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Op-ed: Is Columbus worthy of Amazon’s new HQ?

Mark Elliott

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Thursday, Amazon announced the 20 finalist cities for their soon-to-be epic second headquarters. This half a million square foot piece of office real estate should produce around 50,000 six-figure jobs and $5 billion in economic benefits wherever it lands up. And out of the 238 cities across North America, Mexico, and Canada that swiped right when Amazon starting trolling for proposals, we made the short list (even though it was a surprise to both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times). 

(And yes, Austin is on the list too. Will #SaveTheCrew folks start shouting at Alexa?) 

Does Columbus really have a chance to land the new Amazon headquarters?  

Pros

  • They know the area (Amazon already employees 6,000 in Columbus between two warehouses, three data centers, and multiple Whole Foods locations) 
  • Reports show that Central Ohio is a leader in attracting and keeping talented tech folks (Amazon’s number one requirement). That $100k average salary can buy a lot more house here than in Chicago.  
  • Events like the NCAA Women’s Final Four is starting to show people nationally that Columbus thinks big. 

Cons 

  • First and foremost, Amazon is looking to move east to be a bigger lobbying influence on the feds. You can see that with three of the twenty finalists within a Thor hammer throw of the Capitol. 
  • If mass transit is as important to Amazon as many pundits think, C-Max probably won’t fill that need.  
  • Did we offer them anything more than OSU vs Michigan tix?  Governor Kasich insists that we won’t “buy deals” with tax incentives. Many other locations are willing to pony up for incentives so this could be a real wild card in the decision. 

Some unanswered questions

  • In releasing a “finalist” list, is Amazon trying to create some unfriendly competition to get a sweeter deal? Kasich’s reluctance to deal might not sit well. 
  • Boston is on the list. Boston is also where Amazon is already in talks to obtain about 500,000 square feet of office space. Is the decision already made? 

Bottom Line

Columbus has as a good chance as any of the medium size cities on the final list. But don’t be shocked if Boston or one of the DC area spots lands this (is there 500,000 square feet of office space open on K Street?). And most importantly, anywhere but Austin! 

Columbus Native (Lincoln Village) I've spent my entire career in radio with stations across the South and Midwest. But I'm tired of moving around the country (my last employer wanted me in Albuquerque!) So I returned to CBus to be closer to friends and family and am freelancing now, including writing for (and about) 614. Reds, Bengals, Crew fan, and fan of whoever is playing the Cardinals and the Steelers.

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1 popular restaurant, 1 secret bar planned for Bridge Park concept

614now

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Two separate hospitality companies are to expand to Bridge Park; one you may recognize, one you may not.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants will be opening a second Pearl location in the western portion of the Dublin development, reports Columbus Business First. The original Pearl is located at 86 N High St.

In the lower level of the restaurant will be No Soliciting, a members-only bourbon bar. The flagship No Soliciting bar is located at 119 E Chestnut St, Columbus. This bar comes to us from Rise Brands, the company behind 16-Bit Bar + Arcade and Pins Mechanical Co.

The Pearl at Bridge Park will be two stories and offer a view of the Scioto River from its patio. Similar to the Short North location, their menu will revolve around seafood. This will be CMR’s third venture at Bridge Park with Cap City Diner and The Avenue Steak Tavern already operating.

Rise Brands already has a presence at Bridge Park, also. The company opened Pins Mechanical Co. on the east side of the development in 2017, and 16-Bit followed last year. Rise Brands is planning to add a yet-to-be-named quick-service restaurant there, too.

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The original No Soliciting opened in 2017. Membership applications are accepted online and must be approved by No Soliciting’s founding members. Members can then access the bar by ringing up the old rotary phone at 119 E Chestnut St.

At the Bridge Park location, members will enter via a private entrance. Plans call for an outdoor patio/grotto area, more square footage than the downtown location, and a room where sporting events will be shown.

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Updates on Dublin’s North Market project

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Construction has just begun on Block D of Dublin’s Bridge Park development which is to include a second North Market concept.

Crawford Hoying design director Russ Hunter told Dublin News in :90 that we can expect Dublin’s North Market to open in spring 2020.

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Hunter says guests will recognize some places from the original North market at 59 Spruce St, but promises there will be some new names, too. It will be located on the ground floor of the Block D parking garage on Longshore Street between Tuller Ridge and John Shields Parkway.

Block D will also feature all the other amenities we’ve come to expect from multi-use projects like this: retail, offices, restaurants, apartments.

To learn more about what’s going on at Bridge Park, click here.

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Confirmed: Google surfing into central Ohio

Kelsey Lawrence

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed big plans today that involve the city of Columbus. As part of a $13 billion expansion of the company, Pichai confirmed with Columbus Business First that a data center in New Albany will open this year. This has been speculated for months now.

Back in October, a Google affiliate called Montauk Innovations LLC acquired more than 440 acres of land north of Morse Road and west of Beech Road in New Albany for a potential $600 million data center—about a mile from where Facebook’s $750 million data center is being built.

The data center is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs during the construction and once it opens.

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The City of New Albany is jazzed about the news, posted on Facebook how excited they are for the new addition to the New Albany International Business Park.

“You are going to love being a part of our technology cluster, and the $750,000 in new annual revenues the city will receive beginning in 2021 is equivalent to a $37.5 million payroll,” they wrote. Our community will also love the fact that our two school partners will share more than $1 million annually in new revenues once construction is complete. Thank you!

Welcome to #NewAlbanyOhio, Google! We are excited about your investment in the New Albany International Business Park,…

Posted by New Albany, Ohio Government on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Thirteen other states are also part of the expansion plans.

Read more about the Google expansion in a blog post written by Sundar Pichai himself.

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