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How the Discovery District is Becoming the Darling of Downtown Neighborhoods

What’s driving the district’s $600 million transformation

February 19, 2020


What makes a neighborhood great? Well, head to the Discovery District to find out.

Home to the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Columbus College of Art and Design, the Discovery District is proving that a neighborhood rooted in education, arts, and culture is well positioned for even greater investment.

The neighborhood, bounded by 5th Street, I-71, I-670, and I-70, earned its name in the 1970s for having a strong mix of cultural institutions promising endless possibilities and discoveries. Even with these pillars of art and education, the Discovery District wasn’t always a thriving place. But a turning point came in 2007 with the formation of the Discovery Special Improvement District, an organization funded by area property owners to ensure the district remained clean and safe.

Today, the Discovery District is leveraging its renowned cultural and education institutions to draw an even broader mix of investment, to the tune of $600 million in recent years, led by a surge in residential development. The business magazine Columbus CEO counts eight residential developments that will account for at least 318 new units. Furthermore, public and private institutions have come together to improve sidewalks, street lighting, and other infrastructure.

Here are some of the specific investors and projects that are shaping this exciting cultural district.

  • Columbus Metropolitan Library: The $32 million project, completed in 2016, connected the library with the Topiary Park and updated the front plaza on Grant Avenue, among other modernization improvements.
  • Columbus Museum of Art: In 2015, a 50,000-square-foot wing was added to the museum in a $43 million expansion and improvement project.
  • Columbus State Community College: In 2019, the school celebrated the opening of Mitchell Hall, a $34.5 million Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts building, named for renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. The community college also recently established the Columbus State Community Partners to promote investment in surrounding real estate.
  • OhioHealth: In 2018, the hospital system opened a new 1,050-space parking garage for its Grant Medical Center campus.
  • State Auto Insurance Companies: The company is building a four-story 761-space parking garage on Washington Avenue.
  • The Pizzuti Companies: The Columbus-based developer, in partnership with Capital University, will open a six-story, mixed-use development along Grant Avenue. The project will include 145 apartments, 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and structured parking.
  • Borror: The company is opening Xander on State, a six-story, mixed-use development with 221 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Motorists Insurance Group: The insurer is building a 92-unit residential building with retail next to Topiary Park.

So, what are you waiting for?

Head down to the Discovery District for a day at the stunning public library, the world-class art museum, and much more. And if you happen to like what you see, there are now plenty of options to put down roots and live in the neighborhood.

Interested in checking out a property that offers Rhove for your next home? See our ever-growing list of partner properties, including in the Discovery District of Columbus.