Arena District

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Arena District
Neighborhood of Columbus
Looking toward N. High Street on W. Nationwide Boulevard in The Arena District
Looking toward N. High Street on W. Nationwide Boulevard in The Arena District
Arena District is located in Ohio
Arena District
Arena District
Arena District is located in the US
Arena District
Arena District
Coordinates: 39°58′09″N 83°00′22″W / 39.969270°N 83.006039°W / 39.969270; -83.006039Coordinates: 39°58′09″N 83°00′22″W / 39.969270°N 83.006039°W / 39.969270; -83.006039
Country United States
State Ohio
County Franklin
City Columbus
ZIP Code 43215
Area code(s) 614

Arena District is a mixed-use planned development and neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. The site was developed through a partnership between Nationwide Realty Investors, Ltd. (a subsidiary of Nationwide), the City of Columbus and private investors. Interpretation of the boundaries of the district are evolving[1] as the neighboring blocks around the original 75-acre (300,000 m2) site has seen additional commercial and residential development. Arena District is named for Nationwide Arena.


The Arena District is located on the former sites of the southern portion Olentangy Industrial cluster and the Ohio Penitentiary. The Olentangy Industrial Cluster, which developed just after 1900, contained at various points in time the Columbus Buggy Company, Union Fork and Hoe Company, Jaeger Machine Company, Allen Motor Car Company, Belmont Casket, City of Columbus lighting plant and waterworks, and other factories, warehouses, coal and lumber yards, along with as many as 17 residences in 1925.[2]

The Olentangy Industrial Cluster experienced a slow but steady decline. This decline was also experienced by the adjacent residential neighborhood of Flytown, where many of the workers in the complex resided. Most of Flytown was later redeveloped into the Thurber neighborhood. Because of its proximity to the Ohio Penitentiary and industry in the area, the Olentangy Industrial Cluster was referred to as “… a no man’s land of factories, warehouses, parking lots and railroads. The area sees a good deal of vehicular traffic but few pedestrians.”[3]

The Arena District was also the site of the Ohio Penitentiary which operated from 1834 to 1984. The prison is famous for several occupants including General John Hunt Morgan, Bugs Moran, Chester Himes, Sam Sheppard, James H. Snook.[4] It was demolished March 26, 1997.[5] An Ohio Historical Society Marker for General John Hunt Morgan, CSA is located at the north end of McFerson Commons Park, which is one of several sites created from the former Ohio Penitentiary grounds.[6]

Around the mid-1990s the area was almost entirely abandoned and redevelopment opportunities were envisioned by the City of Columbus. Following the closure of the Ohio Penitentiary the land was owned by the City of Columbus and it courted various firms and investors for redevelopment plans. At the time of the project in 1996 then City Councilman Michael B. Coleman, who was later the mayor of Columbus, said that the Ohio Penitentiary site is the “most important and potentially most valuable single site in downtown Columbus.”[7] After proposals were reviewed, the City Council approved the redevelopment proposal from Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) and sold the company the 23-acres of land for $11.7 million. NRI purchased an additional four acres from American Electric Power Company (AEP) for $11 million.[8]

NRI worked further with The Columbus Dispatch Printing Company, private investors, and the city of Columbus to fund work in the district. NRI funded $450 million of the project, the Dispatch provided an additional $10 million, and other private investors provided $40 million more for the construction of buildings in Arena District. Additional financing to construct infrastructure was provided by the city of Columbus; these included a tax increment financing (TIF) district in downtown Columbus, and two tax incentive packages: one for downtown office development and another 10 year tax holiday for newly constructed residential properties.[9][10]

By the end of 2013 construction began on the last phase of the Arena District, with an expected completion date of Summer 2014. The last major phase of construction includes the new headquarters for Columbus-based Columbia Gas of Ohio and completed second phase of the residential Flats on Vine.[11]


The 75-acre (300,000 m2) Arena District site is bounded by Vine Street to the north, Spring Street to the south, N. High Street to the east and Neil Avenue to the west.[12] The commonly accepted borders of Arena District are considerably larger, as evidenced by both the Arena District website and locals when referring to it. The expanded boundaries include Huntington Park, the Lifestyles Community Pavilion and Buggyworks to the west, and Nationwide’s corporate headquarters to the east.[13]

Arena District is directly south of the North Market and Park Street Districts, north of Downtown and west of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Generally, when walking west of High Street the land falls away towards the Olentangy River, and the grade is significant, especially alongside Nationwide Arena.

The neighborhood has several public spaces that are used for major events throughout the year such as McFerson Commons Park (commonly referred to as Arch Park[14]), Battelle Plaza and Nationwide Arena Plaza. These events include: The Arnold Sports Festival, Jazz & Rib Fest, Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games and concerts. There is also a pedestrian walkway and footbridge that extends from Battelle Plaza at the east side of Nationwide Arena to Vine Street where there are numerous bars and restaurants, and access to parking garages.[15]

Structures and landmarks[edit]

There are several notable structures and landmarks in Arena District:

Nationwide Arena[edit]

Main article: Nationwide Arena
Nationwide Arena

The namesake of Arena District, Nationwide Arena was completed in 2000 and is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL hockey team, who is also the primary tenant. Nationwide Arena has a seating capacity of 18,500 for hockey, 19,500 for basketball and 20,000 for concerts.[16] It has also hosted NCAA Men’s[17] and Women’s[18] Basketball National Championship Regional games, NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey games,[19] Ohio State University Fall Semester Convocation,[20] performance events and concerts ranging from Taylor Swift[21] to Disney on Ice.[22]

Lifestyles Community Pavilion, The Basement and A&R Music Bar[edit]

Lifestyles Community Pavilion

The Lifestyles Community Pavilion, commonly referred to as “The L.C.” or by its previous name “Promowest,” is a concert venue in Columbus, Ohio. During the spring, summer and fall they host outdoor concerts on a regular basis, and have indoor concerts year round. The venue seats 2,200 (indoors) and 4,500 in its Backyard Amphitheater (outdoors).[23] Smaller acts perform in The Basement, a venue that is attached to the L.C, or in the A&R Music Bar, next door to the L.C.

Huntington Park[edit]

Huntington Park

Huntington Park was completed in 2009 and is the home of the Columbus Clippers baseball team. The Clippers have been the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians since 2009 and play in the International League. The stadium has also hosted the Big 10 Men’s College Baseball tournament in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. It cost $70 million to build. It is not a part of the original Arena District site, but has since been incorporated into the neighborhood. The stadium has a capacity of 10,100 fans and set a stadium record for attendance on July 26, 2010 with an attendance of 12,517 fans for a game between the Clippers and Pawtucket Red Sox.[24]

McFerson Commons Park (or Arch Park)[edit]

McFerson Commons Park

McFerson Commons is a 2.21 acre park that was developed by Nationwide Insurance after the demolition of the Ohio State Penitentiary. It is part of the Scioto Mile Parks System, a sub-system of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. The park is dedicated to honor Dimon R. McFerson who was the Chairman and CEO of Nationwide Insurance from 1992 to 2000. The Arch is the focal point of the park and is located opposite Nationwide Arena Plaza. The park is commonly called Arch Park. The Arch was recovered from Columbus’s Union Station during its 1979 demolition to make way for the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which serves as the Arena Districts eastern boundary. Locals often believe the Arch came from the Ohio Penitentiary, but this is incorrect. The Beaux-Arts arch was designed by the firm of architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham of Chicago, who also developed a plan for the City of Columbus in 1908. The park hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as marathons, triathlons, concerts and auxiliary events for Columbus Blue Jackets Games.[25][26]

Battelle Plaza[edit]

Battelle Plaza is an open-air Plaza located on the east side of Nationwide Arena. It is named for Battelle Memorial Institute, a non-profit research and development company.[27] It is the hub of many events, but most notably Columbus Blue Jackets pre-game festivities. It provides access to Nationwide Arena and a pedestrian walkway that runs through the center of Arena District. This walkway provides further access to restaurants and bars such as: R-Bar, the Big Bang piano bar, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Buca di Beppo and the Three Legged Mare. The pedestrian bridge often serves as a meeting point for those attending events at Nationwide Arena.[28]

Nationwide Arena Plaza[edit]

Nationwide Arena Plaza is an open-air plaza located on the west side of Nationwide Arena and sits across Nationwide Boulevard from McFerson Commons. It provides access to the Ohio Health Ice Haus,[29] the practice facility of the Columbus Blue Jackets and several local high school teams, and the Big Lots! Box Office.[30] It hosts numerous events in the Arena District, but serves as a primary entrance for Columbus Blue Jackets Games. It hosts lines prior to those games for the Student Ticket Rush[31] and the Huntington Green Seats[32] promotions.


Arena District has five new-construction residential buildings[33] with a total of 770 units ranging from studio-style apartments to four-bedroom units. These residential buildings are:

  • The Condominiums of Northbank Park (109 units)[34]
  • Burnham Square Condominiums (89 units)[35]
  • Flats on Vine (226 units)[36]
  • Flats on Vine II (120 units)[37]
  • Arena Crossings Apartments (226 units)[38]

Additionally, residential properties not in the Arena District site, but considered to be a part of the Arena District neighborhood include:

  • Buggyworks (68 units)[39]

Buggyworks was the manufacturing facility of the Columbus Buggy Co. The Columbus Buggy Co. is notable for its likely influence on Henry Ford, and production methods for buggys/automobiles, as well as ties to Clinton Firestone (President of Columbus Buggy Co.), cousin to American Industrialist Harvey Samuel Firestone. Harvey Firestone sold Columbus Buggy's in Detroit, Michigan prior to the founding of Firestone Tires. Production at the Columbus Buggy Co. peaked in the 1890s, but faltered due to the invention and adoption of the automobile, as well as substantial damage from the Great Flood of 1913.[40]


Columbus Blue Jackets[edit]

Main article: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a National Hockey League hockey team in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 2000 as an expansion team of the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets play their home games and are the primary tenant of Nationwide Arena in the Arena District neighborhood. Their name comes from the Union Army of the American Civil War who wore blue jackets.[41] One of the more notable traditions of the Columbus Blue Jackets is the Cannon used during the hockey games. The cannon is fired when the Blue Jackets enter the arena, score a goal and win a game, followed by the chorus of “The Whip” by band Locksley. The cannon is a replica of a 12 lbs. 1857 Napoleon Cannon that was commonly used during the American Civil War.[42] Two similar Napoleon cannons are a short walk away at the Ohio Statehouse where they can be found “…standing in silent guard,” of the Capitol.[43]

Columbus Clippers[edit]

Main article: Columbus Clippers

The Columbus Clippers are the minor league Triple-A affiliate of the MLB Cleveland Indians. The Clippers play in the International League and play their home games at Huntington Park. Columbus was awarded the Clippers franchise in 1977. From 1977 to 2008 the Clippers played their home games at Cooper Stadium, previously known as Franklin County Stadium and referred to by fans as “The Coop.” In 2009 the Clippers moved into Huntington Park. The Clippers have been the minor league team for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians. They are expected to be affiliated with the Indians until at least the end of the 2018 season.[44]


The neighborhood has several public spaces that are used of for major events throughout the year. These events include the Arnold Sports Festival, Jazz & Rib Fest, Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games, marathons and triathlons. Additionally, there are restaurants and bars that populate arena district. These are:

Other nearby entertainment is available in the Park Street District, directly north of Arena District.



  1. ^ Ferenchik, Mark. "Arena District offers residents a sense of community". The Columbus Dispatch. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Dunham, Tom (2010). Columbus's Industrial Communities: Olentangy, Milo-Grogan, Steelton. Bloomington, IN: authorhouse. ISBN 9781452059693. 
  3. ^ Dunham, Tom (2010). Columbus's Industrial Communities: Olentangy, Milo-Grogan, Steelton. Bloomington, IN: authorhouse. ISBN 9781452059693. 
  4. ^ "The Ohio Penitentiary". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Stonick, Susan (14 April 2011). "Penitentiary demolition, 1997". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Marker #33-25 General John Hunt Morgan, CSA / Morgan's Escape". The Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  7. ^ McConnell, Kitty (October 2013). "Powerplay". Columbus CEO Magazine. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Economic Development and Smart Growth: 8 Case Studies on the Connections Between Smart Growth Development and Jobs, Wealth, and Quality of Life in Communities (PDF). Washington, DC: International Economic Development Council. August 2006. pp. 29–33. 
  9. ^ McConnell, Kitty (October 2013). "Powerplay". Columbus CEO Magazine. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Economic Development and Smart Growth: 8 Case Studies on the Connections Between Smart Growth Development and Jobs, Wealth, and Quality of Life in Communities (PDF). Washington, DC: International Economic Development Council. August 2006. pp. 29–33. 
  11. ^ Ball, Brian (3 July 2013). "Columbia Gas commits to more space in Arena District". Columbus Business First. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Ferenchik, Mark. "Arena District offers residents a sense of community". The Columbus Dispatch. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "Arena District Parking Map" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "McPherson Commons". NBC4i. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Arena District Events". Arena District. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Quick Facts". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Brennan, Eamonn. "Men's College Basketball Nation Blog". ESPN. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sites for 2013 tournament announced: Norfolk, Trenton among regional hosts for NCAA tournament". NCAA. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Ohio State University Men's Ice Hockey". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "About Welcome Week / First Time Buckeyes". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "The RED Tour at Nationwide Arena". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "PromoWest Business Profile". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Ballpark Profile". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "About McFerson Commons". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  26. ^ Halbur, Tim. "Looking Forward to the Future in Columbus". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Arena District Events". Arena District. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "OhioHealth Ice Haus". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  30. ^ "Tickets". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  31. ^ "Student Ticket Rush". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  32. ^ "2013-14 Promotions". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "Live the District". Arena District. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "Overview". Northbank Condos. 
  35. ^ "Burnham Square sold with more plans coming soon". Columbus Underground. 
  36. ^ "Homepage". Flats on Vine. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  37. ^ Evans, Walker. "NRI Adding 120 More Apartment Units to Arena District". Columbus Underground. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Arena Crossings 2 Bedroom Townhomes". Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  39. ^ Ball, Brian (8 December 2013). "Buggyworks draws plenty of interest for condo units". Business First. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  40. ^ Lovelace, Craig (10 February 2012). "Shaping Columbus: George Peters's Columbus Buggy Co. might have influenced Henry Ford". Columbus Business First. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  41. ^ Columbus Blue Jackets. "Naming a Team: The Story Behind the Blue Jackets Name". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  42. ^ "THE STORY BEHIND THE CANNON". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  43. ^ Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. "Statues And Monuments - Cannons". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  44. ^ "Columbus Clippers". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 

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