University will expand into downtown Columbus for the first time with its Urban Arts Space gallery and workshop, which is scheduled to open in September 2007 at the venerable Lazarus building.  The Columbus Downtown Development Corp. said Thursday that OSU's College of Arts will occupy more than 10,000 square feet on the ground level of the main building where Federated Department Stores Inc. once operated its Lazarus store. The entrance for the arts center will be on Town Street between Wall and High streets, said CDDC spokeswoman Stephanie Tresso.

 

The Urban Arts Space will include galleries for OSU faculty, visiting artists and students, a performance area and space to conduct workshops and sell art.  Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.  The Columbus Downtown Development Corp. last fall outlined plans to open OSU's arts center in the building. Ohio State will share the site with the Ohio Environmental Protection Department and the state Department of Job and Family Services, which will also fill the building in 2007.

 

Federated Department Stores, the parent of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, shuttered its department store at the South High Street landmark in August 2005, raising community concerns over what would refill the nearly 1 million-square-foot building in the center of the city.

 

Read more at http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2006/07/03/daily18.html?from_rss=1

 

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Second life

New look, uses of old Lazarus building a work in progress

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mike Pramik THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Larry Fisher surveyed the top of the Downtown Lazarus building and donned sunglasses as the hazy, summer sun caught his eye.  The reincarnation of the million-square-foot former department store was being created as construction workers hacked away at the brick behemoth.  Yet several issues remain unresolved concerning the $60 million project that is expected to spark development in the RiverSouth district.  "This is an incredibly complicated job," said Fisher, president of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. "It’s complicated by the fact that the building was built at so many different times, at so many levels, with so many different materials, on sloping land."

 

Construction workers so far have hauled out more than 19 million pounds of debris and have managed to recycle a little more than half of it. They’re currently turning about a quarter of the sprawling structure, built in eight stages beginning in 1908, into office space for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  In January, that department will begin moving in. It will join the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which leased 200,000 square feet of the building in 1998.  Last week, Ohio State University College of the Arts said it plans to lease space near the corner of Town and High streets for galleries and an arts incubator that will involve students, faculty and alumni.

 

Read more at

http://dispatch.com/business-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/07/13/20060713-G1-00.html

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^ The building is looking great from street level.  I walk by there pretty frequently.  I'm glad they're getting some nice press (i.e. free advertising for the remaining office and retail space).  With 1,500 employees in that building alone, it sounds like they should easily be able to support a coffee shop, and a couple of lunch places.

 

It sounds like the service building might need to be torn down and replaced with something new.  It's not that attractive from the exterior, and with all of the internal columns that they are talking about, it doesn't sound like it lends itself to parking or condos.

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^ Things are looking good!

 

The west side of the building...

Columbus082706+052.jpg

 

The south side of the building is looking great!

Columbus082706+054.jpg

 

Columbus082706+055.jpg

 

Columbus082706+056.jpg

 

Is this the service building that might have to be torn down?

Columbus082706+053.jpg

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