If you build it they will come? They are here…time to build!

Union Station Arch Columbus Ohio

Union Station Arch in the Arena District

With an influx of residents in the greater Columbus area efforts to revitalize downtown Columbus have had some success, though like most major American cities, some architectural heritage was lost in the process. In the 1970s, landmarks such as Union Station and the Neil House Hotel were razed to construct high-rise offices and retail space—some which, City Center Columbus, have since been razed to create green space in downtown. The National City Bank building was constructed in 1977, as well as the Nationwide Plazas and other towers that sprouted during this period. The construction of the Greater Columbus Convention Center has brought major conventions and trade shows to the city—and discussions to expand the convention center are well underway.

Since taking office in 2000, Mayor Michael Coleman has worked hard to bring life and energy to Columbus where he is “building the best city in the nation to live, work and raise a family…” Something has happened in recent days and the world is taking notice of Columbus, Ohio.

They Mayor’s website states: “Under Mayor Coleman’s leadership, the City of Columbus has been recently recognized by Forbes as the best city in the country for working mothers, by American City Business Journals for having the 7th best economy in the nation, by NewGeography.com and the Milken Institute as the best big city in the Midwest for job growth, and by Fox News, Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the top 10 cities in the nation for college graduates. Columbus has also recently been recognized as one of the 10 best large cites and one of the 10 most affordable metro areas by RelocateAmerica. It was recognized as the nation’s 8th best place to live by CNN and Money magazine, which also declared Columbus as the nation’s safest big city. Underwriters Laboratories, a respected independent product safety certification organization, ranked Columbus second in its 2010 Safest Cities for Families with Young Children. In addition, Columbus continues to earn top rankings for its stable housing market, affordability, and as a top city for African-Americans, young professionals, and members of the GLBT community.”

While San Francisco has been lauded, for many years, in a number of the areas where Columbus is just beginning to be recognized the two cities seem to have had key things going for them during critical times of change: mayors with vision, citizen loyalty and steadfast determination. While Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom ushered in years of change and progress in the San Francisco area, a rather progressive region, Michael Coleman worked to usher in that same change and push progress in a market traditionally seen as politically and fiscally conservative—patience pays off.

So, these days while “land locked” San Francisco continues to build up, Columbus finds itself trying to fill in to the space it already has. No need to build up too high Columbus, add a few buildings here and there, maintain your green space (parks like San Francisco are truly ideal) and maybe add one or two buildings to add dramatic impact to the current skyline.

{Come back soon for more in the series of a tale of two cities…}