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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus


Written by: Gracie Criger and Gilli Zofan

As Downtown Columbus is continuing to change in many aspects, our research intern, Gracie Criger was able to talk with First Vice President, Gilli Zofan, about the changes relating to retail.

Gilli Zofan brings over 16 years of experience to the real estate industry focusing on both the leasing and sale of retail properties. His vast knowledge of the industry makes him an expert in the field

Describe the downtown Columbus retail market currently:

"Retail in downtown still remains challenging, and now, more than ever, operators really need to find their niche and ensure the quality of their product and service remains of top importance as they continue to navigate the downtown retail landscape. Some of the most important characteristics for a retailer are still a challenge across many parts of the downtown, from daytime population that has been severely impacted since the Coronavirus, to the scarcity of parking, and if found, will almost certainly come at an added cost for the customer who visits downtown. Additionally, although a great sign to always see construction, the large amount of construction that can be found on the roadways around downtown can add to the challenge of customers seeking out a visit to downtown.”

How do the different parts of downtown Columbus make it unique?

“Downtown Columbus is home to some great local pockets of restaurants and retailers, from German Village & Brewery District on the South side, to Franklinton, the Fourth St corridor, Warehouse District, Arena District, to the Short North & Italian Village to name a few, however, the connectivity of these pockets can be challenging, and one thing that is rarely seen is the customers walk from one of these districts to the next, as there is often little to see or do in between, and the time it would take would also be fairly significant.”

Where do you see the future of downtown Columbus from a retail standpoint?

“The future of downtown Columbus is bright, with significant amount of residential growth, this is often the first catalyst of future downtown growth and prosperity. With several empty office towers being converted to residential, like seen by The Bernstein Company’s conversion of the Continental Centre, or The PNC Plaza with a new to market Cameron Mitchell steakhouse named Butcher & Rose on the ground floor, the gaps between the downtown neighborhoods will grow smaller, and the amount of people living in downtown will continue to grow, and with new businesses continuing to make Columbus home, including Intel, the downtown landscape will continue to transform to be a leader in not just the Midwest, but across the nation. As the residential numbers continue to increase, the everyday necessities like grocery will continue to look for locations to serve the downtown neighborhoods, along with the fitness, clothing, and food & beverage that will want to capitalize on the new downtown residents, further fueling the downtowns future growth.”

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