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Columbus: Downtown: Franklin County Government Center Projects

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4 minutes ago, jonoh81 said:

 

There's also a mini park going in with the PNC building conversion.  I'm much more concerned with them putting some mixed-use elements along the street.  This should not be like the Coleman center, creating a dead zone because there is nothing but an entrance.  Government buildings in Columbus are almost universally horribly designed when it comes to adding to the streetscape.

 

They do that nationwide for security purposes.  Post 9/11 the Celebrezze Federal Building on E 9th in Cleveland had concrete construction barriers up to the side walk for years until they retrofitted it.

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2 minutes ago, wpcc88 said:

 

They do that nationwide for security purposes.  Post 9/11 the Celebrezze Federal Building on E 9th in Cleveland had concrete construction barriers up to the side walk for years until they retrofitted it.

 

Not sure that makes much sense.  If someone was going to attack one of these buildings, they could certainly do it regardless of what was on the first floor.  The 2011 building and the Coleman building have no barriers if say, someone wanted to drive into them with a car bomb or walk in with an arsenal.  What would change if there was a restaurant or shop?  And the problem goes back much further than 9/11.  They've always been designed that way.  

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4 minutes ago, jonoh81 said:

 

Not sure that makes much sense.  If someone was going to attack one of these buildings, they could certainly do it regardless of what was on the first floor.  The 2011 building and the Coleman building have no barriers if say, someone wanted to drive into them with a car bomb or walk in with an arsenal.  What would change if there was a restaurant or shop?  And the problem goes back much further than 9/11.  They've always been designed that way.  

 

Coleman isn't a courthouse and if it stems back before 9/11 then look at OKC.  No government building will ever have street interaction or a restaurant, simple as that.

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Is it that governments look at public buildings and don't want to be landlords? Pedestrian presence should definently be a priority but to what extent and what form is difficult to gauge. The other thing you run into is the fine line between functional and extravagant use of tax payer funds. I would not anticipate any new government building to more than functional. The hope would be that they avoid blank walls like the Coleman center which I agree is definitely poor planning. 

Edited by DTCL11

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How would a government agency even go about leasing out space? Anytime they undertake a project they issue an RFP and select the applicant who can sufficiently accomplish the project for the best possible price. This is done with the thought that it will eliminate preferential treatment and kick backs and all that good stuff that still manages to happen anyway. How would they do something similar with retail space though? Award the space to whatever entity offers them the highest monthly rent? That makes no sense.

 

I get where people are coming from that want retail space included in these projects, but it's simply not appropriate. 

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8 minutes ago, wpcc88 said:

 

Coleman isn't a courthouse and if it stems back before 9/11 then look at OKC.  No government building will ever have street interaction or a restaurant, simple as that.

 

It's a government building.  Still not sure how retail space would make it more dangerous.

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12 minutes ago, DTCL11 said:

Is it that governments look at public buildings and don't want to be landlords? Pedestrian presence should definently be a priority but to what extent and what form is difficult to gauge. The other thing you run into is the fine line between functional and extravagant use of tax payer funds. I would not anticipate any new government building to more than functional. The hope would be that they avoid blank walls like the Coleman center which I agree is definitely poor planning. 

 

I think such concepts of government buildings are really outdated.  Regardless of having retail space on the ground floor, you're still talking about money being spent on maintenance.  If all we cared about was functional, all government buildings would just be blank boxes with zero architectural style, but that's not the case.  Having office, retail or restaurant space on ground floors could at least provide some subsidy instead of taxpayers.  

Edited by jonoh81

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9 minutes ago, cbussoccer said:

How would a government agency even go about leasing out space? Anytime they undertake a project they issue an RFP and select the applicant who can sufficiently accomplish the project for the best possible price. This is done with the thought that it will eliminate preferential treatment and kick backs and all that good stuff that still manages to happen anyway. How would they do something similar with retail space though? Award the space to whatever entity offers them the highest monthly rent? That makes no sense.

 

I get where people are coming from that want retail space included in these projects, but it's simply not appropriate. 

 

I think you answered your own question. Government issues contracts for projects all the time.  Why couldn't they contract a company to manage office or retail space?  Is there not a single government building anywhere that doesn't have office or retail space?  How are those managed?

Edited by jonoh81

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2 hours ago, aderwent said:

Columbus is now 52nd (2019). But, have you ever looked at ParkScore's map for Columbus? Zero Ohio State parks are included. The Oval, South Oval, Lincoln Tower Park, Chadwick Arboretum, The Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, Fred Beekman Park, and the Bloch Cancer Survivors Plaza are not included. This would add not only acreage, but ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. Even looking at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park it's not mapped properly. Only half the acreage is mapped, and it's missing the dog park and obstacle course. Walnut Woods Metro Park isn't even close to being mapped properly. It's missing probably over 1,000 acres and at least a playground and dog park. My guess is the cities more highly rated have much better rates of accurate mapping. I agree Columbus should be doing better with urban parks, but ParkScore should be taken with a large grain of salt.

 

Do you think their data may be outdated? Walnut Woods and Scioto Audubon are fairly new or at least have newer acerage and features.

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3 minutes ago, jonoh81 said:

 

I think you answered your own question. Government issues contracts for projects all the time.  Why couldn't they contract a company to manage office or retail space?  Is there not a single government building anywhere that doesn't have office or retail space?  How are those managed?

 

They contract for projects that are necessary for the purpose of their department. Ground floor retail is totally irrelevant to the courthouse being able to accomplish what they are meant to accomplish. 

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5 hours ago, cbussoccer said:

 

They contract for projects that are necessary for the purpose of their department. Ground floor retail is totally irrelevant to the courthouse being able to accomplish what they are meant to accomplish. 

 

Who said it had to exist as a necessity of its overall function?  We complain about buildings of all types being built with crappy designs that don't encourage a better streetscape, so why should government buildings be exempt from that?  I don't really buy the safety argument, and I don't think it would be some inevitable financial loss to taxpayers.  If having retail/office space in buildings was such a financial burden, there wouldn't be a single developer adding it anywhere Downtown.

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On 1/23/2020 at 11:55 AM, DTCL11 said:

I am curious about one part of the article indicating dorian commons was the location of the old courthouse. Was the demolition of the old courthouse another unfortunate byproduct of the overzealous demolition mindsets of the 1970s with a lack of foresight into the benefits of historical structures?

 

Here's some of photos of the courthouse from oldest to right around when it was demolished. As you can see, they really let the place fall apart over the years 😞 The first photo is particularly heart breaking ....

 

courthouse-og.jpg

courthouse1.jpg

courthouse3.jpg

courthouse2.jpg

 

Edited by futureman
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What's a bit fascinating to me is the attempt at saving the facade with an all new structure on the interior? That would explain an earlier comment about all the interior historical integrity being stripped as well. What an absolute shame. 

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That's infuriating. And chances are there won't be any attempt to make it a [forgive me] 'decent looking' parking lot with trees and islands and streetscaping etc. I wish the city could deny this from happening. 

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24 minutes ago, DTCL11 said:

That's infuriating. And chances are there won't be any attempt to make it a [forgive me] 'decent looking' parking lot with trees and islands and streetscaping etc. I wish the city could deny this from happening. 

I'm against adding surface parking by all means, I feel it is a step in the wrong direction from what downtown has been trying to achieve, however I'm going to attempt to see this from a different perspective and play devils advocate.  The only thing I can think of is, yes they may need more parking, and given what is to come in the coming years, perhaps they are anticipating using their land and portions of this parking as the staging/equipment area for the future building that will be going up across the street where the fenced off park is?  Again, not defending it, but just trying to wrap my head around what logic/planning they may have in mind.

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1 hour ago, Gnoraa said:

 Again, not defending it, but just trying to wrap my head around what logic/planning they may have in mind.

 

That's alot of benefit of the doubt. I can sell them a gravel lot for staging for half that. Save the county money, make a bunch of money. Win win for me 😂

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What is the story of "Franklin Commons?" 

 

I've always seen it as a vacant lot, not a park/greenspace.

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I wonder if that lot goes before the downtown commission? If so, it might be worth a bit of an opposition campaign. At least to push them toward a landscaped lot or reconfigure a pocket park along mound. As the main entry to the campus for many people, it seems like a perfect place for a pocket park with signage, etc to hide the llot. The Justice Park on broad would be a decent inspiration. You could even keep the park and use it for an entrance into a future government building on the lot some day.

 

I agree it has appeared as a vacant lot for a long time. It, to me, isnt so much about lamenting the loss of an underutilized green space, just that it's going to be a freaking surface lot. 

 

 It seems that in the 2012ish area the county branded it as franklin commons for events and a community garden. More like a hobby project as a way to maintain a vacant lot IMO and never actually reaching any true potential (likely for a reason).

 

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37 minutes ago, ink said:

What is the story of "Franklin Commons?" 

 

I've always seen it as a vacant lot, not a park/greenspace.

 

It is vacant lot for the most part honestly.

Overall seems like some Franklin County employees may use it for a team garden but mostly it's underutilized green space in an awkward location. I don't think a parking lot is a best use at all, however I don't necessarily see it as a cause worth organizing over. The "park" has little to no landscaping, lighting, or frequent use that I have ever seen. Personally I am open to the parking lot with contingencies of hardscaping, a potion reserved for the community garden, and actual lighting that isn't just a wood utility pole with some utilitarian AEP light arm in one corner. My guesS is this pad will ultimately be developed but right now is just part of a reshuffling, I am more focused on finding a way to push NRI to redevelop the surface lot it created on Marconi. 

Edited by DevolsDance
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I saw this photo posted today on the historic photos of Columbus Facebook group. You can see a portion of the doomed old courthouse behind the "new" county jail.

 

Here's the caption they posted "I-70 under construction looking east from the old Whittier St bridge. The old Mound St. bridge is at the right and the new bridge for the West Freeway is at the left. A small section of the doomed old court house can be seen behind the instantly drab new county jail. Photo dated Feb. 6, 1974. CML"


i70-construction.thumb.jpg.0e42326a9ad2b39b386b22c74461f318.jpg

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Although the interstate system did a lot of damage to the urban core of Columbus (and many other cities), it would have been cool to be around while they were under construction. The amount of construction in Columbus during the 50s and 60s - both infrastructure and housing - must have been pretty impressive. 

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1 hour ago, cbussoccer said:

Although the interstate system did a lot of damage to the urban core of Columbus (and many other cities), it would have been cool to be around while they were under construction. The amount of construction in Columbus during the 50s and 60s - both infrastructure and housing - must have been pretty impressive. 

 

Its how my family escaped Appalachian poverty. They were never like the ones depicted in the media of the day but by no means well off. My great grandfather a was the head of the state road district and primarily a farmer.

 

My grandfather and his brother were able to secure a job building a dam in southern WV, which turned into them building 70 from Columbus to Washington, PA. This lead to various other projects throughout the country for several years for my great uncle, my grandfather passed in the late 70’s after he’d divorced my grandmother.

 

My dad remembers living through the move from the hills to the sprawling metropolis that was Columbus in the early 60’s and then eventually onto eastern Ohio as the project progressed. 

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