Bob Bickis: What Does the Future of Downtown Columbus Look Like?

Bob Bickis

Photo by Commons Studio © 2015

Downtown Columbus

Interview by Derek Grosso

There’s no denying that Downtown Columbus has undergone a rebirth in recent years. With nearly a dozen major projects completed in 2017 and more than 30 additional projects currently under construction or near completion – including the $74 million Michael B. Coleman Governmental Center opening this week – overall downtown investments total a whopping $1.3 billion, according to the State of Downtown Columbus 2017 mid-year report. The iconic LeVeque Tower has been re-imagined to include residences, a modern French brasserie and bar, and the Hotel LeVeque. Millennial Tower (which will rise 27 stories) has recently been approved by the Downtown Commission. Dining options have also increased, with recent additions like Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Cosecha Cocina, Fox in the Snow (German Village), and Juniper rooftop lounge joining the local restaurant scene. And there’s plenty more to come!

With all of the buzz surrounding our downtown, we asked a group of Downtown Columbus leaders to answer three questions: “Which project are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?,” “Where do you see (or, where would you like to see) downtown Columbus growing over the next 10-20 years?,” and “What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?”

Name: Bob Bickis Jr.
Company and Job Title: Realtor at Smart Move Realtors and Catalyst at LiveDowntownColumb.US / WorkDowntownColumb.US / PlayDowntownColumb.US
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter

Which project are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
It’s interesting many folks who live in the Short North, German Village, Olde Towne East, Franklinton, etc. don’t consider themselves as downtown, yet most people in the ‘burbs consider all of these surrounding areas – even Grandview, campus, Bexley, and Clintonville – downtown.

It’s a special time right now for downtown proper. It’s like the Short North 10-20 years ago as far as mostly all independent, locally owned restaurant, bars and retail vs. corporate suburbia chains. But what I’m most excited for in the next 1-2 years is THE RETURN OF THE SANTA MARIA! But seriously, that was arguably the coolest event space in town.

All the rooftop bars and restaurants! We won’t recognize downtown proper in 2 years and the walkability will be even more amazing. The “Millennial Tower” is a forward thinking concept I think would raise the bar even farther for downtown architecture. It’s LED sign wrapped around the building would be a very cool addition to the streetscape and skyline and show Cbus as a city boldly charging into the future and embracing the digital era.

Where do you see (or, where would you like to see) downtown Columbus growing over the next 10-20 years?​
Rooftop terraces with landing pads for our flying cars! Smart alternative transportation: light rail, autonomous cars, bikes, hoverboards…walking. I’d also love to see restaurants, bars, and retail along the riverfront somewhere.​ Maybe some boardwalks and definitely more kayaks, paddleboards, “cabrewing,” and generally people out on the water.​

What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
More retail, public art, and people!​


Read what other Downtown Columbus leaders had to say:

Kacey Brankamp, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District

David A. Cofer Jr., Executive Director at PACT (Partners Achieving Community Transformation)

Jennifer Davis, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Greater Columbus Convention Center

J. Averi Frost, Executive Director at Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce

Branden Givand, Owner at Flying Gent Men’s Shop

Brett Kaufman, CEO at Kaufman Development

Jeff Lafever, Co-Founder/Tour Coordinator at Columbus City Adventures

Bob Leighty, Executive Director at Parsons Area Merchants Association

Amy Schmittauer Landino, President at Downtown Residents’ Association of Columbus

Trent Smith, Executive Director at Franklinton Board of Trade

Amy Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Columbus Downtown Development Corporation/Capitol South

Shiloh Todorov, Executive Director at German Village Society



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