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: Trent E. Smith
Organization and Job Title: Executive Director at Franklinton Board of Trade
Which projects are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
I am eager to see projects that will allow the Columbus State campus to continue growing. CSCC is such an incredible asset that continues to improve and mature. Expansion could mean partnership learning opportunities for the schools and youth of Franklinton, and that is an incredibly exciting prospect.
Where would you like to see downtown Columbus grow over the next 10-20 years?
The Scioto Peninsula is undergoing such a massive transformation, which will clearly continue for the next decade and beyond. This is very exciting and will keep creating stabilizing and revitalization opportunities for Franklinton. It’s important that we continue to remember, Franklinton is where it all started!
What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
Downtown needs safer and more efficient ways to get people around without cars, it needs more retail and it needs more community gathering spaces. We’ve come a long, long way, but these things should continue to be a focus.
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
• 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
• Amy Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Columbus Downtown Development Corporation/Capitol South
• Shiloh Todorov, Executive Director at German Village Society