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Columbus: RiverSouth Developments and News

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I love the look of cobblestone streets and what they do to calm vehicular traffic, but they aren't great for bicyclists.

 

Do they damage bikes? Or do they just calm bicycular traffic too? ;)

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I love the look of cobblestone streets and what they do to calm vehicular traffic, but they aren't great for bicyclists.

 

Do they damage bikes? Or do they just calm bicycular traffic too? ;)

 

I can imagine that cobble stone streets are not good for bikers no matter what speed they are going.  Most bikes I know don't come with shocks.

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Construction Continues On Downtown Apartments, Condos

By Denise Yost, Managing Editor, nbc4i.com

Published: January 7, 2009

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Central Ohioans have seen a steady decline in housing prices over the past two years.  But that isn’t deterring the developer of the River South Condominium and rental project in downtown Columbus from progressing, NBC 4‘s Patrick Preston reported.  The continuing construction of the $25 million, 206-unit project is a good sign in a bad economy.  The buildings are scheduled to open in the summer of 2009, with 130 rental units and 76 condos for sale, starting at $125,000.  They are located on 2.8 acres along South Front Street between West Town and Rich streets.

 

“I suspect we’re going to see some tough times, but we’ll see it through,“ said Mike Deascentis, CEO of Lifestyle Communities.  Deascentis said the company never considered delaying the project or dropping prices because of its niche as a lower-priced option for young professionals and first-time home buyers.  “With the amount of interest we’ve had, we feel fairly confident in the project even in times like today,“ he said.

 

Downtown realtors said that in time, the influx of younger residents could help more expensive developments find buyers including Nationwide Realty’s condominiums at North Bank Park.  The high-end glass tower with views of the downtown skyline to the east and the new Huntington Park to the north isn’t competing with projects such as River South, which is priced low enough to avoid a common hurdle facing other downtown projects.  “The greatest concerns shoppers have is the ability to sell their homes in the suburbs,“ said Tina Guegold, Marketing Director of Nationwide Realty.

 

Link with Video Included: http://www.nbc4i.com/cmh/news/local/article/construction_continues_on_downtown_apartments_condos/11558/#When:22:21:35Z

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Wonderful new RiverSouth Construction Panorama from Paul Bonneville at the ColumbusRetroMetro website (link below)...

 

http://columbusretrometro.typepad.com/columbus_retrometro/2009/01/riversouth-construction-panorama.html

 

From ColumbusRetro Metro: "Here's the latest panorama release showing the progress in RiverSouth.  You can see the new parking garage and the Lifestyle Communities apartments and condos that are under construction.  You can also see a lot of sewer infrastructure lying around, ready to go into the upgrades on S. Front St. that will eventually turn it into a two-way street."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wonderful new RiverSouth Construction Panorama from Paul Bonneville at the ColumbusRetroMetro website (link below)...

 

http://columbusretrometro.typepad.com/columbus_retrometro/2009/01/riversouth-construction-panorama.html

 

From ColumbusRetro Metro: "Here's the latest panorama release showing the progress in RiverSouth.  You can see the new parking garage and the Lifestyle Communities apartments and condos that are under construction.  You can also see a lot of sewer infrastructure lying around, ready to go into the upgrades on S. Front St. that will eventually turn it into a two-way street."

 

Oh wow - It's like you're actually standing there! Make sure to view it fullscreen

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^Yeah, that paranoma is pretty slick.  The area looks like a rough construction site right now.  In 3 to 6 months it should look much better when everything greens up and when the buildings start to get their exterior finishes.

 

Also, there's a new website solely dedicated to the RiverSouth area:  http://www.riversouthcolumbus.com/

 

 

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Very sleek website, but I think there's too much of a focus on "big" projects to make the area lively. A multi-million dollar bridge and a multi-million dollar courthouse are not going to bring investments or lively streets. It's good to see that the city is also making sure to include lots of residential and traffic calming for pedestrian-friendly streets on Front (north-south) and Town (east-west) which actually will do much more for improving the area than the former. With the traffic calming and conversion you have the entire district covered for people and cyclists while not banning cars which is more attractive for urban development.

 

Now if the city would just connect this with Gay St. by extending the two-way conversion just one block north, this would be the second bridging of two distant parts of Downtown with ped/bike friendly streets, the first being  Gay St./Broad & High with CCAD out in the eastern reaches of Downtown.

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Construction Zone: RiverSouth renaissance under way

Monday,  February 9, 2009 - 5:18 AM

By Mike Pramik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Columbus City Center's demolition is expected to provide a shot in the arm for RiverSouth, but the improvements in the Downtown district already are well under way.  Just a couple blocks west of the ill-fated mall, construction is progressing on a city parking garage, and a residential project is on schedule to open in the summer. 

 

"It's an establishment that the Downtown is a neighborhood," said Columbus City Council President Michael C. Mentel.  "It's a new community.  We as citizens of Columbus are at an opportune moment to start viewing Downtown not as our parents or grandparents viewed Downtown, but as a community."

 

Read more at

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2009/02/09/ZONE0209.ART_ART_02-09-09_C10_MBCQFD1.html?sid=101

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Here's a photo of the condominiums under construction west of Front Street from the above Dispatch story...

 

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Lifestyle Communities is building 134 apartments on a parcel east of Front Street and 76 condominiums on the west side of Front Street.  Below is a link to the project at the Lifestyle website and a rendering of the condo project.

 

The Annex

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Included among the 149 Ohio projects selected by the State of Ohio for federal stimulus dollars was the one-way to two-way conversion of Front Street in the RiverSouth neighborhood.  From the article linked below...

 

Stimulus roadwork selected: 149 Ohio projects

 

"Work should begin in three to six months on nearly a dozen transportation projects in Central Ohio that made the cut yesterday for federal economic-stimulus funding.  Gov. Strickland announced the list of 149 road, bridge and other transportation projects statewide being funded all or in part with $774 million in stimulus spending to help jump-start the economy."

 

"Franklin: City of Columbus, Front Street conversion, $5.5 million.  Convert Front Street to two-way traffic.  Includes new sidewalks and street-lighting, upgraded traffic signals, resurfacing and repair of aging utilities."

 

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Did a tour today. The frontage is up on some so it gives you an idea of the  completed product. So, compared to the renderings I think it looks better.

 

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This will be another couple blocks of apartments/condos like those pictured.

 

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In the city's great wisdom the closest place being built within walking distance across the street is...a parking garage; with no retail.  But I must not know what the hell I'm talking about when I say that's just a bad idea. *brief rant* Even today according to the latest issue of Columbus Alive ,"Kacey Campbell, promotions coordinator for the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District" says "People tell me parking lots and meters Downtown are hard to find and too expensive." and these parking garages (there's one more on the way) will not change that. There are already an abundance of parking lots and garages taking up half of Downtown and all this will do is give in to motorists' expectation of easy parking right next to their destination. They'll still end up having to park a block or so away and walk and lo and behold they'll still complain about parking Downtown. Parking for residents, on the other hand,  is fine and should be hidden.

 

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Love the huge curb bumpouts. The extra bumpy, asymmetrical bricks, not so much.

 

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So what do you guys think? I like.

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Nice photos!

 

I'm liking the development more every day. And while I'm bummed that the parking garage has no ground floor retail, the Lazarus Building right on the other side of these new residential units will, not to mention a variety of other retail opportunities within a two-block radius. It won't be hard for people living in these units to find places to eat, get coffee, view art (at the awesome OSU Urban Arts Space) or do some light grocery shopping at the CVS around the corner. Perhaps the influx of new residents might be enough to start getting some hours extended at these places as well.

 

I'm also a fan of the wide swath of greenspace along the north side of Town Street, although I'm worried it might end up being used as a dumping grounds for dogs. Better make sure there are some dog baggie receptacles out there. ;)

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Columbus definitely needs to find a way to get more people downtown so hopefully this project helps. I was there all of last week and couldn't believe how dead downtown was. Short North was a different story though. Is it always like that?

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Short North rages on the first Saturday of the month (Gallery Hop) and generally does well when the weather is nice and spirits are high, however it can be pretty dead on a weekday which is a result of the area's heavy skew towards dining and galleries and away from a milk-and-eggs office/service/commercial mix. Housing costs also dictate a 9-5 reality for residents, too.

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Columbus definitely needs to find a way to get more people downtown so hopefully this project helps. I was there all of last week and couldn't believe how dead downtown was. Short North was a different story though. Is it always like that?

I'll add to what the Kingfish said.  I've tended to think of the Downtown and the Short North as the ying and yang of urban density in Columbus. 

 

Downtown has traditionally been the CBD and is still primarily offices, whether government or private.  Downtown Columbus is also very spread out.  Artificially so, because of interstate freeways that separate Downtown from surrounding neighborhoods.  Its a bit over one mile from the Franklin County government complex at the downtown's southern edge on High Street to the Convention Center at the downtown's northern edge.  Its also around one mile east-to-west from the Scioto River to I-71.  Plus the grid street arrangement allows for development sites to be spread around this large area.  Plus the demolitions from previous decades have left many parking lots that sapp the pedestrian street-level vitality in this spread out downtown area.  So even with the considerable amount of recent development and activity in the downtown, it still feels too sparsely populated.  Less so during weekdays, but very noticable after hours and on weekends.

 

Short North's commercial development is concentrated on High Street, with two large neighborhoods on either side (Victorian Village and Italian Village).  Instead of pedestrian activity being spread out in all directions, like in Downtown, the activity gets concentrated on High Street.  Then the pedestrian activity goes north to OSU or south to downtown.  But it's still concentrated, so it looks and feels busy almost all the time.  As Kingfish points out, the activity tops out after hours and on certain weekends because restaurants/bars/galleries dominate the Short North tenant mix.

 

Now downtown does have some pockets of after hours vitality, like the "restaurant row" of Gay Street from High to Third, and the Arena District on certain event nights.  More residential projects like RiverSouth and the Gay Street condos (thread here) will definitely help get more people downtown after working hours and on weekends.  But since the Gay Street condos are still in their initial phase and RiverSouth is still under construction, they are probably a year away from helping.  But it is getting better downtown.  Although, downtown will never appear as active as the Short North.

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Thanks for the updated photos Columbusite.  I really do like those Front Street townhouses.  The further along they get, the more I like them.  And I agree that the townhouses in reality are looking better than the renderings.  Very nicely done!

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^How about some heavy grocery shopping. If ever there were a Trader Joe's sweetspot demographic, this development would provide it. Some independent grocers would be nice, of course. But that's asking a lot. Or is it...

 

The Brewery District Kroger is a half-mile 10-minute walk south of here.

 

I agree that a Trader Joe's would be nice. I even photoshopped their logo on the Lazarus building <a href="http://www.columbusunderground.com/top-10-chains-we-wouldnt-mind-seeing-downtown">here</a>. I do think it has potential somewhere in the middle of downtown, but there's got to be a little bit more of a critical mass before it's going to be economically feasible for them to open up. And like it or not, they're going to want to have some sort of parking available.

 

The Lazarus building is going to have retail? Well, that balances out the garage.

 

You haven't seen the construction to the ground-floor of the Lazarus building going on along High Street? They're working on it pretty quickly! Originally I heard that they'd be <a href="http://www.columbusunderground.com/lazarus-building-storefronts-ready-by-spring-2009">ready by Spring 2009</a>, but that leaves them only one more month until we're officially into summer. I've heard from a fairly reliable source that Tim Horton's has been scouting one of the new spaces. I'd imagine that if they reopen a downtown location it will be one of their new Tim Horton's/Coldstone Creamery combo stores.

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I saw the parking garage being built shortly after I moved back here from out state. I was also suprised then sdisgusted to see no retail being integrated in the ground level or office space but I know there are planty of empty buildings downtown that could provide such space.  I agree with most on here a garage is better than a drab surface lot.

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^How about some heavy grocery shopping. If ever there were a Trader Joe's sweetspot demographic, this development would provide it. Some independent grocers would be nice, of course. But that's asking a lot. Or is it...

 

The Brewery District Kroger is a half-mile 10-minute walk south of here.

 

I've seen Trader Joes in retrofit buildings. I wonder how hard it would be to engineer one into the ground floor of a parking garage...

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Came across some YouTube videos of the RiverSouth residential projects.  Apparently they were made by an employee of Lifestyle Communities, the company building the condos and apartments.  His YouTube page is at http://www.youtube.com/user/cashby.  And here's one of the videos.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWzwzWQeglk

 

This led to finding some additional photos posted at his home page.  He had access to inside the construction fencing and took some photos from the condo's fourth floor rooftop terrace.  Here's a sampling of those photos:

 

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First, a view of the Annex Condos in the background and the apartment building under construction in the foreground taken from Town Street looking toward Front Street.  The fourth floor rooftop terrace in the Annex Condos is where the following photos were taken.  The rooftop terrace is at the greenish facade just above the three story brick facade.

 

 

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North on Front Street taken from a condo rooftop terrace at The Annex on April 27, 2009.

 

 

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The Lazarus Building taken from a condo rooftop terrace at The Annex on April 27, 2009.

 

 

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The Annex Apartments foundation taken from a condo rooftop terrace at The Annex on April 27, 2009.

 

 

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The Annex Apartments foundation taken from a condo rooftop terrace at The Annex on April 27, 2009.

 

 

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The new city parking garage taken from a condo rooftop terrace at The Annex on April 27, 2009.

 

 

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The Annex condos on Front Street taken from the corner of Front and Rich on May 1, 2009.

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The Front & Rich Parking Garage construction must be moving along well.  Photo and caption from today's Columbus Dispatch...

 

Lighting the way again

Merril Sisco, in front, and David Hager, wearing orange, attach an old Lazarus parking garage sign to a new 770-space garage built on the site of one of the landmark department store’s old garages at Rich and Front streets Downtown.  The new garage replaces parking spaces in the RiverSouth area that were taken up by new projects, including the Lifestyle Communities apartments in the background.

Pc0130400.jpg

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Like the sign, but we should be phasing out the high number of parking for cars. Simultaneously, increase bike and scooter parking. Problem solved.

 

Having a few large quantity parking garages, with spots for alternative transportation modes, is a crucial part of growing downtown. 

 

Replacing surface lots with a few midrise parking garages is a good idea.  Everyone will not switch to alternative transportation modes tomorrow.  Many live miles from downtown and there needs to be large scale parking garages to fulfill the demand for parking.

 

These garages help densify the urban core by freeing up surface lots. 

 

The proper way to add these garages would be with ground floor retail, the city did not do this step right.

 

Second, underground parking would be even better as it conceals the garages and allows for development on top of the garage.

 

Last, the city is properly spacing the garages.  While parking can be densified and grouped into parking garages, they should still be spaced so that citizens do not expect their destination to be outside their car. For downtown to be successful a combination of mass transit, evenly spaced garages, and parking spaces for bikes and scooters is needed. 

 

PS what bozo designed this sign?  I like the original Lazraus name on it, but shouldn't the words "public parking" be incorporated.  Suburbanites and visitors usually need those words or they are affraid they are intruding on a corporate garage with high parking rates, possible towing, etc..

 

This is why the Arena District garages added "public parking" to their exterior to let people know that the garages are not for nationwide employee parking only.

 

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I like the sign, and while ground floor retail in the garage would have been more <i>optimal</i>, I can't shed too many tears on the fact that we're getting a rebuilt functional garage (it had been closed and gated up for years) and replacing SEVERAL BLOCKS of flat lots next door with residential development.

 

As far as the bike/scooter parking that Columbusite is whining about... there are ongoing projects that address both issues. Plenty of bike & scooter parking with more of both on the way.

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No one is whining except you over someone who wasn't whining in the first place. I simply stated that bike and scooter parking needs to be increased while automobile parking is reduced. The high number should at the very least be capped, since there's already tons of parking for such vehicles.

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Maybe you weren't whining (this one time) but you were asking for something that is already happening as if you're 100% unaware of what is going on sometimes. It's tiring to read.

 

Riversouth Transit Checklist:

 

Less Auto Parking = CHECK

More Bike Parking = CHECK

More Scooter Parking = CHECK

 

I know you'd love to see all auto parking 100% done away with and all highways demolished, but few share your extremist view, and sometimes you have to step down out of the clouds and live in reality. Otherwise, you're going to go through life complaining about EVERYTHING and you're far too young to already be a cranky old man.

 

;)

 

Enjoy life. Things are good in this city. Take a breath. Stop complaining for a minute.

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I simply advocate for integration of various modes of transportation, and that simply means giving those modes an equal playing field with cars. If that's extremist, then I guess I'm an extremist.

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Don't get me wrong... I'm all about providing a level playing field to multiple forms of transportation. I just think this area in particular is progressing nicely already with making dedicated space for bikes and scooters.

 

 

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