City, county releases economic study of the Westside
Last year the city of Columbus and the Franklin County Commissioners hired Robert Charles Lesser Company (RCLCO) to study 2.4 square miles surrounding the Hollywood Casino on Georgesville Road.
The results of that study were released on Jan. 19.
The study reviewed an area bounded by I-270 to the west, Sullivant Avenue to the south, Wilson Road to the east, and Norfolk Southern Railroad to the north - including parts of the city, Prairie and Franklin townships.
For five months RCLCO conducted a market analysis and economic study, which would provide suggested guidelines for the redevelopment of the Westland area and the West Broad Street Corridor.
More than 1,000 neighboring businesses and residents participated in this study through public meetings, interviews and online surveys.
“As the Westside moves into a new era, this study provides an important road map for city, county and private sector cooperation with the community,” said Commissioner Paula Brooks in a press release. “Our focus is on creating jobs to assure our community’s strength and growth here on the Westside.”
RCLCO reports the study area currently supports 3,200 jobs attached to warehousing distribution companies. Penn National will reportedly bring 2,000 local jobs to the neighborhood.
The construction of a restaurant cluster north of the casino, the erection of a hotel and auto retailers could also offer an additional 273 jobs in the next three years. Within 10 years the area could benefit from 333 jobs due to destination retailers and small vendors.
The study found within 10 years the Westland area could garner demand for 250,000 square feet of retail space and service industries, including restaurants, automotive industries, electronic stores and lifestyle oriented businesses. Also possible is the potential for office space and a hotel within the first two years of casino operations.
RCLCO suggests the best approach to retail growth is local service oriented businesses, including specialty food services, clothing stores and car dealerships. Two dealerships in the study area have already begun renovations.
The study found central Ohio is oversaturated with major chain retail companies, causing demand to dilute among modern era malls like Polaris, Easton and Tuttle Crossing.
Commissioner John O’Grady said he is confident investments in the Westland Area will prove beneficial to residents and businesses, and will serve as a catalyst for development.
According to the RCLCO report, the development of the casino, improvements to West Broad Street, redevelopment of Oakbrook Manor Apartments and development of Cooper Park Racetrack and the AP23 Sports Complex gives the Westside an opportunity to capitalize on attracting additional investors.
Many government entities have already invested money in stimulating this potential growth.
Since the announcement of the casino’s development on the Westside, the city committed $5 million to the improvement of Georgesville Road from West Broad Street to Sullivant Avenue, the Ohio Department of Transportation sponsored the redevelopment of West Broad Street west of Wilson Road and a push for the Camp Chase Bike Hub is reported to help cater re-imaging of the area.
“The Westland area has been hit hard in recent years,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “Families and residents really need jobs. Our partnership with the city of Columbus will add thousands of new jobs to the 3,200 that already exist in an effort to bring back vitality and vibrancy to the county’s Westside.”