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: Shiloh Todorov
Organization and Job Title: Executive Director at German Village Society
Which projects are you most excited to see coming to downtown Columbus in the next 1-2 years?
All of the cranes on the horizon, the investment in housing and bike lanes and entertainment – everything happening to bring back downtown’s vibrancy is a huge boon for all of Columbus and directly for German Village. Our neighborhood got cut off from downtown 60 years ago when the interstate system demolished one-third of our neighborhood, so reconnecting is key. The most direct planning that reconnects us is a cap-ready Third Street bridge replacement, and the city’s plan to make Livingston two-way again. New green spaces, bike lanes and parking will not just reconnect German Village to downtown, but bring retail, restaurants and services that make a true pedestrian lifestyle a reality.
Where do you see downtown Columbus growing over the next 10-20 years?
South! There’s so much attention along South High, starting at the Commons and running all the way through to Route 104. More of that, please! Add that to Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s investments along Livingston and the longtime anchor of community created in German Village – we’re excited to be part of a growing South Side.
What are 3 things that downtown Columbus needs right now?
The thing German Village Society is focused on is how to prepare for what’s next – not just in downtown, but as Columbus overall adds 1 million people (according to MORPC). We are beginning to explore how we stay hip and historic, while welcoming a new generation of caretakers of our legacy. We’re creating a nation-leading preservation plan to help us think about renewable energy, and a post-car world. At the same time, we’ve convened a Vision Task Force to imagine German Village 30 years from now and to consider how we transform what it means to be relevant in our 233 acres.
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
• Trent Smith, Executive Director at Franklinton Board of Trade