Thursday, April 29, 2010

Columbus Alive Arts: What's new at Wonderland

Thursday, April 29, 2010 10:34 AM

By Chris DeVille

Playground-style tube slides and mazelike hallways! Yes, the official plans for Wonderland sound wondrous indeed.

An estimated crowd of nearly 1,000 people filtered into the former Wonder Bread factory in
Italian Village last Friday for the first public look at Wonderland, the multipurpose creative
facility set to open in the space later this year.

The event primarily functioned as a fundraiser and pep rally for Wonderland, which is projected
to include artists' studios, rehearsal rooms, a boutique mall, a state-of-the-art recording
facility, shared and private office space, a midsized performance venue, a yoga studio and other amenities.

blog it

After the audience mingled and munched on refreshments for about an hour, Wonderland managers Adam Brouillette, Andrew Dodson, Josh Quinn and investor Kevin Lykens hopped on a makeshift stage to solicit funds, unveil a new address plate emblazoned with the Wonderland logo and walk the crowd through a slideshow of proposed architectural adjustments. David Hunegnaw, the other Wonderland partner, was out of town.

"I'm so thrilled that I get to stand up here and say the words, 'Welcome to Wonderland,'" Quinn said.

Brouillette rehashed the group's vision for Wonderland to catch newbies up to speed, repeating the refrain that the facility's success will test "how well we can work together."

Quinn unveiled the new address plate, a collaboration between the Idea Foundry and artist-designer Anne Holman, calling it an example of the kind of artistic teamwork he hopes Wonderland's "creative ecosystem" will produce in spades.

They invited an architect from BBCO Design on stage to show some artist renderings of proposed layouts for the space. Among the proposed adjustments:

• A mezzanine level will be added for art studios, with a playground-style tube slide as one way to return to ground level.

• The roof will be transformed into a public deck area.

• Blocked-up windows will be reopened to improve natural lighting.

• Hallways will be curved, not straight, to increase anticipation.

Dodson wrapped up the presentation by announcing that anyone who donated money at this event would be honored as a founding donor on a plaque once the facility opens.

Roving performers including Flotation Walls, Trains Across the Sea, Maza Blaska and This Is My Suitcase's Joseph Anthony Camerlengo, who closed out the night.

Earlier this week, Dodson called Friday's event a success and said the Wonderland brass is in the process of fundraising, forming committees and finalizing construction plans.

"We're kicking it into high gear, essentially," Dodson said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 A Great New Site You Should Visit


About Columbus Neighborhoods

Welcome to! We invite you to browse these pages and celebrate the different neighborhoods that collectively make up Columbus, Ohio. We ask in return that you join us in telling the story of central Ohio by sharing your cherished photographs, your favorite video clips, your most amusing or poignant audio clips, or your memories and thoughts around your own particular neighborhood. Thanks for coming along for the fun—your contributions will make this site richer and the celebration of our community more powerful.

Short North
Olde Towne East
University District
German Village

blog it

Inspired by WOSU's six-documentary series, Columbus Neighborhoods (Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North premieres on Monday, March 8, at 8pm on WOSU TV), WOSU and The Columbus Metropolitan Library built this site to offer our neighbors an opportunity to share what's great about their own neighborhoods. The Ohio State University Medical Center, State Auto, AEP Ohio, and Bailey Cavalieri LLC heard about what we were doing (as did Bob and Missy Weiler, Tad and Nancy Jeffrey, Barbara Fergus, the James W. Overstreet Fund of The Columbus Foundation plus a variety of other supporters), and they graciously offered to support these projects because they too believe in the power of community.

Sugardaddy’s ready to debut downtown

Columbus News, Business First, Columbus Newspaper

Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties LLC, the Columbus gourmet bakery known for its brownies and blondies, is planning to open the doors of its shop in the heart of downtown in less than a week.

The company said the grand opening of its location at Gay and High streets is set for May 3. The shop, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, will have a preview opening Wednesday through Friday.

Sugardaddy’s began in 2005 as an online merchant and later opened a store at the Oak Creek Center on Polaris Parkway. The company told Columbus Business First last year that it set its sights on downtown because research tracked a large customer base there.

The company plans to sell 18 of its brownie and blondie varieties, along with biscotti, truffles, cheesecake and ice cream.

blog it

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hubbard Grille opens this summer in the Short North in Rosendales' space

Plenty of speculation has been swirling about the former Rosendales restaurant space in the Short North during the past month, and the details can finally be revealed. A new restaurant concept from the owners of Mezzo Italian Kitchen and Wine called “Hubbard Grille” will be opening at 793 North High Street this summer.

Hubbard Grille will feature American Cuisine that ranges from steaks and seafood to sandwiches and salads, and will be open for lunch, dinner and late-night bar-menu service.

“We’re about 85% finished with the menu at this point, and we’re still refining everything,” said Owner Sheila Trautner. “It’s going to be a new concept, and much different than what we’re doing at Mezzo in Gahanna.”

blog it

“‘Approachable’ is the most important descriptor for me when it comes to the menu,” added General Manager Jon Cohen. “To a certain extent, we’ll be offering comfort food… we have some great baby-back ribs that we think will become a staple, but we’ll also have vegetarian and vegan options for sure.”

The menu will have several additional signature items but will also rotate regularly to feature local and seasonal products.

“We already change the menu at Mezzo three or four times per year to offer seasonal items and we do our best to get the most local and fresh produce and proteins here,” said Jon. “That will be the same for Hubbard Grille as well.”

The restaurant space is getting a significant interior makeover that should carry the theme of approachability throughout.

“We want people to feel comfortable walking in in T-Shirts and Flip Flops in the summer and sitting at the bar and having a drink and a bite to eat, but also cater to a more formal business dinner going on a few tables over,” added Jon.

The new restaurant will occupy both spaces formerly divided into Rosendales and Details. The dividing wall in between has already been removed and the bar will be repositioned toward the front of the space.

“The most exciting part of this project is to be able to participate in being a part of the Short North community,” said Jon. “We want to contribute in anyway that we can to the community… we’re looking to move right in and immediately add to the Short North experience.”

Hubbard Grille is still a few months away from opening, but the online buzz is being followed closely by the management team.

“We had hoped to keep things quiet for another month or so,” laughed Sheila. “But we absolutely love and respect that people are already talking about us. We want to appeal to those folks who we hope will come in and enjoy themselves.”

“At this point in time it’s a little to early to give an exact grand opening date, but we’re planning on being open sometime this summer,” added Jon. “Until then, all buzz is good buzz.”

More information will be available soon at

Friday, April 23, 2010

March home sales up 54 percent in central Ohio

Posted: 4/22/2010
Columbus Board of REALTORS®
There were 1,704 central Ohio homes sold during March of 2010. This is 54.1 percent higher than the previous month and 25.3 percent higher than March of 2009. First quarter saw 3,873 homes sell in central Ohio which is 12.5 percent more than home sales during January through March of 2009.

There were 4,949 residential homes put on the market last month – a 44.3 percent increase over new listings the previous month and 32.8 percent higher than homes listed in March of 2009.

“The central Ohio housing market is on fire right now,” exclaims Sue Lusk-Gleich, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “There’s no question the home buyer tax credits have a lot to do with our market activity. But the significant increase in listings as well as rising sale prices are clear evidence that our local market is regaining its strength.”
blog it

The average central Ohio home is selling for $149,277 this year which is 7.8 percent higher than the sale price of a home sold between January and March of 2009. Homes sold during the month of March for an average of $151,719 – a 5.9 increase over last year.

According to Lusk-Gleich, “Home prices have shown steady increases for the last few months – another key factor in any market recovery. However, when you consider that the national median price of a home is over $170,000, central Ohio housing remains a very affordable market.”

First-time home buyers can recoup ten percent of the purchase price of the residence up to $8,000. Current homeowners who have been in the same principal residence for five consecutive years during the previous eight years can get up to $6,500 back. In order to take advantage of the credits, a contract must be in place by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30, 2010.

The Columbus Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) serves all of Franklin, Delaware, Fayette, Madison, Morrow and Union Counties and parts of Champagne, Clark, Hocking, Licking, Fairfield, Knox, Logan, Marion, Pickaway and Ross Counties.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Update on Cooper Stadium racetrack plans

Walls will deaden noise, developer says; critics leery

Thursday,  April 22, 2010 2:53 AM


Walls up to 35 feet high would trap noise inside the proposed Cooper Stadium racetrack,
according to a developer's sound study.

Still, some residents at a meeting last night doubted that Arshot Investment Corp. could
adequately deaden the noise to protect their home values.

A member of the Southwest Area Commission put this question to Arshot principal Bill
Schottenstein: Would he live near the track?

Yes, he said.

"We wouldn't be sitting here if we thought it would have any negative impact," said
Schottenstein, a Bexley resident whose company has interests Downtown and in the Brewery and Arena
districts. "We're the ones who ultimately run the risk."

 blog it

More than 100 people jammed into a room at New Horizons United Methodist Church for a Southwest Area Commission meeting to hear about Arshot's noise study, the next step in what has become a bitter fight over whether a racetrack at Cooper Stadium would help or harm the area.

Arshot has an option to buy the 46-acre property for a proposed $30 million development that would turn the former home of the Columbus Clippers into an egg-shaped, half-mile racetrack to be called Cooper Park.

The plan also includes a trackside hotel, restaurant and a conference center, an automotive-research center and technology center that would create 300 jobs.

Noise consultant Chris Menge, based in Burlington, Mass., said the sound-absorbing walls meet city noise standards.

But a local acoustics consultant, Ken Scott, argued that Columbus' standards are too weak. And German Village resident Jerome Smith said Columbus is "totally impotent" in enforcing noise regulations.

Aram Gosdanian, a property manager for the nearby Canonby Court apartments, said his residents want the jobs.

"If you build it, my tenants will come," he said.

The group ROAR Columbus (Redevelop Our Area Responsibly) has fought the racetrack idea and will be presenting the results from its own noise study to the commission on May 19. The Central Ohio Sierra Club also opposes the track.

Arshot has said the track would host 16 to 20 races a year, possibly ARCA stock-car and sprint-car events, along with other events that could include rodeos, snowboarding and BMX biking.

The area commission will vote on the proposal some time after the May meeting.

In March, Franklin County commissioners gave Arshot until May 3, 2011, to buy the property for $3.4million. Arshot must apply to the city by Sept. 3 to rezone the property or the county could back out.

In January, people representing NASCAR's Jeff Gordon said the racing star was involved in the racetrack proposal and would help design the half-mile track.

Franklinton resident Anita Lauer said she felt more comfortable about the idea after listening to the noise study. But she wonders if it really would create spinoff development.

"The baseball games never brought anything into Franklinton," she said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green Your Home This Earth Day (Thurs 4/22) with Cost-Saving Remodeling Tax Credits

clipped from

RISMEDIA, April 21, 2010—As the 40th anniversary of Earth Day approaches (Thursday, April 22), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is reminding homeowners that they can use fewer resources and save money by taking advantage of federal energy efficiency tax credits through the end of the year.

Homeowners who purchase qualifying water heaters, windows, air conditioning units and other appliances, insulation and roofing can be eligible for tax code section 25C tax credit, equivalent to 30% of the cost. There’s a $1,500 overall limit for purchases made in 2009 and 2010.

For more information, visit

blog it

“You can save money, save energy, and be a good steward of the Earth’s resources,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Donna Shirey, a remodeler in Issaquah, Wash. “I can’t think of a more appropriate way to commemorate Earth Day.”

Carolyn Taylor of Columbia, S.C., will enjoy Earth Day with a new tankless water heater that supplies plenty of hot water for her active family of four. Remodeler and NAHB member Pete Williams of ATherm Remodeling in Columbia suggested the switch because it was less expensive than relocating her existing gas water heater during a whole-home renovation project.

When Williams told her about the energy-efficiency tax credit the family would also enjoy, that was the icing on the cake, Taylor said. “Any time you can do something that makes a home more energy efficient and saves you money, of course you should do it,” she said.

Remodeler Shawn Nelson in Burnsville, Minn., helped homeowners combine the federal credits with a state program that offered rebates for qualifying windows as part of renovation projects he completed over the winter.

In a statement last week to the House Ways and Means Committee, NAHB urged Congress to extend the section 25C credit past its December 2010 expiration date and to reinstate the section 45L $2,000 tax credit for builders of energy-efficient homes, which expired at the end of 2009.

A more generous credit for appliances that use renewable energy is in effect through 2016. The section 25D credit applies to 30% of the total cost of solar panels for electricity or hot water, wind power equipment and the installation of geothermal heat pump systems. This credit can be used in conjunction with new or existing homes.

“These renewable systems are more expensive up front, but may offer significant savings in the long term,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a builder in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “Both the 25C and the 25D credits are worth investigating, and you’ll get helpful information from the NAHB website, your local home builders association or the NAHB Remodeler member you choose to help you with your renovation and improvement plans.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

A simple Google Search...try it yourself :-)

Columbus' free yard-waste pickup resumes today

Paid service little-used, so where did leaves go?

Sunday, April 18, 2010 2:59 AM


For many Columbus residents pulling weeds, twigs and leaves from flower beds and yards, the resumption of free curbside yard-waste pickup heralds a chorus of hallelujahs.

Steve Panico of North Linden paid for weekly curbside yard-waste pickup.
Steve Panico of North Linden paid for weekly curbside yard-waste pickup.
Yard waste sits in Rader Alley in German Village last week. After the city stopped paying for yard-waste pickup, only about 13,000 households paid a fee to get six months of service.
Yard waste sits in Rader Alley in German Village last week. After the city stopped paying for yard-waste pickup, only about 13,000 households paid a fee to get six months of service.

"Oh, my God, yes," said Steve Panico, a North Linden resident who spends up to 15 hours a week this time of year tending his flowerbeds, trees and yard. He's the kind of guy who spreads 100 bags of mulch each year.

"When I cut the grass, I'm always bagging it," he said. "I just think the convenience for me to put it out there is huge."

Starting Monday, the city will resume weekly yard-waste pickup for 227,000 households.

blog it

To save money, the city cut the service 14 months ago and left residents with a choice. They could pay $49.50 every six months for what had been a free city service, or haul their yard waste to free drop-off centers across the city.

About 13,000 households paid the fee. Panico's was one of them. And the drop-off sites didn't notice much of an uptick.

So what about the tens of thousands of other residents? Some were bad. Very bad.

"It was discouraging to see people put (yard waste) in the garbage can," said Panico's neighbor, Christine Gale.

Jen Miller was discouraged, too. "I bet a lot of people threw it in their regular trash. That's what I witnessed in German Village," said Miller, conservation coordinator for the Ohio Sierra Club.

After Christmas, many people tossed their trees onto their curbs. Two Christmas trees were tossed by the exit ramp of I-71 at E. North Broadway and sat there for months.

The Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio - the Nail-A-Dumper folks - received 128 complaints of illegal dumping between March 2009 and last month, compared with 89 in the previous 12 months.

The Franklin County Landfill saw a slight increase in yard waste hauled in by city garbage trucks, said John Remy, a spokesman for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

And there was a "noticeable" increase in storm-sewer blockages in the past year, said city utilities spokesman George Zonders.

Dumping in ravines? "We have had a little bit of that," said Christopher O'Leary, who lives near Glen Echo Ravine in the University District and is a member of Friends of the Ravines. "Even when there was leaf pickup, we would have people dumping."

Many residents were angry that the city didn't restart yard-waste pickup after voters passed a 0.5 percentage-point income-tax hike in August. But the city didn't start collecting the new tax money until October, and a one-year contract for the fee-based service with Rumpke didn't end until this month.

Rumpke is happy that it can collect from all households again.

That's because the company stands to be paid close to $3.7 million by the city this year, thanks to a new three-year deal that the City Council approved in February.

Rumpke took a financial hit in the past 12 months, when it was paid only $1million.

In fact, Rumpke dumped 43 percent less yard waste at Kurtz Bros. last year than in 2008. And residential drop-offs remained about the same, said Kurtz Bros. manager Jeff Stemler.

That tells him one thing.

"People found other ways" of disposing of yard waste, he said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Short North Wedding Walk Takes Place on Sunday

On Sunday, April 18th, the retail group known as the Short North Wedding Collective will host their second “Wedding Walk” event starting at 11am. Nine businesses in the neighborhood will be participating and offering services from wedding dress sizing to catering to cakes to jewelry to photography.
“We were met with such positive enthusiasm last season, that we have determined to make this a bi-annual event for our Columbus couples,” states Kristin Cooke of Big Rock Little Rooster.
The nine participating businesses include Bakery Gingham, Big Rock Little Rooster, Bliss, C Studios, Collier West, Marcella’s, Max the Salon, On Paper and Rose Bredl. Collectively, these boutique shops will serve as a one-stop wedding planning service during this event.
 blog it

“The Wedding Collective is another way for us to showcase the community’s talents, tools and trade skills as they relate to the wedding industry”, notes Suzi West of Collier West. “Before this collaboration, I don’t think people were aware that we offered so much in such a small stretch.”

The Wedding Walk takes place between West Poplar Avenue and First Avenue in the Short North starting at 11am. Reservations can be made via phone at 614.294.9378 or via email at

More info can be found online at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is here: Sign up for text alerts for street cleaning so you won't get towed.

A great service. Go to their website for full details.
clipped from

Subscribe to alerts

Just text one of the keywords below to HOLMES (465637)

and we'll remind you to move your car. That's it!

TOW CAMPUS - for OSU campus alerts

TOW HARRISON - for Harrison West alerts

TOW ITALIAN - for Italian Village alerts

TOW NEIL - for Neil Ave alerts

TOW GERMAN - for German Village alerts

TOW EASTGATE - for Eastgate Garden alerts

TOW BUSINESS - for Central Business District alerts

Alerts will be sent the day before and the morning of street-sweeping in each area.

Standard message charges apply

blog it

April Calendar

Mortgage rates for purchasing and refinancing are headed up

clipped from

Days of 4% loans are over; 30-year fixed rate is now at 5.31%

Thursday, April 8, 2010 2:55 AM

By Alan Zibel and Adrian Sainz

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The era of record-low mortgage rates is over.

The average rate on a 30-year loan has jumped from about 5 percent to more than 5.3 percent in just the past week. As mortgages get more expensive, more would-be homeowners are priced out of the market - a threat to the fragile recovery in the housing market.

And if you wanted to refinance at a super-low rate, you might have missed your chance. Mortgages under 4percent are still available, but only for loans that reset in five or seven years, probably to higher rates.

Rates are going up because of the improving economy and the end of a government push to make mortgages cheaper.

blog it

For people putting their homes on the market this spring, rising rates might actually be a good thing. Buyers are racing to complete their purchases and lock in something decent before rates go even higher.

"We are seeing some panic among potential buyers who have not found houses yet," said Craig Strent, co-founder of Apex Home Loans in Bethesda, Md. "They're saying: 'Man, I should have found a house three weeks ago or last month when rates are lower.'"

For every 1 percentage point rise in rates, 300,000 to 400,000 would-be buyers are priced out of the market in a given year, the National Association of Realtors says.

The rule of thumb is that every 1 percentage point increase in mortgage rates reduces a buyer's purchasing power by about 10 percent.

For example, taking out a 30-year mortgage for $300,000 at a rate of 5 percent will cost you about $1,600 a month, not including taxes and insurance. But the same monthly payment at a rate of 6 percent will only get you a loan of $270,000.

Good economic news is the first reason rates are rising: U.S. government debt, a safe haven during the recession, is losing its appeal as investors turn to stocks and riskier corporate bonds.

Lower demand for debt means the government has to offer a better interest rate to sell its bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is closely tracked by mortgage rates, hovered above 4 percent this week, the highest since June, before falling back slightly.

The second reason is the Federal Reserve. Last week, the Fed ended its program to push mortgage rates down by buying up mortgage-backed securities. When demand from the central bank was high, rates plummeted to about 4.7 percent for much of last year. And business boomed for mortgage lenders as homeowners refinanced adjustable-rate mortgages into fixed loans.

As of yesterday, the Mortgage Bankers Association put the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5.31 percent. One week ago, it was 5.04 percent.

Many analysts forecast rates will rise as high as 6percent by early next year. If they go much higher, the already shaky housing recovery could stall. And that could slow the broader economic rebound.

In a normal market, with home prices steadily rising, a jump in rates doesn't cause a big dip in demand. That's because people know their homes eventually will rise in value, and are willing to accept a higher payment.

But now home prices are flat nationally and still falling in some places. Potential buyers are nervous about jumping in.

"In this environment, any rise in mortgage rates does significant damage because people don't think they're going to get their money back" if prices fall, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

For people who bought their first home in the 1980s, when rates stayed over 10percent for several years, paying 6 percent for a home loan might seem like a steal. But it's coming as a shock to many first-time homebuyers.

In Overland Park, Kan., Sirena Barlow has been shopping for a something around $130,000 and wants to sign a contract this month, to take advantage of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

Barlow has told her landlord she's moving, so her stress level is high. Her real-estate agent, Michael Maher, has been doing his best to calm Barlow and other clients, but rising rates are making them anxious.

"It's like giving hyperactive kids ice cream," he said. "It has really taken the ones who are focused on buying and amped them up a little bit."