Arena District is Top Destination Choice in Ohio’s Capital City

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By: Dave McKee, Senior Vice President with the Columbus office, Jones Lang LaSalle 

Nationwide_ArenaThe impact of a local landmark goes beyond exterior benefits. This post is the fifth in a series that highlights landmarks, news or trends across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well as the corresponding impact on local real estate, with takeaways that can be applied in neighboring geographies.

What was once a state Penitentiary located in the heart of Ohio is now home to the vibrant Arena District. Thanks to Nationwide Realty Investors, the $750 million development of the Arena District has transformed Columbus culture. Boasting more than 1.5 million square feet of real estate, the Arena District attracts a young, energetic workforce and nightlife into the city.

In 2008, The New York Times deemed the Arena District, one of the Midwest’s most successful urban redevelopment projects.” In 2008, only about 3% of office space remained vacant, also according to The New York Times. The District has consistently retained occupancy rates between 93% and 97% and continues to do so today.

Many travel to the Arena District to take part in local attractions, including Columbus Blue Jackets games at Nationwide Arena, Clippers baseball at Huntington Park and live music at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. Let’s take a closer look at these popular sites.

The Main Attraction: CRE Venues Attract Thousands, Generate Billions

Nationwide Arena

The arena sparked a transformational period in Columbus. In fact, developer Nationwide Realty Investors said, “It anchors the Arena District.”

Nationwide Arena officially became the home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 8, 2000. The arena spans 800,000 square feet, and the space can accommodate 18,500 hockey fans during a single game. The venue also hosts a variety of entertainment events, including concerts and basketball games. In 2009, the John Glenn Institute of Public Affairs released a study, which found:

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nationwide Arena have had an economic impact of more than $2 billion since their debuts in 2000.” 

The city continues to invest in its showcase venue. After 13 years of operation, Columbus Arena Management set a new project in motion in June to replace 18,000 seats in the arena. Total cost is estimated at $837,865, according to Columbus Business First. Phase I, which kicked off in June, is forecasted to be complete before the season begins.

Huntington Park

Construction at Huntington Park followed build of Nationwide Arena, officially opening for play in 2009. The ballpark is home to the Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Shortly after opening, Huntington Park was dubbed “Ballpark of the Year,” by

A big hit with local baseball fanatics, the 3-tiered park spans 200,000 square feet, and seats approximately 10,000 fans. Check out the full 2013 schedule to visit the park. 

Lifestyle Communities Pavilion

Aside from the sports scene, the Arena District is well known for its entertainment venues. With more than 20 restaurants and bars, the Arena District estimates 2.75 million people visit the area each year. It’s the place to be for weekend entertainment and nightlife. The neighboring community, know as the Short North, complements the area with a robust art scene and well-known eateries.

Aside from hospitality, the Arena District is also home to the city’s most popular music setting—Lifestyles Communities Pavilion. The LC Pavilion opened for business in 1996, and is, “consistently voted Columbus’ top live music venue,” according to Lifestyle Communities. It also made Columbus Business First’s Top 10 “Most Popular Attractions” in 2012.

Visit the website for a list of upcoming shows and ticket giveaways.

What’s Next?

The Arena District continues to bring new business and new traditions to the Buckeye state. In recent activity, Experience Columbus, a non-profit and notable city representative, moved to the Arena District in hopes of increased visibility. JLL helped Experience Columbus secure space on Nationwide Boulevard, where they can better serve out-of-town visitors and local tourism. Check out our full case study for details.

In other CRE news, Columbia Gas is in the midst of construction on its new headquarters in the Arena District. Nationwide Realty Investors forecasted the development—spanning 286,000 square feet—to cost $50 million.  The final product will include a 286,000 square feet facility, most of which will be leased by Columbia Gas.

The Arena District has been truly impactful in regards to local culture, as well as local economic advancement. The aforementioned study found:

“Arena District businesses generated $6.13 billion in sales revenue and $1.46 billion in payroll from 2000 through 2006.”

The Arena District is an economic engine for Columbus that boasts busy sidewalks, crowded venues and thriving businesses, and has become a model commercial real estate development for mixed-use spaces.

Feel free to reach out to me for more information on the Columbus CRE landscape at

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About the Author 

Dave-MckeeDave McKee is a Senior Vice President with JLL’s Columbus office. He specializes in tenant representation for local and national tenants in both the industrial and office sectors.View Dave’s bio or connect with Dave on LinkedIn for more information. 

Image credit via Marada, Flickr Creative Commons