February 17th, 2006
Mike Pramik, Columbus Dispatch
Not too long ago, history buffs were stumping for the preservation of the old Ohio Penitentiary.
Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman wasn’t one of them.
The mayor said yesterday that Nationwide Realty Investors’ announcement of a flashy, 20-story condominium tower is further evidence that the Arena District has transformed the former pen site.
“The state penitentiary was a place where people were jailed, where the electric chair was used,” Coleman said. “It was in rubble. It was decaying, and it pulled down the rest of the city.”
Nationwide Realty Investors said yesterday that it plans to spend more than $50 million to build the Condominiums at North Bank Park, a 109-unit residential project that will be across Neil Avenue from where the old pen once stood. The project’s backers think it will add a healthy dash of bling to the district.
“It’s a huge shot in the arm for Downtown,” Coleman said.
In addition to the tower, the project will include rehabilitation of the adjoining Bundy Building at the northwest corner of Spring Street and Neil Avenue.
The tower portion of the complex will be six stories shorter than Miranova, the luxury highrise that opened in 2000 on the southern edge of Downtown.