Will City Center Demolition Spur Residential, Retail Growth?

The CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation is defending the demolition of the City Center Mall as the best option for the site. Guy Worley spoke Wednesday to the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

The 20-year-old City Center will fall to the wrecking ball this summer. In its place, says the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation’s Guy Worley, will be a nearly nine acre park dubbed Columbus Commons. But in the years after that, the city hopes the area around the commons will develop into a mix of residential space and offices, something Worley says that will encourage the return of retailers.

“We talked to a lot of the retailers and the retailers were telling us that one of the reasons that they had left was that frankly there wasn’t enough population downtown to support retail,” Worley said.

But attracting more residents downtown has been somewhat difficult says Worley because of the high cost of housing and because of the U.S. housing crisis. “One of the reasons that those developments are not filling up is because of the price points that are being offered and the folks that would move into those residential units cannot sell their homes in the suburbs,” Worley says. “If you can’t sell your home you can’t move into a new home.”

Worley says he hopes to see more affordable downtown housing for potential residents in the future.