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New Arena offers peek into the future

December 5th, 1999
Michael Arace, The Columbus Dispatch

Nationwide’s chief overseer say the Blue Jackets’ brick-and-glass palace will be a hit and a good fit downtown.

Brian Ellis has a title as heavy as a bank vault. He is president and chief executive officer of Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd., the developmental subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance. Say that five times fast.

If Ellis’ title has 179 syllables, his job description does not. He takes the gobs of money that the actuarials generate, invests in low-risk building projects and makes those gobs grow. It’s not exactly a laugh- riot. Indeed, there must be times when funding an exurban supermall or developing an office park is about as gratifying as the public side of the insurance business—which is, of course, gambling on death with short odds and house money.

But this is not one of those times.

No, no, no, it is not.

Not by an actuarial long shot. These are heady days for Ellis, 37, a Columbus native.

At this early stage of his life and professional career, he may be reaching his zenith of importance, both to his hometown and his company.

He is overseeing the construction of Nationwide Arena, future home of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, and the 95-acre district that will surround the building.


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