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: Brett Kaufman
Company and Job Title: CEO at Kaufman Development
Which projects are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
Currently we have 3 projects in various stages of development, Gravity Project in Franklinton, 80 on the Commons and 33 (formerly known as IBEW) in the Short North. Each of these should be great additions to their immediate downtown neighborhoods in their own distinct way.
Where would you like to see downtown Columbus grow over the next 10-20 years?
I’d like to see our city continue to grow with eclectic, high design and thoughtful development. The more we can continue to push for quality over quantity the better we will be in the long run. The focus on diverse, creative and quality design/development will set Columbus apart.
What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
Jobs, jobs, jobs! Columbus 2020 has done a remarkable job adding jobs to the City since its inception. Groups like Drive Capital and the other VC activity emerging is an amazing engine behind our growth. We must continue to support the job growth in a big way.
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
• J. Averi Frost, Executive Director at Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce
• Branden Givand, Owner at Flying Gent Men’s Shop
• 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