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 dozen 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: Amy Taylor
Organization and Job Title: Chief Operating Officer at Columbus Downtown Development Corporation/Capitol South
Which project are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
I’m very excited about The National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which will open later this year. As the daughter of a veteran, it’s been both a privilege and an honor to work on this project. The goal is to provide a place where our 22 million veterans can call home… a place where their stories will be told in an interactive, yet reverent way.
Where do you see (or, where would you like to see) downtown Columbus growing over the next 10-20 years?
I think the Scioto Peninsula is a big game-changer. Already a destination for cultural amenities like COSI, I think it’s the right time to add the mixed-use component, so people can live, work and play in the same neighborhood. It’s a unique location, serving as the gateway for both Franklinton and the core of Downtown.
What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
1. We’ve come a long way since the days when downtown rolled up the carpet at 5 p.m. but it’s important to continue offering a diverse array of amenities for residents and visitors alike.
2. Given Ohio State has 60,000 students and 40,000 staff and faculty, I think we need to continue to create connections (both literal and figurative) between the University and Downtown. Opening up the waterway connection, with the completion of the Scioto Greenways, was a good start but I think there are more opportunities to further link the two together.
3. We have so much going on in various nodes or districts throughout Downtown. It’s vital that we continue to figure out ways to connect these pockets for people who aren’t as familiar with Downtown. We need to make it easy for them to plan date night or bring the kids down. Let them know how close the Scioto Mile is to Columbus Commons. Encourage them to spend a day at COSI and the Columbus Museum of Art.
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
• 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
• Shiloh Todorov, Executive Director at German Village Society