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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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Biz + Dev

German Village property owner looking to bring new restaurant to the area

614now Staff

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A property owner in German Village hopes to fill a vacant storefront in the next few weeks. What do you think should go in the space at 277 E Livingston Ave.?

Edward Mershad told This Week News he is updating the structure of the property with hopes a restaurant will move in and open by early summer.

The building was formerly occupied by the Happy Dragon. It was to become a Philco Diner + Bar by restaurateurs Randy and Tina Corbin, who also own Club 185, but plans fell through.

For more information, visit This Week News.

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Biz + Dev

Two popular restaurants announced for New Albany development

614now Staff

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Two tasty vendors were just announced for a new development in New Albany. Market & Main is pleased to welcome Katzinger’s Delicatessen and Harvest X Three Tigers to its unique mix of offerings.

Katzinger’s Delicatessen will be located in the Market & Main 2 development on Main Street between Johnson’s Ice Cream and the Heit Center.

Harvest X Three Tigers is a unique collaboration between Harvest owner Chris Crader and Three Tigers Brewing Co. partners Lonnie Hill, Rick Moller and Scott Wilkins. It will be located on 1.5-acres at the former New Albany Mill site at the corner of Main Street and Dublin-Granville Road, which will maintain its historical character in homage to New Albany’s heritage and rural history, according to a release.

Katzinger’s seating capacity is expected to be around 60 and Harvest X Three Tigers will hold even more in approximately 8,000 square feet of interior space as well as an outdoor bier garten area, according to a release.

New Albany’s Market & Main area in the heart of town now has 220,000 square feet of commercial space. Tenants there include corporate office users like Wallick and UBS, as well as independent operators like Truluck, Elliott Cooper, PetPeople, Whit’s, and Fox in the Snow.

“We’ve partnered with companies who provide tailored products and services that our residents want,” said New Albany Company President Bill Ebbing. “These tenants know that New Albany is a place where they can succeed, especially between our 11,000 residents and the more than 15,000 employees who work in the New Albany International Business Park.”

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Biz + Dev

New batch of stores, restaurants announced for New Albany development

614now Staff

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Hamilton Quarter, the hot new development at Hamilton and Dublin-Granville roads in New Albany, will be welcoming several new stores and restaurants.

Aqua Tots, Nail Boutique, Great Clips, Clean Juice, Shred 415, Sprint, and City Barbeque are all expected to open this month, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

And in April, GLAMhouse and Beerhead Bar & Eatery, and Chili’s restaurant are planning to open their doors.

Hamilton Quarter's anchor stores include Target, Hobby Lobby, and Five Below.

The 40-acre retail center is part of a larger development, which will include a 500,000-square-foot Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center facility.

For more information, click here.

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