Arena District - Columbus Ohio
The Arena District is located just north of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus between W. Spring St. and Convention Center Drive stretching just past Huntington Park in the West to Hickory Street on the east. It covers a lot of the downtown area, Nationwide Arena, dozens of restaurants and parks. This mixed-use plan development is a popular neighborhood of Columbus and was developed through a partnership between Nationwide Realty Investors, LTD, private investors and the city of Columbus.
The Arena District is constantly evolving and even though it's currently about 75 acres, the boundaries and borders continue to expand for additional commercial and residential development. The district is named because of the Nationwide Arena located at the north end of this neighborhood.
Arena District History
The Arena District is located on the former site of the southern portion of the Olentangy industrial cluster and Ohio penitentiary. Developing just after 1900, many industrial and commercial businesses were booming in this area up until about 1925. The adjacent neighborhood of Flytown caused a decline in this neighborhood as more people are moving farther out of the downtown area. It was once known as a "no man's land of factories, warehouses, and railroads." The Ohio penitentiary operated from 1834 to 1984 but was demolished in 1997. A historical marker is located at the north end of McPherson Commons Park which is one of several sites created from the former grounds.
Around the 1990s the entire area was practically abandoned but the city of Columbus started envisioning a redevelopment opportunity. Because the land was owned by the city of Columbus, many firms and investors vyed for redevelopment plans and in 1996, proposals were reviewed and the City Council approved the redevelopment proposal from Nationwide Realty investors and sold the 23 acres of land for over $11 million. Working with the Columbus Dispatch Printing Company along with private investors and the city of Columbus, NRI, along with others began the redevelopment project and the Nationwide Arena, residential areas and more commercial buildings were constructed and renovated. By 2013, the last phase of the Arena District started to be completed in 2014, which includes the new headquarters for Columbia Gas of Ohio.
The Arena was completed in 2000 and is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey Team and seats over 20,000 attendees. Nearby is the Lifestyles Community Pavilion, home to many concert venues and seats 2,200 inside and 4,500 outside in the backyard amphitheater.
Arena District Recreation
There are two major parks in the Arena District, Huntington Park and McPherson Commons Park, also known as Arch Park. Huntington Park was completed in 2009 and is the home to the Columbus Clippers baseball team. McPherson Park is over 2 acres and was developed by Nationwide Insurance after the demolition of the penitentiary. There are also two plazas located in the Arena District, the Batelle and Nationwide Arena Plaza. Batelle is an open-air plaza located on the east side and the hub for many events including pregame festivals. It provides a walkway for restaurants and bars and serves as a common meeting point for those attending events at the arena. The Nationwide Arena Plaza is an open-air plasma located on the west side and sits across from McPherson Commons Park.
The Arena District has a few residential condominium buildings such as the condominiums of North Bank Park, the Burnham Square condominiums, the Flats on Vine and (II), and the Arena Crossing apartments. There are numerous shops, restaurants, bars and grills throughout the arena district so makes a great meeting location, a fun downtown hangout, and of course a sports venue.