Even as the Covid-19 recession chills construction in Central Ohio, developers of the largest projects say they’re committed.
Central Ohio’s pre-pandemic development boom, driven by population growth, featured a surge in mid-rise buildings of five to 12 stories in downtown and the environment around it, including 250 S. High St., 80 on the Commons, a new addition to the Park’s Edge Condos and the LC RiverSouth complex.
But Columbus lags cities of similar size in high-rise construction, including flat destinations like Indianapolis or Kansas City, as well as those with contained urban cores like Pittsburgh or Austin. Planners generally attribute this to the complexity of high-rise building and the economics of growing out versus up.
A handful of high-rise projects proposed in recent years could change that fact. As a group, they represent the first skyline-altering additions to the city in a decade, since the completion of the 20-story Condominiums at North Bank Park project.
As developers of projects around town take stock of the pandemic’s impact on their business, the teams behind some of the biggest developments proposed in recent years are dealing with a flattened economy and an uncertain future. But they’re not giving up.
For instance, the 26-story, $192 million tower planned for the parking lot next to the North Market – a long-awaited project slated to include offices, residences, market space, a parking garage and a hotel in 600,000 square feet of development – is still moving forward, with its development team even meeting this month.
“I’d say the pandemic has delayed things slightly, but certainly that’s no surprise,” said Rick Harrison Wolfe, the North Market’s executive director.