January 20th, 2006
Debbie Gebolys, Columbus Dispatch
The team that built the Arena District yesterday was named to lead a transformation of the southwestern quadrant of Downtown.
Nationwide Realty Investors has been chosen to help redevelop RiverSouth, 23 Downtown blocks that are mostly warehouses and parking lots that also include Columbus City Center mall and the Franklin County Justice Center. Columbus Downtown Development Corp., the city’s nonprofit development organization, selected Nationwide to develop five blocks that the group owns and to work with other property owners to redevelop the rest.
Nationwide Realty didn’t have to go far to supply its credentials. Since 1999, Nationwide has been converting a pile of rubble that once was the Ohio Penitentiary into the Arena District, an entertainment hub that attracted 2.7 million visitors last year to restaurants, concerts, movies and sporting events.
Larry Fisher, president of the Downtown development group, said Nationwide Realty will be RiverSouth’s project manager for as long as it takes to turn the district into a lively urban neighborhood of apartments and condominiums, restaurants and shops.
“We are really excited about being part of creating another exciting neighborhood in Downtown Columbus,” said Brian Ellis, Nationwide Realty president. “We expect it to be a long-term commitment.”
Before summer, Nationwide Realty is expected to design its first project, “to set a standard, to show the way, so to speak,” Fisher said.