Columbus, OH – September 8, 2021 – After many months developing plans and coordinating with stakeholders amid pandemic conditions, Rockbridge announced new details of the plan for the North Market Mixed-Use Development originally revealed in 2019. This marks a significant next step in bringing the project’s transformational vision to life – and highlights the commitment, perseverance and collaboration of the development team, North Market and the City of Columbus.
Rockbridge is working to finalize the plan and secure ongoing support for the proposed 31-story development, which will be reviewed by the Downtown Commission and Historic Resources Commission in coming weeks. According to Rockbridge, the spirit of the North Market and its merchants are the primary source of inspiration for this project, as they have represented merging of cultures, entrepreneurial drive and a sense of promise and possibility for over 140 years. These core principles are embodied in the design and will be foundational in the naming and branding of the project, which Rockbridge expects to reveal in the coming months.
The strong collaboration between Rockbridge, North Market, and the City of Columbus, with key support from Franklin County and the State of Ohio, has crafted a plan that upon completion will ensure the preservation of the North Market’s treasured facilities and character by providing long-term stable income and significant expansion space to further its mission and impact. As part of the proposal, the project also establishes sources of funding to support future needs of the North Market – constituting an innovative, public-private plan that addresses many of the priorities of our City’s growth agenda.
“It’s exciting to see this transformational vision progressing at such a critical time in Columbus, as this proposed plan for the project not only secures the preservation and expansion of the North Market – it also creates construction and permanent jobs for residents,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “This partnership between public and private entities addresses the region’s need for housing Columbus residents can afford and adds important hotel accommodations that help us compete for convention business and events.”
Original plans have been significantly enhanced with additional character and features to solidify the development as the cultural and economic epicenter of the city, positioning it amongst the most influential projects across the country. Rockbridge worked with architect NBBJ, interior design firm AvroKO, branding firm Swoon, and in collaboration on design development and operations with Makeready, to advance the programming and character of the project. The building will have a refined industrial design inspired by the North Market and Union Station, which once ran through the site, and which also serves as the design inspiration of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Upon arrival, guests will be welcomed into the Trade Room, which will act as the central hub of the project. The Trade Room will be a large gathering space with a grand fireplace and indoor / outdoor bar. Adjacent to the Trade Room will be an intimate outdoor courtyard, a destination restaurant, independent retail curated with items from around the world, barber shop, and coffee café; all just steps away from the North Market. The experience will be unlike any other.
The project will provide the Columbus community and travelers with innovative hospitality amenities featuring a modern day inclusive social club with a focus on wellness and market-leading independent lifestyle boutique hotel, along with premier, high-rise residential units, Class A Office space and 350-space integrated parking garage. Together, along with the North Market expansion, these features pay tribute to the project’s focus on blending old and new – a powerful cohesion of the site’s past and its future. The project will be transformational for the core of Columbus, adding 700,000 SF of dynamic space, delivering a new demand base to the Market, driving merchant sales and infusing fresh energy into the landmark destination.
“For more than a hundred years, the North Market has persevered as a marketplace, meeting place, cultural hub, historic treasure and vital part of the community,” said City of Columbus Department of Development Director Michael Stevens. “This project is equally vital for our city and will play a role in a growth strategy that benefits our residents.”
“Inspired by the authenticity of the North Market and its merchants, this project signals everything our company is about, and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us,” said Jim Merkel, Co-Founder and CEO of Rockbridge. “This project design includes the first 31-story building in Columbus in decades. Bringing this project to life is not easy, but we’re committed to making it happen just like the small business owners and merchants who’ve made it happen at the market for more than a century.”
“North Market must evolve to stay relevant and prosperous – especially at a time when so many small businesses need creative plans for recovery,” said Rick Harrison Wolfe, North Market Executive Director. “Merchants have always been the resilient heart and soul of North Market and it’s only fitting that we celebrate that incredible spirit as we expand our mission with this project.”
In addition to reaching the design milestone of submitting to Downtown Commission and the Historic Resources Commission, Rockbridge announced the addition of Jeff Edwards, CEO and President, Edwards Companies, as a partner in the project.
“This project means a tremendous amount to Rockbridge and our community, and it requires significant investment and an approach that addresses the unique complexity of this development,” said Merkel. “Jeff and the Edwards family have demonstrated a pioneering spirit and strong commitment to developing and enhancing downtown Columbus. They are champions for the City of Columbus, and their partnership brings another critical resource to this meaningful project. With this partnership, the project team only grows stronger. ”
Modern Amenities, Significant Expansion
The development will expand the North Market footprint by nearly 50%, providing more than 11,000 SF of new and unique merchant, event, and outdoor spaces. The result will be a multitude of new, exciting opportunities for the North Market and local merchants to further enhance the culture and character of Columbus.
During construction, the North Market will remain fully open with regular hours and will continue to offer events and activities. Further details on project logistics including parking will be provided in the months leading up to construction commencement.
North Market Mixed-Use Project will offer:
- Streetscapes will align with the project’s refined industrial design and promote an active, dynamic district. Wall Street will be a focal point, re-imagined from an under-utilized alleyway to prominent urban avenue with brick-paved streets, lush landscaping, and beautification of the historic buildings – all creating an [immersive] background to the project’s primary entrance and arrival experience.
- Activated ground floor public spaces with the Trade Room serving as the large, central gathering space including a grand fireplace and indoor / outdoor bar. Adjacent to the Trade Room will be an intimate outdoor courtyard, a destination restaurant, independent retail curated with items from around the world, barber shop, and coffee café; all just steps away from the North Market. The experience will be unlike any other.
- 11,000+ SF of significant North Market expansion, connecting directly to the existing building.The building will retain all of the historic North Market features, and the expansion will include approximately 3,900 SF of new merchant space, 4,400 SF of public and event space, and 3,200 SF of flexible outdoor space for programming and activation.
- 212-room, independent lifestyle boutique hotel providing guests an elevated, authentic and immersive experience that celebrates the spirit of the North Market and complements the growing sophistication of the Columbus hospitality marketplace. The project will feature a signature ballroom on the ninth floor, showcasing a stunning 5,000 SF glass and steel encased ballroom and adjoining terrace, presenting sweeping views of the city. In total, the project will introduce over 17,000 SF of custom designed event and meeting space to the city.
- A modern day, inclusive social club with a focus on wellness. Programming will feature comprehensive fitness facilities, destination spa, living room parlors with comfortable areas to work or meet, intimate library bar with dramatic views of downtown, casual billiards and game room, a thoughtfully crafted restaurant, speakeasy situated on the project’s top floor and multiple outdoor living spaces with rooftop pool and fireplaces.
- 170+ premier residential units providing for the growing number of people who want to live in a dynamic, walkable location with direct access to one-of-a-kind amenities. The residential will include workforce housing units providing attractive options for Columbus residents.
- 60,000 SF of prime, Class A, office space, designed to attract growing and creative businesses and employees.
- 350 parking spaces in the new garage.
North Market Mixed-Use Project Economic Impact
In addition to providing for the preservation and expansion of the North Market and creating a space that cultivates a thoughtful and creative community, the project will be a significant driver of economic vitality. During the construction period alone, the project is expected to deliver an estimated 1,600 jobs.
Upon completion, the transformational project is expected to generate approximately 600 new jobs and nearly $1 Billion in economic impact over its first decade.
Construction is expected to begin in mid-2022.