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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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Biz + Dev

Landmark Trolley Barn rolls forward, fresh food market planned

Regina Fox

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After six decades of being a piece of Columbus' history, a blighted landmark will get a second chance.

On Monday, Columbus City Council approved a $30 million rejuvenation to the Kelton Avenue Streetcar Barn and Machine Shop at 1600 Oak St on the Near East Side.

When complete, the Trolley Barn mixed-use complex will house a fresh food market, small business co-working and flex office space, restaurants, and community and education space, all while retaining the original character of the historic building, according to a release.

Of the 19 food stalls in the fresh food market, one will be provided to Columbus City Schools Culinary School students.  

Earlier this year, the state introduced a new financing tool called Downtown Redevelopment Districts (DRD) with the goal of helping local municipalities attract investments that preserve historic buildings and encourage economic development in commercial, mixed-use and residential areas.

On the Trolley Barn site, a DRD will be created where the developer will pay 100 percent of the property tax revenue due on the site. The funds generated will support the Columbus City School District, levy agencies, as well as subsidize the operation of the onsite food market, according to a release.

“Using the Downtown Redevelopment District as a strategic investment tool to redevelop the Trolley Barn will increase food access for the neighborhood, improve the neighborhood health indicators and support small and minority business growth,” said Interim Development Director Michael Stevens.

In the early 1900s, the Kelton Avenue Street Car Barn and Machine Shops served as an electric trolley station. Train service extended to the Zanesville region, connecting residents to jobs, housing and shopping.

"We are excited about the restoration of a historic property that will serve as an asset to the Near East community," said Council member Emmanuel V. Remy. "The rich history of the property will be retained and reimagined, and I couldn't be more pleased to be part of this story."

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Biz + Dev

Forbes highlights “revolutionary” Columbus-based app

Regina Fox

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A new app out of Columbus, Ohio is getting the Forbes treatment for its "revolutionary" ability to help people with cognitive disabilities use public transportation.

Wayfinder is a new app sponsored by the Mobility Assistance for People with Cognitive Disabilities (MAPCD) study in collaboration with Ohio State University, Smart Columbus, and COTA.

According to Ohio State University, Wayfinder allows the user to interact with customized, step-by-step instructions for walking, driving, or bus routes created to support their ability to commute within their normal daily life contexts.

According to Mayor Ginther, "the goal of the app is to get participants from point A to point B safely using the bus, making it easier to independently travel to the grocery store or get to work on time."

Wayfinder is currently in its trial mode with 25 participants with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers. After a year, the app will become available for anyone in need.

To read the full Forbes write-up, click here.

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Biz + Dev

Proposed Brewery District development could change skyline

614now Staff

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The Brewery district could be the site of a massive new construction project according to a report from ABC6.

During a meeting of The Brewery District Commission this week, North Carolina builder Zimmer Development Company and architectural firm NBBJ proposed a 30-story building complex to be developed on a 17-acre plot of land on West Whittier Street. The land is situated near Scioto Audubon Metro Park on the Whittier Peninsula.

According to the plan outlined by the developers, construction of the project would be broken up into three phases to be completed over 10-15 years. When complete, the complex would include over 370 apartments, 79-thousand square feet of office space, retail and restaurant space, outdoor patios, and a nearly 600-car garage.

Aside from the construction process itself, the proposed project will need to overcome a few hurdles in order to move forward. The proposed site of the building is currently owned by the company CSX, and also happens to reside on a flood plain.

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