Downtown project aims at addressing multiple needs

As Columbus grows, so does it needs. In particular, places for city residents and visitors to stay.

A downtown development project that city officials are pursuing is a good step and welcome idea toward meeting that need.

The mayor, city council and redevelopment commission are pursuing a multi-use hotel and apartment development on about 10 acres at Second and Lafayette streets, a project estimated to cost about $60 million. The project would include market-rate apartments and townhomes, plus ground-floor retail space in one of the buildings, green space off the street and adequate parking.

Columbus’ growing sports tourism industry has increased the need for more hotels so visitors don’t have to find lodging in other cities, tourism officials said. The benefit would be more tourism money staying in the community.

Employers have expressed the need for more short-term and extended-stay options for executives and employees.

And while not agreed upon in the criteria, city leaders also have discussed the possibility of conference center space on the property.

The proposed project would redevelop three city-owned vacant parcels of land along a busy city thoroughfare, which would be a great boost for downtown Columbus.

While a challenge exists because one key piece of adjacent land is privately owned and would have to be purchased, the good news is two developers have emerged with strong ideas and credentials for making the city’s vision a reality.

The project seems to have multiple benefits for the community, and city leaders should be applauded for exploring it.