Columbus is in the midst of a transformation.
In what’s become the fastest-growing Midwest city, billions of dollars are being invested in infrastructure, housing, offices and storefronts – much of it in the urban core.
With the pace of development frenzied, it’s worth pausing to take stock: to recognize those who shaped Columbus into what it is today and those who are carrying on the legacy of community investment. And to applaud the finest examples of responsible land use.
It’s in that spirit ULI Columbus introduces the Awards for Excellence, recognizing the individuals, real estate companies and developments shaping central Ohio.
The inaugural program honors one man, John W. Galbreath, perhaps most responsible for the look of Columbus as it is today. The late real estate mogul’s vast portfolio of projects included the downtown campus of Nationwide Insurance and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
His work is known internationally, as is his name, as both former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and of two Kentucky Derby-winning horses.
He was an advocate for Columbus, dubbed the “best employment agency in town” by former Mayor Buck Rinehart.
For his innumerable contributions, Galbreath is recognized with the ULI Columbus Visionary Award.
The inaugural Awards for Excellence additionally honor three projects commended by Columbus residents and visitors alike. Each is unique in its own right, the common thread being they exemplify the ULI mission and principles of creating and sustaining thriving communities.
The three honorees:
Excellence in Development—Large Scale: 250 High
The 12-story, mixed-use building has been instrumental in activating the Columbus Commons and surrounding area. The bold project – constructed on less than an acre – added a sleek, modern facade to the skyline. Developed by The Daimler Group and Kaufman Development, 250 High was fully leased within months of completion.
Excellence in Development—Small Scale: 400 West Rich
An early success in the up-and-coming Franklinton neighborhood, 400 West Rich is a prime example of urban adaptive reuse. Urban Smart Growth turned the once vacant and crumbling industrial building into a thriving community of art studios, offices, a bar and restaurant and event space.
Community Impact: Downtown Riverfront
The neglected Scioto Riverfront and sediment-laden waterway have been restored as the city’s finest natural feature. The City of Columbus and Columbus Downtown Development Corporation are recognized for spearheading two projects: Construction of a stretch of riverside park land, the Scioto Mile, and a reconfiguration of the river to create a more natural, flowing waterway.
ULI Columbus’ Awards for Excellence is supported by Turner Construction Company, Easton Community Foundation, M/I Homes, Huntington, Ashley Capital, Larson Realty Group, New Albany Company and The Robert Weiler Company.
ULI Columbus was established in 2008 as a District Council of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit advocate for the responsible use of land.
Written by: Evan Weese