Jordy’s closure signals time to rethink Commons space

The closing of Jordy McTaggart’s Grill & Pub makes it clear that the city needs to re-evaluate its approach to the largest retail space in The Commons.

With the restaurant’s closure Jan. 29, it becomes the third to shutter its doors at 310 Washington St., in downtown Columbus, since the new Commons opened in 2011.

Scotty’s Burger Joint closed in December 2012, but reopened in January 2013 as Detour American Grille & Bar. The second venture lasted only until March 2013.

Jordy McTaggart’s Grill & Pub signed a 10-year lease in December 2013, and opened to the public in May 2014. Mark and Richard Wilcox bought the restaurant in January 2015. But by June 2016, they were $21,000 behind in back rent, utilities, property taxes and late fees to the city’s redevelopment commission. Despite the Columbus Redevelopment Commission working with the owners to get them caught up, more than $15,000 was still owed in January.

The inability of three restaurants to make a go of it in the largest of the retail spaces in The Commons suggests that a new use for the space should be on the table for discussion.

It’s unclear whether the closures resulted from similar factors or each was distinct, but the idea of wanting another restaurant in the 5,510-square-foot space should be cause for pause.

Different types of tenants should be considered. So should dividing the space in two, and examining whether the rent being charged is too high. Public suggestions should be an important consideration.

The Commons would appear to be a prime retail location in downtown Columbus, within walking distance or a short drive for many people, and near other popular downtown destinations. However, the constant turnover creates a bad vibe.

Thinking differently about the space will be crucial as the Columbus Redevelopment Commission tries to figure out a solution.