February 27, 2020

Ohio Center Garage Opens for Business

After nearly a year and a half of construction, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority-owned Ohio Center Garage opened for business on February 25.

Completed in time for two major events at the Greater Columbus Convention Center – the Arnold Sports Festival (March 5-8) and the Columbus International Auto Show (March 19-22) – the $24.5 million project offers patrons 650 new parking spaces. That brings the total number of convention parking spaces to more than 4,700.  

The Ohio Center Garage is located on the east side of the Convention Center’s Battelle Hall and will be primarily accessible from Third Street. While the latest technology will make parking and payments easier and more efficient, the garage comes with an artistic touch, much as the Convention Authority’s South, Vine Street and Goodale garages do. 

Night travelers heading into downtown on Third Street, will be mesmerized by the Garage’s east façade, wrapped in waving sheets of an architectural polycarbonate mesh material, and lit by LED lights that can shift colors continually. The design was inspired by environmental artist and sculptor Ned Kahn.

Parkers using elevator lobbies and the north stairwell will soon be greeted by ceramic tile art installations similar to those already in place at the three other Convention Authority garages. The tile art is scheduled for installation later in the spring, when the weather is warmer. 

Designed by architect Schooley Caldwell and constructed through the combined efforts of Corna Kokosing Construction and Elford Construction (CKE), the Ohio Center Garage will serve a growing number of Convention Center visitors as well as guests at the expanded Hilton Columbus Downtown, whose second tower will open in 2022.

Throughout construction, CKE kept neighboring businesses up to date on progress and on any activities that might affect traffic or business patterns. In addition, CKE took special steps to protect neighboring business interests. For example, the builders rented rooms facing the construction to ensure the Drury Inn would not lose business from empty rooms it could not otherwise sell due to the nearby construction activity. 

While the Ohio Center Garage opened in late February, an elevated pedestrian walkway linking the garage and the Convention Center will be completed in early summer. A temporary, weather-protected walkway will be available for patrons to use between the Garage opening and completion of the permanent bridge.

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