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Solution to Cosi & City Center Woes?

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Solution to Cosi & City Center Woes?

posted by Hudson at 10:52 AM

I cannot envision City Center ever becoming what it once was – a retail giant. City Center will not draw suburbanites from larger, more convenient options. Instead, the focus should be downtown residents.

How about moving COSI from its massive facility across the river to the City Center building? Ever since COSI’s move from Broad Street, it’s had financial troubles – the current space is simply too big. And its location does not benefit from foot traffic.

With COSI moving, Columbus gets a great chance to take advantage of the building that is now a symbol for COSI’s unrealistic ambition. It could be turned into a massive hotel, the Columbus hotel. Since we razed the Neil House, the Deshler, and other fine hotels, Columbus could use a new, really elegant place to stay.

In addition to hotel accommodations, perhaps it could help give way to a new era of mass transit in Columbus. Columbus could have two union stations – one downtown in the Arena District or Capitol Square, and the other in the old COSI building.

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18 Responses to Solution to Cosi & City Center Woes?

  1. lifeliberty
    lifeliberty February 7, 2007 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm

    solution=arson

  2. Columbusite February 7, 2007 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm

    The problem with the current location of COSI is that no matter what is there, there is nothing else there. This would tie into the Franklinton discussion where I suggested building on top of the lots to add residents, etc. It’s a tough location to work with.

  3. gramarye
    gramarye February 7, 2007 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm

    A related problem (or another side of the same one) is that they took some of the most valuable riverfront land for the new COSI, and museums are essentially never cash cows. They pay either very little in taxes if they’re private, or nothing if they’re public. They also take up prodigious amounts of room.

    I’d never heard the idea of moving COSI into the City Center space. That would be interesting. I wonder if that would even be technically feasible.

    Regardless, the fact is that you could put at least a couple more Miranovas on the space that the new COSI occupies, given the views of both the river and the downtown skyline, as well as the proximity to Capitol Square and all the big legal and financial businesses there. Throw Vets Memorial into the mix and you could put up even more.

  4. Brewmaster
    Brewmaster February 7, 2007 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm

    I say you leave COSI where it is and give people a couple more reasons to venture over there.

    Convert Vets Memorial into another museum of some sort. On idea someone had (perhaps on this board…Columbusite?) was to turn it into a “Arnold Swartzenegger Bodybuilding Hall of Fame”. Perhaps it could do double duty as a health museum for kids to visit. Vets is basically two buildings anyway.

    The land south of COSI could also be used for a museum. Sell combined passes to the multiple museums so families can make a day out of it.

  5. Columbusite February 8, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am

    I did mention that idea, but it is not mine. CMH_Downtown over at UrbanOhio is the one who came up with that. I like your suggestion of an additional museum that isn’t niche-y so that there is year-round traffic. Now just imagine how convenient it would be for the streetcars to take people from the Arnold Classic down to Broad & High so that they could check out the bodybuilding hall of fame, instead of going back to the garage, paying for that and then going to the Vets’ parking lot and paying for that. It’d be even better if there were even more offerings in the vicinity.

  6. Walker Evans
    Walker February 8, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am

    Columbusite wrote Now just imagine how convenient it would be for the streetcars to take people from the Arnold Classic down to Broad & High so that they could check out the bodybuilding hall of fame…

    The Arnold Classic / Fitness Weekend has events at the Convention Center, Nationwide Arena, and the Vets Memorial, so a streetcar line could serve as a shuttle between the two.

  7. hobbesOSU
    hobbesOSU February 8, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am

    Walker wrote
    Columbusite wrote Now just imagine how convenient it would be for the streetcars to take people from the Arnold Classic down to Broad & High so that they could check out the bodybuilding hall of fame…

    The Arnold Classic / Fitness Weekend has events at the Convention Center, Nationwide Arena, and the Vets Memorial, so a streetcar line could serve as a shuttle between the two.

    Or, we could save the taxpayers heaps and heaps of money and ask these ‘fit’ people to walk. :wink:

  8. lifeliberty
    lifeliberty February 8, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am

    arnold fitness classic weekend brings tons of revenue to the city, the city tries to cater to them as much as possible to ensure the event keeps coming back. I’m all for it.

  9. jwing February 8, 2007 1:24 pm at 1:24 pm

    The Arnold weekend is great but its only 1 weekend per year. I know we are just throwing around ideas here but I cant go for a health/bodybuilding museum. I think the average person is into health and fitness but not enough to go to a museum about it. Kind of like recycling – people do it, but they wont go to a museum for it.

    I do like the idea of another museum close to COSI. Air and Space maybe? The whole ‘make a day trip out of it’ is good. Locals and visitors alike can appreciate the area.

  10. Brewmaster
    Brewmaster February 8, 2007 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm

    jwing wrote The Arnold weekend is great but its only 1 weekend per year. I know we are just throwing around ideas here but I cant go for a health/bodybuilding museum. I think the average person is into health and fitness but not enough to go to a museum about it. Kind of like recycling – people do it, but they wont go to a museum for it.

    I do like the idea of another museum close to COSI. Air and Space maybe? The whole ‘make a day trip out of it’ is good. Locals and visitors alike can appreciate the area.

    I think Dayton pretty much has a lock on the air and space museum.

    Here’s a link to Cleveland’s Health Museum (which has recently combined with the natural history museum)…

    http://www.healthmuseum.org/

    It’s used constantly by kids on class field trips.

    Also, don’t underestimate the Arnold or niche hall of fame museums. They bring in tons of money to a city. They are projecting 150,000 attendees and athletes at The Arnold this year.

  11. Brewmaster
    Brewmaster February 8, 2007 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm

    So the Bodybuilding/Health museum was greeted with a mixed response. Here’s another idea…

    Build a Museum of Environmental Sustainability on the Whittier Peninsula. Dual use tickets could be sold with COSI and the two could be connected with a ferry on the Scioto. Kids could power a light bulb with pedal power, see a reclaimed habitat, learn how to build green homes, learn how solar and wind power work, etc…

    Discuss…

  12. Walker Evans
    Walker February 8, 2007 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm

    I’m not that into Fitness either, but it has a history here with the Classic and I think there’s enough fitness buffs in the country to probably make it something feasible. There’s a lot of strange museums out there. Here’s some I found listed here:

    * Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama – McCalla

    * Computer History Museum – Mountain View

    * Exotic World Burlesque Museum – Helendale

    * Hollywood Heritage Museum – Los Angeles

    * Museum of Jurassic Technology – Culver City

    * Museum of Making Music – Carlsbad

    * Vintage Motorcycle Museum – Solvang

    * Mountain bike hall of fame – Crested Butte

    * World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame – Colorado Springs

    * American Clock & Watch Museum – Bristol

    * New England Carousel Museum – Bristol

    * Windham Textile and History Museum – Willimantic

    * Museum of Weapons & Early American History – St. Augustine

    * Center for Puppetry Arts

    * Robert C. Williiams American Museum of Papermaking

    * World of Coca-Cola

    * Georgia Rural Telephone Museum – Leslie

    * Kentucky Derby Museum – Louisville

    * Museum of the American Quilter’s Society – Paducah

    * Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey – Bardstown

    * National Museum of Civil War Medicine – Frederick

    * Cranberry World Museum – Plymouth

    * Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) – Dedham

    * Salem Witch Museum – Salem

    * SPAM Museum – Austin

    * Dog Museum – St. Louis

    * International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame – St. Louis

    * Pony Express Museum – Saint Joseph

    * Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City

    * Elvis-A-Rama Museum – Las Vegas

    * Museum of International Folk Art – Santa Fe

    * International UFO Museum – Roswell

    * Museum of American Finance

    * Museum of Biblical Art

    * Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)

    * Museum of Sex

    * Museum of Television & Radio

    * Sparta Teapot Museum – Sparta

    * National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum – Oklahoma City

    * National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum – Oklahoma City

    * National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum – Stillwater

    * Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    * Polka Hall of Fame – Euclid

    * Museum of Yachting – Newport

    * Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – Knoxville

    So… does a museum about fitness really sound that far fetched?

  13. jwing February 8, 2007 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm

    Doesnt sound far fetched at all especially compared to some of the other musuems that exist.

    I just dont see it staying busy all year.

    Brew – I’m not underestimating Arnold weekend – its a great event for the city. But it still is only 1 weekend. Plus if Cleveland already has a health museum….

    Other side of the coin – a health museum would be a cool for field trips – educational and all that.

    Gotta say – I really dig the env sustainability idea. Interactive is a big plus. One question – does COSI already do any of this already?

  14. Jim Lauwers
    JimL2 February 8, 2007 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm

    The International Bowling Museum was one of the greatest places I’ve ever been. Mannequins dressed up as cavemen throwing rocks, brass reliefs of famous bowlers, large murals… that place had it all. I will always remember it as one of my favorite parts of the city.

    And keep in mind, when I was in St. Louis I also visited the Dental Health Theater.

  15. dru
    dru February 9, 2007 9:49 am at 9:49 am

    somewhere in the past year I read a story stating that Vets Memorial was suffering from lack of concerts and conferences (given the rise of Nationwide, Schott, Promowest), and the article tossed out the idea of razing the structure and redeveloping the land. Given that Cosi has managed to meet it’s budget the past two years with pop culture exhibits, should the focus be more on what to do with Vets?

  16. The Hegemo
    The Hegemo February 9, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am

    Walker wrote I

    * Salem Witch Museum – Salem

    * Polka Hall of Fame – Euclid

    I’ve been to both of these.

    I’ve been outside of Cranberry World in Plymouth, but it was unreasonably expensive to get in, and I was on a grad student budget at the time, so we skipped it.

    Would the county be able to just raze Vets? Different city, state, etc, but there’s been an ongoing problem in Syracuse (the Jackets farm team plays there, which is why I know this) with the War Memorial Auditorium. It was built in the early 50s and lacks a lot of modern amenities, but apparently any time they talk about doing major renovations, there’s some sort of local veteran’s committee that has veto power and has blocked a lot of renovations because they say they would somehow reduce the arena’s honoring of vets. Is there anything comparable in Columbus that would block any razing and redevelopment of that site?

  17. Walker Evans
    Walker February 9, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am

    The Hegemo wrote Would the county be able to just raze Vets?

    I think this is something similar to what you’re talking about. I think they may have the ability to do something else with it, but there’s a lot of red tape invovled.

    Honestly, I don’t think it serves as a memorial at all. Couldn’t we just keep the “memorial” name and change the function of the building? Does a conference center honor veterans any more than a “Vets Memorial Office Park” would?

  18. dru
    dru February 9, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am

    i’m not a veteran, so i have no sentimental attachment here.

    but it seems they could raze the whole thing, and develop it into a mixed use downtown development that could actually include an aesthetically pleasing and solemly appropriate monument to Columbus’ veterans along the waterside.

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