Columbus Revives North Market Tower Plan, Shorter And More Expensive | WOSU Radio

Columbus Revives North Market Tower Plan, Shorter And More Expensive

Jul 11, 2019

A previously-shelved plan to build a tower in the North Market parking lot is back, with some significant revisions. At 28 stories tall, developers’ second draft of the building will be seven fewer than the original, and about $75 million more expensive.

The additional cost comes in part from new square footage devoted to office space, a boutique hotel and restaurants. North Market itself would grow by about 50%, adding roughly 11,000 square feet to its footprint.

The new highrise will also include 150 residential units. A fifth of them will have to meet affordability requirements for people making 80-100% of area median income. 

In a press release, Mayor Andrew Ginther touted the deal as a way to create construction and long-term jobs in the area.

"The partnership between public and private entities also helps with the regions need for housing Columbus residents can afford," Ginther said, "as well as hotel space for visitors, ensuring the site remains vital to the continued growth of the city.”

North Market executive director Rick Wolfe stressed the need for the market to change with the times.

"This project will provide financial stability, expand merchant space, and provide more space for the public to engage with the market and our merchants,” Wolfe said.

The Franklin County Auditor values the Short North block, where the market sits, at more than $4.5 million. It’s currently exempt from property taxes because it’s owned by the city. The North Market has a long-term lease with the city for its space.

North Market's portion of the block will remain publicly owned, but the deal would transfer the current parking lot to the development group. The specific terms of that transfer will come in a subsequent agreement before groundbreaking.

But according to the Columbus Development Department, the city "will transfer the land to the [North Market] Development Team at no cost, because we want all of the public benefit of the deal to go to the North Market."

The property sits inside a community reinvestment area, which means the project could be eligible for tax incentives. The plan to set aside a fifth of the building's units for people making 80-100% area median income corresponds closely with the affordability requirements laid out in a new tax abatement policy approved last year.

Construction is slated to begin next year and finish in 2022.