Tim Fulton  00:08

Welcome to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. We are a weekly Columbus centric podcast focusing on the civics, lifestyle, entertainment, and people of our city. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. This week, with spring upon us in the capital city. We are all about change. There’s a vibrancy in the air and that’s apparent in our latest round up of the biggest stories on Columbus underground. Today, co founder and editor Walker Evans sat down to discuss everything from Liz Lester’s influential legacy, to the latest murmurs about when we’ll get passenger rail. There are also plenty of renderings to peruse. You can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast.com. Enjoy the interview. Sitting down here with Walker Evans, the co founder and editor in chief of Columbus underground Walker, how are you sir?

Walker Evans  01:06

I am excellent. How are you? I’m good.

Tim Fulton  01:07

We are here to do another quarterly wrap up basically of things that have been in the news things Pete folks may have missed. Yeah. You have furnished a list for us. Yeah, we always appreciate it. First of all, how are things going comedy festivals coming along? Yeah,

Walker Evans  01:25

yeah, we have a whole bunch of events this year. We’re doing a 5k We’re hosting a 5k this summer. Oh,

Tim Fulton  01:32

I okay. Yeah,

Walker Evans  01:33

we have our urban living tour coming up in a couple of weeks. The Coffee Festival is relocating and getting bigger. So lots of events stuff, you know, lots of things in the news to write about. So it feels like a very, I don’t know, there’s some like palpable energy. Maybe it’s just because the weather finally turned nice. Maybe as people are walking around. Downtown feels like the heart is beating again after a cold winter so that

Tim Fulton  01:55

well I do think that like sort of the the drumbeat we’ve been pushing of like, hey, things are gonna have to change if we’re gonna be a viable city like we may, you know, the link is bond issue. Sorry, it’s not a bond issue, the link issue, the new zoning changes that they’re hoping to push through. Yeah, the Associated Press around that. But the stories we’re talking about today, first up, the title, the Liz Lesnar restaurant era has officially come to an end. Yeah, this

Walker Evans  02:32

is an article that like last fall, I started to think about because Tip Top had just changed hands the fall, so

Tim Fulton  02:40

let’s step back. Oh, sure. For those that don’t know, okay, who is Liz let what was it like in Columbus in 2008?

Walker Evans  02:47

Well, kids gather around listen to some old men tell you a tale. So yeah, Elizabeth Lesnar opened a restaurant called Betty’s and the short north and 2001. Okay, very long time ago. It in the spot where Braska is now just for context. And it was, you know, the short notice is very different neighborhood, you know, a lot of weeknights, it got kind of dark and quiet and sleepy and a little a little weird to walk around by yourself at night. And Liz wanted to have a space that was women focused welcoming to that kind of late night crowd good people place to have sort of a bit of a safe haven. And you know, she was doing food in an era, you know, because you have to think like this before fast casual. Yeah, before Chipotle. Yeah. So it was either like fast food or fine dining, you know, there wasn’t a whole lot of like middle ground unless you felt like going to like Don Pablos or something, you know,

Tim Fulton  03:40

there was an independent of that version. Yeah,

Walker Evans  03:43

yeah. So So I think Liz wanted to carve out a niche to like, where people could get some unique specials and drink specials. And this was before you know, every bar had, you know, 20 craft beers on tap. This before we had 100 craft breweries in the region. So it was kind of a hip cool spot, and it was successful. And she opened up eight restaurants and total all all different concepts. Dirty Franks is the only one to have a second location. But you know, one by one day clothes relocated, you know, Liz kind of set in the story if you read the full story that she wanted to really just do it for 20 years and kind of be done. She said retire by 40 was her goal and I think she was done at like 41. So but the final two sort of like hangers on were Tip Top downtown, which is still there, it’s still going but her brother Tim was kind of still running the show. And the two of them sold it to the folks that run the arch city tavern. So it has new ownership and then the torpedo room at the Gateway Film Center, which was a concept she developed for the gateway just switched over to like a new speakeasy model so it’s not open to the general public anymore. Okay, it’s a members only thing for gateway film, Senator members. Okay. So like these are the last two. This is kind of you know, she sold dirty Frank’s long time ago. Still going but it’s been under New ownership for probably 10 years now. So I reached out to Liz and said, Hey, would you want to sit down and reminisce, you know, would you want to do a zoom call? Because she lives in Texas now? Yeah. And she was like, I’m going to be in town for Thanksgiving, you would just get together in person. So we sat down for two hours and just talked about every single place. And it took me a while to get the story done. But it was crazy. Well read. Yeah, that’s why it’s number one on the list, because it was super well read. And the really nice thing too, Liz said that. Like, I didn’t tell her the day that it was publishing, like, just like went up that day. And then later that afternoon, she said she was on like, a work zoom call. And she had her phone in the other room, and she could hear it like buzzing on the table. Like every 15 seconds like busy. Yeah. And our first thought was like, Oh, my God who died, right? Like something wrong. Something happened. Yeah. And then she went, looked and she just had all these people reaching out to her like, Oh, hey, we haven’t talked in a while, like old friends reconnecting. Yeah. People sharing like their favorite recipes. Like I really love this one dish. And yeah,

Tim Fulton  05:53

so until his his credit, I was just at patent Gracies the other day, and I actually hadn’t needed eaten at the downtown one. And the server was like, Hey, Tim, I remember you from certainly girl play, like those institutions, like had some staying power in terms of how people thought about. Yeah, the one thing that I don’t know if you talked about it, is the one thing that was interesting to me about her and her business model is each restaurant had a different business partner. Yes, this was not a, like, we think of some restaurant groups in town who it’s like, you know, one owner, one owner, and then like five concepts, right? Yeah. I mean, Cameron Mitchell is a gargantuan example of that.

Walker Evans  06:40

And she credited him with a lot of like mentorship and things of that nature. Yeah.

Tim Fulton  06:45

I just always thought it was interesting that she did it that way. Yeah, exactly. And

Walker Evans  06:50

I think some of that was just sort of the bootstrapping, like, you know, trying to get friends and family together and rub a couple nickels together and open a restaurant. And I mean, they were like, thrifting, the chandeliers you know, that would go into places like surly girl, so it was very DIY aesthetic. So I think that was just kind of spawned out of that. Yeah, came about well,

Tim Fulton  07:08

and much credit to her for sort of helping the burgeoning restaurant scene in Columbus like yeah, that’s feat. Sure.

Walker Evans  07:15

And I think even to this day, like you can feel the like ramification of maybe that’s the wrong word, but like, the the Snark and the, like, the cheeky attitude that were prevalent in all of our places. Yeah, I mean, that is there in spades in places like Mikey’s and Oddfellows. And I mean, Old Town tavern feels a lot like tip top and absolutely start to like, look at some similarities. And so I think all those inspirations kind of live on in different ways. Absolutely. Yeah. It was a very good like, feel good piece. Yeah. When I when I put it on social media, we’re like, are people just gonna be like, ah, Columbus sucks because all of her restaurants closed. And people were like, oh, no, I liked you know, these places. And this was a fun kind of walk down memory lane. Yeah,

Tim Fulton  07:58

yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s great. Next up on the list, Columbus included in two new proposed long distance Amtrak routes.

Walker Evans  08:06

Yeah, surprise, surprise, people love reading about trains. But this kind of came out of left field because there’s been so much discussion for you know, over a decade now, but three C corridor. So, Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, three C plus D, three C plus D. And then the other corridor that we have, you know, put in, you know, the funding and the studies and all that sort of stuff. Because of the Hyperloop was Chicago to Columbus to Pittsburgh, these other sort of larger proposals, the long distance proposals were part of a larger sort of network of planning, you know, the federal government is digging into, and some of those were like New Orleans, kind of sneaking all the way up and hitting Columbus and going up to like Toronto, and, you know, going across to New York. So it kind of like came out of left field to a degree and people are like, oh, you know, if we, if we can build one route, great. If we can build like the all four or five of these, all of a sudden Columbus is like a hub, and we’ve got a lot, you know, to be able to access. Yeah, people are really excited to read about that.

Tim Fulton  09:07

Is there sort of a, at least from Columbus, and I realized that this is a lot of state issue. Just a general plan, like once we don’t have passenger rail at all right? And is there a hey, there’s gonna be a new Union Station Hey, there’s which was the original train station we had, which is where the convention center is now. Like, is there a plan for where this we can even figure out where to put a bus station? Yeah,

Walker Evans  09:35

apparently the the plan right now that the city and like MORP C and some of the other leaders in this have put together is in kind of a very similar spot. So by the convention center, so basically, you know, where you pull in at the convention center where the new Hilton Hotel is, and there’s that little loop. Yeah, there’s like a hole there and you can like look down into the hole and see the train tracks down below. Yeah, it would be capping over part of that, and that would be sort of the ground or the street level entrance. And so you would go downstairs to like a boarding platform? Because that’s where the tracks are.

Tim Fulton  10:05

Right? Yeah. And so, okay. Yeah. So

Walker Evans  10:07

that would be the downtown station. They’re talking about the route from Chicago to Columbus to Pittsburgh, maybe having like an airport location. Okay. Yeah. So then there might also be like an Airport station, so there wouldn’t

Tim Fulton  10:21

be. I’m glad I asked like, there wouldn’t be like one central Columbus station, but

Walker Evans  10:27

the downtown would be like the main, the main one. But

Tim Fulton  10:31

don’t be you take a tram or something to transfer to the airport. But also

Walker Evans  10:34

Dublin is like, you know, if this is passing through here, you know, on the way to Chicago, like, we want to stop in Dublin. Why wouldn’t? Again,

Tim Fulton  10:43

you’re gonna have it? Yeah,

Walker Evans  10:44

yeah. But but it also kind of is exciting, because then it, you know, allows us to think about like, well, if these tracks and these stations are here, you know, for long distance travel through Amtrak? Could we also have like a shorter run commuter service that runs on those rails as well, that’s just like a dub and Columbus back and forth Express or anything. You do have to, you know, I’m not like, super well versed in this stuff. But you have to have the right like rolling stock to do that, right. So it couldn’t be like a light rail line, because it’s just different track widths, and array and distances and all that sort of stuff. So it has to be something more like the Music City Star in Nashville, which is like it’s a heavy, like it’s a refurbished heavy rollingstock train. Okay, but it’s a suburban commuter train. Got it? Yeah. But it’s not technically light rail or, like a tram. Right.

Tim Fulton  11:33

Well, that’s part of the infrastructure issue, too. Right. Like, because we don’t currently have commuter rail, there is going to need to be some rail improvements. Yeah, the stuff that you know, Cole rides on is not the stuff that people ride on. It can be but it has to be multi multimodal?

Walker Evans  11:49

Yeah, well, and some of it too, is about smoothing out some of the curves. Like, you know, coal probably never goes more than like 50 miles an hour on a lot of these tracks. And if we want high speed rail to go 100 or hotter, your speed, higher speed rail, then there are places where like, this can’t be a 20 degree turn over a quarter mile, it needs to be a 15 degree turn. So yeah, okay. There’s those improvements to

Tim Fulton  12:14

up next on our list. A lot of transit, by the way. Yeah. Two mile bike and pedestrian loop plan for downtown. Yes, the capital line, the capital. So the context here that I don’t think we have talked about, at least on the podcast is the redoing of Gay Street. Right, right. So first of all, talk about the the bike and pedestrian loop and how that factors into what they’re planning for Gay Street.

Walker Evans  12:40

Yeah, so the whole loop, it sounds something a little similar to the cultural trail and in Indianapolis, but I think they’re taking a lot more design cues from European cities, okay. So really, it would be about defining certain streets to be a lot more pedestrian and bike centric, even just, you know, in terms of like paint on the ground, like solid, you know, lines and areas like this is for bikes versus having just sheroes and a car lane. And defining a loop and connecting all of these different amenities that we have downtown and Amy Taylor, formerly of CDC, which is no longer sitting now at CDI. So color, or DC, I’m sorry, downtown Columbus Inc. Ami has talked a lot recently about how they realize that they’ve done a great job of building assets from Columbus Commons to the Scioto mile to the peninsula, but not the best job and connecting these assets. And so this is something that is supposed to help drive people from point A to point B, you know, all along this trail, phase one, and also to spur development. You know, the St. Louis in Columbus Commons is like we’re gonna build the six acre park and hoped, you know, private development fills in around it. And that Hatcher did, yeah. So this is another sort of shot in the arm. And so there’s a lot of hemming and hawing like, Oh, it’s $100 million sort of investment. And it’s like, but it will pay dividends, it will drive billions in new private sector development all around this trail. Phase one would be kind of updating Gay Street, okay. You know, narrowing the street pedestrian or I’m sorry, vehicular wise, widening sidewalks and allowing for a lot more flexible use of the public space so that things like the moonlight market or the Pearl Market could have access to spill out into the street more easily. Special events you could close down. We’ve got the sculpture right out here closing the street down to have like a concert under it or a holiday event.

Tim Fulton  14:37

That sort of I mean, the renderings look great,

Walker Evans  14:39

right? They do shout out to a realm collaborative. They did kind of the initial groundwork, they don’t have the contract to do like all of the Actual work going forward. I think they’re submitting for that. Okay. So just want to make that point of clarification, but the work that they’ve done on kind of the visioning process, a plus plus have The beautiful renderings

Tim Fulton  15:01

talked much about where that 100 million comes from. I assume DCI is putting up some of their money. Yeah,

Walker Evans  15:07

I mean, it’s probably going to be a combination of like city, DCI probably some private investment the same way that they’ve, you know, like I think AEP donated X million dollars to the riverfront through a variety of sources. But when you look at the list of leadership that has co signed on to this project, it’s going to happen right? Yeah, I wouldn’t God

Tim Fulton  15:28

bless the partnership. Up next, yeah. Heath Town Center buildings expected to open in 2026. Yeah, for those that don’t know, Heath is a little town just south of Newark. Just a candy bar, not just a candy bar. Well, and when you sent me the list, I was like, Oh, we’re gonna have a health Town Center. Because I was reading too quickly, because honestly, you don’t hear about Heath much not at all. So what’s happening in Heath?

Walker Evans  15:55

Well, a lot of suburban and ex urban communities, I think have seen the success not just to places like Bridge Park. But downtown Hilliard, kind of all the old Hilliard area, Creekside and Gahanna. They’re all kind of reinvesting into their downtown areas, you know, they realized that there’s value in creating kind of a walkable, mixed use sort of environment, it’s going to help them retain millennials, who, you know, if you grew up in Heath, usually you just want to get out of Heath. Right? So giving people you know, a variety of options for housing and lifestyle is kind of I think the MO for a lot of these places. So we’ve been trying to write about them. And shout out to Chris Alexis, who has been tackling a lot of these because there’s so many happening that Brent can’t do all of them anymore. So Chris has been really stepping in to help out with some of these sort of ex urban community projects. The Heath one, they’re taking, like a big chunk of fields kind of next to the Indian mountain Mall. Okay. So it’s kind of a step one, if you look at it, you can kind of see like, this is great, but it’s very much an island, right? It’s sort of like, you know, you can walk around within this town centre, but as soon as you like leave the property, it kind of just turns into a suburb very quickly. Yeah, we’re just field right field to one side. I think it’s next to their like, little Regional Airport on the south end of it, but to the east, it’s the mall, and it’s a lot of like, it’d be like trying to ride your bike on Polaris Parkway. Yeah, very quickly turns into that around there. Yeah. But I think that could be a phase two, redeveloping that mall, I’m sure eventually will be something that needs to be done. I’ve not been in a very long time. So

Tim Fulton  17:33

yeah, well, and it does make me think of how Easton came up, right. Like there was Eastern one. And there was Eastern too. And it’s very similar to what we’re seeing in Dublin. Right. And there are, but I was working on a project where I ended up in a couple of small, literally rural towns in Ohio, and these x x urban areas are doing exactly the same thing. Yeah. That they. And when you talk to city leaders there, they’re very specific. This is all about retention. Yeah, it’s all about making sure that their tax base doesn’t die. Sure, right, that they have kids, they have schools that they have

Walker Evans  18:16

vibrancy, and I imagine to some degree to when you think about the leadership and the planning, and the City Council’s in these places, it’s kind of the next generation is coming in, you know, these aren’t the people that you know, were maybe making the decisions 2030 years ago, so I think it’s fresh set of eyes on things to hopefully the the Indian mountain mall if it’s redeveloped. Maybe they can change the name. It’s not the shopping on your ancestors grave. Commerce center.

Tim Fulton  18:43


Walker Evans  18:44

it’s a little on the nose a little bit in but that’s that’s probably a heated City Council. Well, meeting

Tim Fulton  18:51

times you have to change the name of things. Yes. Yeah. What was the other thing I was gonna say regarding that? Oh, just like I think about maybe what was it 10 years ago, that Tulsa introduced a whole bunch of like, really small programs for folks who were able to work remotely and and they and other things other like tax incentives for building and investment, while still trying to retain, you know, the historic aspects of that town, that city. And it worked, right. It totally worked. And it didn’t work with Yes, it certainly had private investment coming in, but it wasn’t like it wasn’t an Intel plant that did it. Yeah. And so we’re going to have to find an interesting mix with our partner communities like he eats, which again, I hadn’t thought about he thought while one

Walker Evans  19:46

I think another great example two is Newark right next to heat like they’ve invested a lot into their downtown area, both from an infrastructure standpoint and just trying to learn new small businesses and creating more farmers markets and You know, events and things like that. Yeah, it’s nice. Yeah. Just

Tim Fulton  20:03

literally making people want to live there. Yeah. Because that’s how you get. That’s how you get income taxes jacked. Up next on the list. Three new vendors open at bubbly Hall amid turnover comma, lawsuit. Yeah, that’s headline writing.

Walker Evans  20:19

prompts to Susan. Yeah, I think that probably was super well read because of the word lawsuit in there. Because bubbly Hall is not really all that new. But it sounds like they’ve had some turmoil in terms of some bills going unpaid. And sounds like that’s still ongoing.

Tim Fulton  20:35

The word receivership I do not know if they’re actually in it. But yeah, the word has been thrown around.

Walker Evans  20:40

Yeah, I want to be careful how I word things. But yeah, I don’t know all of the details of it. But it sounds like there’s been a lot of struggle, and you know, some of the businesses there have kind of hinted at problems, but they don’t want to speak on the record. Because if they’re still kind of tied to, you know, lease negotiations, it sounds like it’s been a pretty big challenge. And I, you know, I know that food halls have been kind of like, the hot thing for the past couple of years. Right. You know, you look at, you know, the, the more urban I mean, to some degree, the North Market is a food hall, it is you look at, but dairy, and that’s a food hall. I think suburban communities are trying to replicate this model. And I don’t know if it quite works, maybe in a place like New Albany, where people, you know, want a more specific kind of experience. They don’t want like that communal dining and allowed, you know, kind of casual environment, right. So I think this really just speaks to, you know, you can’t just pick up, you know, a square object and drop it into a round hole 20 miles out and expect the exact same reason

Tim Fulton  21:40

the model is hard, right. Sure. Like there’s so many moving parts, I still think that Bunbury is sort of not at the place where it’s going to be. I think it’s sustainable because of the liquor revenue. Sure, but the like, a lot. It’s a really diverse array of foods that I don’t want to be eating when I’m drinking. Right, like, not necessarily sure. I’m sure, sure. Yeah. And so they will, as that but I am, I have a lot of faith that they will continue to evolve and find the right mix. Yeah.

Walker Evans  22:17

I mean, the thing that bud dairy has that I don’t think bubbly Hall does. But dairy has 2000 People that live within a short walk right? And currently being built another two to 3000 people coming into all the apartment communities. Yeah, within I’m talking like a two minute walk right within two blocks. And so I think, you know, a young audience, a young urban audience wants that kind of like, oh, let’s just pop over there for lunch. Exactly. Or happy hour kind of a thing. Well, but

Tim Fulton  22:48

I was about to say lunch, you will not survive on lunch alone. Sure. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a it’s a hard model. And it’s I hopefully they’ll figure it out. Yeah. Up next on the list unique properties for sale colon, the Cleveland and second building. Yeah,

Walker Evans  23:03

so this was a series I started the beginning of the year. unique properties I love looking on like loop net. So some of the different you know, websites that list commercial properties for sale. So not just like going to Zillow and looking at houses. Right. There’s there’s always things that you didn’t realize were for sale, because it’s it’s more of like a behind the scenes sort of a thing. Yeah. So wanted to call attention to a couple that that was the second one that we wrote about. The first one is the building at Grant and Cleveland famously has the door up on the third point it says watch your step and watch the first step or whatever. Yes. Close to Columbus Day that was for sale. And but both articles have been well read, which a little surprising, but I also I kind of I guess not. So this is a series we’re going to continue throughout the year, but Blake Compton of Compton construction is sponsoring this series and Oh, great. So you know, I think they they probably want to be the people to redevelop these buildings by them and when a construction company so it’s a synergy shout out to shout out to Compton. But yeah, there’s just a lot of really interesting things in that building. If you’ve not seen it, it looks like do you know what you building up? I

Tim Fulton  24:13

don’t think so. It’s on the court in Cleveland in second. So there’s been like some I know exactly what you’re talking about. Yes. Is the bill close to nine three for a long time, had a quote on it about an indirect quote. Okay. Had a quote on it about the economic segregation that Columbus experiences? Yes. Well, what was the quote and why is it wrong?

Walker Evans  24:37

It says Columbus is the second most economically segregated city in the US and why is that incorrect? Because Columbus, the Columbus Metropolitan area is the second most economically segregated region in the US according to city property team, correct. Yeah. And I feel like it’s divisive to say city because that’s sort of like a neighborhood versus neighborhood thing. Sure. In the real economic segregation is more of a suburb versus City thing

Tim Fulton  25:04

fair. Okay. I think we gotta leave that there. Yeah. But that building is for sale.

Walker Evans  25:10

I think it’s still for sale. And it looks like a nightmare on the inside. I don’t think anyone’s been in it in 30 years.

Tim Fulton  25:16

No. Well, I used to live right there at the Milo Art Center. Yeah, like that. There’s a lot of interesting real estate stock.

Walker Evans  25:24

Yeah, there, but it’s such a prominent location. And that’s what we’re trying to focus on.

Tim Fulton  25:28

It will be a prominent location. It’s not, it’s not now. Yeah, it gets.

Walker Evans  25:32

I mean, a lot of people go by it true. Like it’s high visibility. I guess I should say. That’s. And so you know, the right person, the right vision could do something pretty cool. It’s a cool building. I don’t want to see it torn down.

Tim Fulton  25:44

What are they what are they asking for it? 320 5000 Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, let’s buy it.

Walker Evans  25:53

It’s that $76 a square foot.

Tim Fulton  25:56

That’s that’s pretty cheap. That’s pretty cheap. Yeah, but it’s probably going to need a new build. It needs

Walker Evans  26:01

a shit ton of work. There you go. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s in bad shape.

Tim Fulton  26:05

Next up on our list, new airport terminal renderings. Comma, timeline released.

Walker Evans  26:10

Yeah. So the complete renovation of the airport has been kind of on the docket for a while, but there was a new batch of visuals. released this quarter. And people love a good a good visual. Yeah. Very white. Very clean. Like what? Like the airport? Yes. The

Tim Fulton  26:32

design airport is is racially disparate, but that is not what you’re saying? No.

Walker Evans  26:38

Yeah. So very, very kind of, like futuristic looking. Okay. Or contemporary design? I guess I should say, okay. Yeah. To which you know, some people think it looks great. Some people are like, Why do we need to spend this much money on our airport? Like, we’re not a major, you know,

Tim Fulton  26:55

hub, because that’s how you become a hub?

Walker Evans  26:57

Well, and it doesn’t, I think it redesigns like the capacity, like the footprint isn’t really a whole lot bigger, but it will allow for more flights to get in and out. Yeah, faster. So it’s better from that perspective. I think some people are disappointed that it’s not an expansion, this would be a new terminal built, and then the old terminal would be demolished,

Tim Fulton  27:17

which is very common. In the airport world. I’ve always been, it’s always been notable to me, I traveled some that every other airport always has major renovation going on LaGuardia, Denver, even though it was just rebuilt, like they’re rebuilding whole terminals every couple of years. And that, at least in my memory has not happened. Yeah. And for anybody that travels much in Port Columbus, if you’re not in Terminal B, you’re not anywhere. And if you fly in after 830 At night, there may not be a gate crew for you. Right? Like it’s Yeah, we could stand for some updating. Yeah,

Walker Evans  27:58

and I think the redesign if I remember correctly, had a lot more communal shared areas across like those kinds of gates. Whereas now it’s like, if you’re in this gate, you have, you know, this set of like food and drink options. And if you’re in that gate, you get a different set of food and drink options that I think it’s a little more shared. Good. Yeah. Which would be good for business for the businesses out there. Absolutely.

Tim Fulton  28:19

Yeah. Next up on the list. Metrocenter metamorphosis, Colin, Dublin’s answer to changing market trends.

Walker Evans  28:26

Yeah. So this kind of ties into what we’re talking about with Heath, the city of Dublin has the old Metro Center kind of office park, okay, which I think was built in like the late 60s, early 70s. It’s wildly out of date. They want to do something with it, you know, so the city is sort of embarking on this community input Master Plan sort of a thing. They don’t want to make another Bridge Park. You know, that would just be the easy thing to do. So really trying to hit the reset switch and figure out like, what amount of workspace that should be what amount of living space it should be, what amount of green you know, public community space it should be but really trying to take because it’s a very large area to acres and acres of land okay, but it’s not really doing the city any good in its current iteration. So yeah, really, really kind of trying to take the lead on the conversation but in

Tim Fulton  29:20

the beginning stages like they are still Yeah, still in the community conversation let’s look at let’s do some benchmarking. Yeah, yeah.

Walker Evans  29:27

I think January was their first like big public like community workshop event like come point at pictures and say what you like and what you don’t put you know, post it notes on a board kind of stuff. So I think it’d be an ongoing process throughout the year but you know, we were really interesting in terms of what our readers are looking at because yeah, it will be something urban and walkable you know, it won’t just be another office park that’s mostly surface parking

Tim Fulton  29:53

good, which I mean, it is now to Dublin’s credit. I rolled my eyes a little bit because Dublin, but that’s probably no way of thinking in terms of like, who lives there? What is it? You know, it’s also got one of the last freestanding malls. Right. That’s viable.

Walker Evans  30:13

Tunnel. Yeah. I forget, I

Tim Fulton  30:16

mean, viable. I should use air quotes. But yeah, I

Walker Evans  30:20

think Tuttle has like a Dublin address, but it’s in the city of Columbus. It’s like a weird,

Tim Fulton  30:25

I just think of it in terms of like the area that it’s in. Yeah. Next up on the list, Symphony outlines plans for $275 million concert hall. They just dropped it on us. Yeah.

Walker Evans  30:39

I think they weren’t ready. Are you surprised?

Tim Fulton  30:43

Some? Because you have your ear to the ground, obviously. Yeah. Like people send you embargoed things or say, yeah, hey, off the record, or hey, don’t write about this yet. But, I mean, it was a new story. And it was like, the new story had the renderings already in it.

Walker Evans  30:58

Yeah. The some of the information had leaked, like someone involved in the project had posted something on like Reddit. Okay. And then that kind of triggered, I think, the media attention. I mean, we reached out soon as we saw it, and I’m sure the dispatching was first at the same thing. Okay. And so I think it kind of left the partners involved in this kind of scrambling to issue or response, because I don’t think they had all the ducks in a row. I don’t think I had all the talking points in a row. Right. So it, I think it was not, as you know, it was It wasn’t where they were wanting it to be in terms of like having, you know, having the mayor GCAC saying this, and it was a little like, we’re still having internal conversations about this sort of a thing. So

Tim Fulton  31:41

is, and this is sorry, I like getting into the process part, like, is everybody on board?

Walker Evans  31:47

I mean, as far as I’m aware, there’s always you know, nuts and bolts to kind of work out your timing

Tim Fulton  31:53

Kappa, sent out a supportive message kappa is now using now that basically rental isn’t really going to happen, though.

Walker Evans  32:04

It’s one of those things that like if the right partners all say we’re doing this, then it happens. Yeah. I haven’t heard all of that. But I haven’t been as plugged in, you know, to that as I have some other things. So I think it looks good. I’ve also heard that the visuals for the design was not the final product. It’s still kind of a work in progress. Yeah.

Tim Fulton  32:26

I think the location was very high. And I mean, it’s yeah, a symphony complex is a huge endeavor. Yeah. $275 million. Is a lot of money. Yeah. Yeah. The renderings. We keep going back to renderings. I think we’re coming up with a title of this episode. Yeah. It looked very sort of like pie in the sky. Like here’s what something like this could really look like and didn’t wasn’t necessarily aligned with the location what the symphony needs anything like that. But I just I don’t know. It just looks pretty.

Walker Evans  32:59

Yeah. Well, and the location, you know, kind of completes this trifecta that’s long been planned for like our arts and civic infrastructure along the west side of the riverfront downtown. So we have the vets Museum. The old vets memorial was torn down and rebuilt and then co sigh and then this other like chunk of land. I remember how many acres it is. Originally, there was a zoo expansion plan there. Do you remember

Tim Fulton  33:24

that? No. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay.

Walker Evans  33:27

But it came up at a time where there was a little bit of like, kerfuffle about like funding and the zoo wanted to issue a new Levy. And I think a lot there’s a lot of opposition about like, this levy goes on to Franklin County, the zoo is technically in Delaware County, right. Like, we need more of a regional funding mechanism for the zoo so that the whole region is paying for it. Like, you’re basically just asking for Columbus to pay for the zoo, even though it’s right. You know, which everyone

Tim Fulton  33:55

what happens anyway. But yeah, if you have a Franklin County address, you get a discount to the zoo. Yeah. So

Walker Evans  34:02

I’m forgetting off the top of my head right now, if it actually went to the ballot and was voted down, or if they pulled it saying that, like, we just we don’t feel like we have the support for this, right. Absolutely.

Tim Fulton  34:09

Don’t know. But my theory is that somebody like, like, a lot of things and how they happen in Columbus, somebody was like, Hey, can I talk to you for a second? Like, you can’t do this? Like, yeah, hey, we’ve got this school. You’d like you got to work with the whole system, right? School levies coming the transit levies coming something else, a bond issue for the city. I

Walker Evans  34:30

think this might have actually went to vote. I don’t remember. Yeah, this is like a decade ago, but but that was going to be the third piece of that trifecta. That went away and then it’s just been an empty spot ever since. So I think this still kind of fits that original vision of like having these like civic institutions, boom, boom, boom, three, three in a row. And we’d be complementary to you know, the peninsula area, which is kind of evolving into a little bit of a entertainment district and complementary to Franklinton. Is an arts and entertain One district so absolutely yeah, I I’m all for it, the more things change Yeah. And honestly 275 million like we could do a bond

Tim Fulton  35:09

to pay for it. It’s not a crazy amount of money. Yeah, we’re building a bike trail for 100 Yeah. Last up on the list today, photos colon new Metropark canopy walk to open this spring. Yeah. Where’s that?

Walker Evans  35:23

It is in the black lick Woods Metro Park. Okay. Brent went up there and got some photos of the canopy walk under construction back in February. It just looks really cool. Okay, you know, they’re building both stairs and elevator to get up into the canopy walk. Okay, and then you know, your I don’t know how many feet it is 3040 feet off the ground. So you’re gonna walk around and get some cool views and physical. There have been some places like this. We went to one and arboretum up like outside of Cleveland with the kids. And there’s a big, you know, kind of 12 storey like trees that you can see all the way to like Lake Erie 10 miles away. Yeah. So this won’t be quite as extreme as that. But just something new, another draw to the Metro park system. And I think people really just love seeing the photos of this sort of thing under construction.

Tim Fulton  36:08

Yeah. And then I still like what are you going to do this afternoon with your mother in law that’s in town or filling time with your kids? Yeah,

Walker Evans  36:16

yeah. One more fun thing this summer to go check out.

Tim Fulton  36:18

It’s great to have Yeah, cool. Walker. Thanks for your time. Yeah, no problem, Tim. Thanks for listening to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. Again, you can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode of The confluence cast.com. Please rate subscribe, share this episode of The confluence cast with your friends, family, contacts, enemies, your favorite rail enthusiast. If you’re interested in sponsoring the confluence cast, get in touch with us. We can be reached by email at info at the confluence cast.com Our theme music was composed by Benji Robinson, our producers Philip Cogley, I’m your host, Tim Fulton. Have a great week.