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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

Set your sights on new rooftop bar + restaurant, opening next month

614now

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Short North's newest place to eat, stay, and play will open tomorrow. The 13-story, $50 million, 167-room Canopy by Hilton will hold its grand opening on July 30 at 77 E. Nationwide Blvd, featuring two dining options and a rooftop lounge.

Central Market House restaurant on the ground floor will act as the hotel's main food provider with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will feature a flexitarian (semi-vegetarian) menu of local and healthy options.

A dedicated elevator will take guests to Goodale Station, which offers stunning views of Downtown Columbus, the Short North, and Goodale Park. Goodale Station will feature a Southern-inspired menu for dinner and small plates along with craft cocktails open each day at 4:00 PM.

The Central Market House is named after Central Market which served as the central economic center of Columbus from 1850 until 1966, while Goodale Station pays tribute to Dr. Lincoln Goodale, one of Columbus’ founding fathers.

Other features of the Canopy hotel include:

  • Three deluxe and flexible meeting spaces offering a total of 1,850 square feet of space
  • Transfer Lounge with lockers and private showers for guests who arrive early
  • The Retreat, for guests seeking a quiet space
  • Complimentary Canopy Bikes which guests can use to explore the Short North
  • Rooftop state of the art fitness center

The Columbus location is one of only six other Canopy hotel in the United States.

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Biz + Dev

Don’t look back in anger at this Olde Towne East bakery closure

Mike Thomas

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They say there are five stages of grief, but don't mind us if we skip straight to "anger" with the news of this latest loss.

According to a post on Instagram, Angry Baker's original location in Olde Towne East has closed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0bh1HTAutI/

This news follows the closure of the King Ave location of Angry Baker in 2018. Affiliated locations in Upper Arlington and on North High Street will carry on under the name Happy Little Treats, a new all-vegan concept.

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Biz + Dev

Site of abandoned Cooper Stadium could become next booming neighborhood

Mike Thomas

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The Columbus Clippers played their final game in Cooper Stadium way back in 2008. Since then, the storied ballpark has fallen to disrepair, becoming a popular site for urban explorers and ruin porn enthusiasts.

Plans for a multi-million-dollar project on the site that would have included an 8,500-seat racetrack and an automotive research center were announced years ago, but never came to fruition.

Now, the owners of the Coop have announced another redevelopment plan, which would bring offices, apartments, mixed-use commercial space, and creative work spaces to the decaying plot.

The site plan, which was submitted to the city by Arshot Development Corp., outlines the construction of 500 apartments, along with possible space for restaurants.

The next phase of the proposed project will take place at an area commission hearing on the rezoning application for the site, which has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 21. 614NOW will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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