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: J. Averi Frost
Organization and Job Title: Executive Director at Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce
Which project are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
I’m excited to see what happens around the North Market. The tower is going to change the landscape of High Street.
Where do you see (or, where would you like to see) downtown Columbus growing over the next 10-20 years?
I would like to see more space available for our up and coming entrepreneurs and restaurateurs that can take advantage of our test market status and show off their innovative models and cuisines.
What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
First and foremost we need “affordable” commercial units that our homegrown businesses can take advantage of. Downtown also needs more entertainment/leisure to keep people around after work and on the weekends! It’s come a long way in the past decade, but there could be so much more.
Read what other Downtown Columbus leaders had to say:
• Bob Bickis, Realtor at Smart Move Realtors and Catalyst at LiveDowntownColumb.US / WorkDowntownColumb.US / PlayDowntownColumb.US
• Kacey Brankamp, Program Director, Downtown CPass at Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District
• David Cofer, Executive Director at PACT (Partners Achieving Community Transformation)
• Jennifer Davis, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Greater Columbus Convention Center
• 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