Chuck Williams

What do you want to see downtown?

The 1200 block of Broadway is undergoing a transformation.
The 1200 block of Broadway is undergoing a transformation. chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com

Let’s play a little parlor game, shall we?

Since it’s my game and my parlor, I get to set the rules. Man, I am starting to like this game already.

OK, here we go. Ready?

We’re going to do a little dreaming here. If you haven’t seen it yet, you probably will pretty soon. The Ledger-Enquier reported that a 106-room high-end Marriott-brand hotel will be locating in the 1200 block of Broadway. The AC Hotel is being planned by Columbus-based RAM Hotels.

It is the second hotel announcement for the 1200 block of Broadway this year. The Columbus-based Pezold companies are planning a Hampton Inn on the same side of the street just across from the new Columbus State University College of Education and Health Sciences.

If 20 years ago you could have envisioned two hotels in the 1200 block of Broadway, you are way smarter than I am, and I went past that block every single day. I didn’t see it.

If you actually thought that there would be a whitewater course in the Chattahoochee River, you are probably a dreamer – because that’s all it was, a dream.

What is happening downtown is starting to happen quickly. It is a 20-year overnight success story. A new restaurant here, a new restaurant there; a hotel here, a hotel there; a RiverCenter here, a Columbus State campus there. It all begins to add up.

OK, back to the parlor game.

Here’s what I want you to do: dream a little. What do you want to see in downtown Columbus over the next decade? No idea or suggestion is too big; and none is too small.

I will start – since it is my game, I get to go first.

I want to see retail, major retail, maybe a Macy’s, come downtown. Some people won’t like this idea, but as downtown becomes exceedingly important again, why not return to the one thing that made it special?

I love all of the specialty shops that are opening, but what about a real department store? And I am not talking about Wal-Mart.

I am talking about making old-school new again.

And, for good measure, I will throw out a second suggestion. I told you it was my game and I get to make the rules.

The second thing is pretty simple: quit calling the place uptown. It is, and always has been, downtown. When you say “downtown Columbus,” you have told folks everything they need to know.

OK, there is my idea. Give me yours and put a little thought into it. I know some of you will be wiseguys, but that’s cool, too. Let’s have some fun with this and see where it goes.

This game is much easier if you are playing this on Facebook or ledger-enquirer.com – just post your comments. If you are still in the last century and are reading this on dead pine trees, please leave me a phone message or send an email.

But if you are still in the last century, you may be going downtown to buy a wig.

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