A Glimpse at 1960s Preservation Efforts and the Mystery of the Alfred E. Kelley House

In my research into finding photos and information on historic buildings in Columbus, I have come across some interesting documents related to why some buildings were demolished. Take the Alfred E. Kelley House, which once stood at 282 E. Broad Street. Built over the course of about a year between 1837-1838, the house was a classic Greek Revival. Over the many years of its existence, the house functioned in multiple capacities, including as a school. During those other uses, the architecture was drastically altered, and by 1960, the year the house was proposed to be demolished to build the Christopher Inn, the historic nature had been “severely damaged”. Still, the house had survived 122 years by then, and a history-minded group of people got together to try and save it with the intent of restoration and operating a period museum.

The Kelley House in 1898.


Photo taken around 1900.


Photo taken around 1900.


The Kelley House in 1958.


The rear of the Kelley House in 1958.


An interior room of the Kelley House in 1958.

In early January 1962, the efforts to save the house during the previous year were detailed by one Dixie Sayre Miller, chairman of the Kelley House Committee, which had been formed on March 24th, 1961. The goal of the committee was as follows:

“Considering the time element and the importance of Kelley to the State**, the committee decided to ask the legislature for money for which to move the house intact. We, later, would seek private money with which to restore it.”

The Committee had some powerful allies at the time. State Rep. Chris McNamara and John Vorys, former delegate to the UN, were both in leadership roles. Given this, even during a time when preservation efforts took a clear backseat to development, the Committee did meet with some initial success. The Kelley House legislative subcommittee was able to pass an appropriations bill in July 1961 for the amount of $95,000. The governor vetoed the bill, calling the appropriation “frivolous”. In August, a member of the Committee, Lee Skilken, had the idea to solicit local contractors to volunteer in taking down the house in order for it to be moved. When the idea was presented to the property owners on September 5th, it was rejected because it could not be guaranteed that the property would be clear in time for construction to begin. Instead, the owners wanted a paid contractor to do the work so that the timeline could be met. The land had to be cleared by October 15th, 1961, and the Committee had to have the money to pay the contractor by September 15th.

Here is where the story becomes a bit shady and political. On September 6th, members of the committee went to the Governor for advice on how to proceed. He recommended that they go to the Emergency Board, which would be able to issue a grant towards the project. The Governor promised he would “not object, would not fight it and would not make a political issue of it”.
On September 15th, the money deadline, the Committee had raised only $11,000 towards the $35,000 cost of the paid contractor. However, the following day, they caught a break. Another contractor came forward offering to take down the house for just $20,000 and would begin immediately. Further, even though the Committee did not have the full $20,000, the contractor trusted that the Committee would have raised the amount by the time the work was completed. I’m not sure if such deals would ever occur in today’s environment, but they still happened 53 years ago.
Only 2 days after the contractor began to take down the house, the Emergency Board awarded a $20,000 grant to the Committee and the house was fully dismantled before the deadline of October 15th. Stonework and foundations of the house were moved to a holding site at Franklin Park, while interior detailing was stored “in a city building”, all waiting for funding to be assembled and restored at a new site. This new site was listed as being in Wolfe Park on “East Broad at Nelson Road”.

So, why isn’t the Alfred E. Kelley house at Wolfe Park today? Two things happened after October 15th. First, the Governor lied. On the very day that the Committee was supposed to pay the contractor, they received a call stating that the Governor had deemed the Emergency Board grant unconstitutional and was withholding the money, despite being his recommendation that the Committee seek the grant from it in the first place. This also after a promise that he would not interfere or stand in the way. The Committee considered legal action, but decided a costly court process was not “advisable”.

Without the $20,000, the Committee was only able to pay the contractor $6,000, who then threatened legal action for the full amount. Since the Committee had neglected to be incorporated, each member was personally responsible for a share of what was owed. By December 1961, the Committee had become incorporated and had managed to pay an additional $2,000, but still owed the majority of the contract.

That concluded the events through January 1962. After that time, there are mysteries that remain unknown (at least as far as I can tell). First, what happened to the Committee? Did it end up raising the amount to pay off the contractor or did they end up in court? Why had the Governor decided to prevent the Committee from getting the grant? Did he have a political axe to grind with members of the Committee? Finally, and far more importantly, what happened to the Kelley House? The materials were in storage in early 1962, but the house was never rebuilt. Were they destroyed? Did the contractor take possession of them if the Committee was unable to pay? Are they still sitting in some warehouse somewhere covered in half a century’s worth of dust? We may never know, though I suspect that someone out there has the answers.

The irony of a Dispatch article from the fall of 1961.

**Kelley helped save the state from bankruptcy during the Panic of 1837 by offering up his house, possessions and business interests as collateral.

Edit 7/18/2014:
I guess research pays off, and now, at least part of the mystery is solved. As mentioned above, part of the house’s remains, particularly the stone and brick portions, were stored at Franklin Park after the demolition in 1961. Five years later in 1966, these were moved to the Ohio Expositions Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. By then, the plans no longer called for putting the house back together and restoring it. Instead, the stone materials were planned to be incorporated into a new Ohio Historical Center in the late 1960s, presumably the one that sits adjacent to the fairgrounds today. But that plan also fell through. Today, the material is currently in the hands of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. This still leaves many questions unanswered, such as where the interior portions of the house ended up, why none of the material was reused in Columbus and how they ended up in Cleveland. Perhaps an email to the WRHS is in order.

An Examination of Columbus’ International Migration

First, let’s take a look at the total of international immigrants becoming legal citizens each year in the Columbus metro.

Online Graphing
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As can be seen, the totals seem to be on a trend of increasing over time, but not significantly.
The 5 year combined totals are:
2004-2008: 24,377
2009-2013: 25,418

But where are all these people coming from? Luckily, we have that answer, and it may surprise you. I added up the total for the entire 10 year period, as well as broken down into the 5-year periods for all nations.

2004-2008 Nations of Origin for International Immigrants to the Columbus Metro
(All Nations with at least 150 Immigrants to Columbus)
1. Somalia: 4,322
2. India: 2,080
3. Ghana: 1,667
4. China: 1,389
5. Ethiopia: 1,069
6. Kenya: 922
7. Mexico: 556
8. Sierra Leon: 449
9. Philippines: 434
10. Nigeria: 400
11. Canada: 389
12. Mauritania: 377
13. South Korea: 355
14. United Kingdom: 347
15. Vietnam: 347
16. Russia: 313
17. Ukraine: 306
18. Liberia: 304
19. Morocco: 298
20. Pakistan: 287
21. Jordan: 284
22. Egypt: 245
23. Guatemala: 222
24. Bangladesh: 221
25. Senegal: 214
26. Taiwan: 201
27. Japan: 198
28. Guinea: 191
29. Dominican Republic: 176
30. Iran: 174
31. Colombia: 170
32. Peru: 158

Somalia may be expected in its very dominant position at #1, but the list becomes decidedly mixed the further down you go.

2009-2013 Nations of Origin for International Immigrants to the Columbus Metro
1. Somalia: 2,988
2. India: 2,267
3. Ghana: 1,903
4. China: 1,299
5. Ethiopia: 1,233
6. Kenya: 1,030
7. Iraq: 729
8. Mexico: 622
9. Bhutan: 573
10. Philippines: 502
11. Nigeria: 431
12. Sierra Leon: 424
13. Canada: 379
14. Pakistan: 375
15. Jordan: 358
16. Nepal: 352
17. Senegal: 350
18. Morocco: 330
19. Burma: 328
20. South Korea: 320
21. Dominican Republic: 306
21. Mauritania: 300
22. Guinea: 291
23. United Kingdom: 280
24. Cameroon: 277
25. Bangladesh: 262
26. Vietnam: 255
27. Liberia: 233
28. Eritrea: 232
29. Egypt: 229
30. Russia: 211
31. Iran: 207
32. Japan: 184
33. Ukraine: 161
34. Algeria: 153

The top of the list didn’t change significantly in the most recent 5 years as far as the order goes. New countries seemed to pop up out of nowhere, like Bhutan and Nepal, and more nations had at least 150 immigrants than the earlier period.

Finally, let’s look at the top immigrant origins for the entire 10-year period. For all nations that provided at least 300 immigrants.
1. Somalia: 7,320
2. India: 4,347
3. Ghana: 3,570
4. China: 2,688
5. Ethiopia: 2,302
6. Kenya: 1,952
7. Mexico: 1,178
8. Philippines: 936
9. Sierra Leon: 873
10. Nigeria: 831
11. Iraq: 790
12. Canada: 768
13. South Korea: 675
14. Pakistan: 662
15. Jordan: 642
16. Mauritania: 637
17. Morocco: 628
18. United Kingdom: 627
19. Vietnam: 602
20. Bhutan: 573
21. Senegal: 564
22. Liberia: 537
23. Russia: 524
24. Bangladesh: 483
25. Dominican Republic: 482
26. Guinea: 482
27. Egypt: 474
28. Ukraine: 467
29. Cameroon: 419
30. Nepal: 388
31. Japan: 382
32. Iran: 381
33. Eritrea: 365
34. Burma: 349
35. Taiwan: 331
36. Peru: 305
37. Colombia: 304

Do these immigration stats surprise you?

Before and After- July 2014 Edition

The Hippodrome Theater
Operated from October 26th, 1914 to December 31st, 1933.
Address: 77 N. High Street, Downtown
Seats: 300+
First movie shown: “The Nightingale” with Ethel Barrymore
Last movie shown: Unknown
Opening Admission: 10 cents

Photo of the entrance to the Hippodrome Theater, 1915.

The silent-era Hippodrome Theater was developed by G.E. Overton, who took over the Bonnett Jewelry store that occupied the building previously. News articles at the time of its opening described the décor in this way:

The little theater, which seats over 300, is neatly decorated in yellow. The lobby is attractive in white marble and the foyer is in yellow and gold. There is no stage; the picture being projected against a large screen as in most picture theaters.

The Hipp, as it was referred by, had a 6-piece orchestra under the direction of W.H. Claspill. It was the first movie theater in Columbus to have an orchestra.

There seems to be a bit of confusion on just when this theater opened. The official first movie shown there was in 1914, but by some accounts, the theater actually opened in April, 1910. Also, there is some mystery on the lone photograph above. Some list it as having been originally taken in 1915, but others have it listed from 1934, after the theater had closed.

The current view of the site.

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The Park Theater
Operated until November 24, 1893. The date it opened is unknown.
Address: 217 N. High Street, Downtown
Seats: Unknown

The Park Theater began operations sometime in the 1880s or very early 1890s, and may have operated long after 1893 if not for a disaster from the building just to its south, the Chittenden Hotel. In 1889, Henry Chittenden purchased the office building of the B&O Railroad, added 2 floors and spent $400,000 (an enormous sum at the time) converting and renovating the building into a luxury hotel. In 1890, a fire broke out and gutted the entire building, but spared neighboring businesses like the Park Theater.

The second Chittenden Hotel. The Park Theater building can be seen on the very right. The photo is from 1892.

Chittenden decided to rebuild, and the 2nd Chittenden Hotel was completed in 1892. This second hotel had its own theater, the Henrietta, which was still partially under construction on November 24th, 1893. That evening at around 8pm, a fire started during a performance there. The fire originated in the auditorium, in an area that was still under construction and spread into the seating area itself. Once the flames breached the theater, strong winds quickly spread the fire and began to burn the hotel as well as surrounding buildings, including the one that housed the Park Theater. By the time the fire burned itself out just the next morning, both theaters, the hotel, a drug store, saloon, shoe house and clothing shop were all completely destroyed.

The second Chittenden and Park Theater, November 1893.

The Park Theater, November 25th, 1893.

Improbably, despite 2 hotels in the same locating burning down, Chittenden rebuilt for yet a 3rd time, with the largest and grandest version of all- not to mention with far better fire-resistant construction. The third time, it seems, was the charm, and the hotel survived from its completion in 1895 to it’s final demolition in 1973.

The unlucky Park Theater itself never rebuilt, though the lot itself had a new commercial building in its spot by 1895. It also faced the wrecking ball in 1973.

The current location of where the Chittenden and Park Theater once stood.

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Columbus Metro Density vs. Peer and Midwest Metros

No, this is not a repost. Awhile back, I did a post on population by mile marker from “City Hall”. You can find that post here: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=1079
In the post, I compared Columbus with the 14 other largest Midwest metros.

Over the years, I’ve learned that Columbus has a very suburban reputation, meaning that it is perceived to have very low density throughout, especially because it aggressively annexed suburban areas into the city limits decades ago. With those claims, I wondered what the density would be if Columbus’ area size was scaled down to others to find out if it really deserves the suburban reputation. Bare with me, because there is a lot to look at.

First, I used Columbus’ 18 peer metros (population 1.5-2.5 million) as well as the 14 large Midwest metros. Since there was some overlap in the 2 groups, it made for a total group comparison of 27. So a fairly sizeable group. Next, I used the mile marker population, which in the City Hall census analysis is made up of circles going out from the center. So it’s just a matter of finding the area of each circle and dividing the population into that. What’s left is the density by area.

Density at Mile Marker 1, with an Area of 3.14 Square Miles.

2000———————————-2010
1. Chicago: 42,492.4______________________ 1. Chicago:57,870.7
2. Minneapolis: 36,801.6__________________ 2. Minneapolis: 39,339.5
3. Providence, RI: 36,476.1_______________ 3. Providence, RI: 36,693.0
4. San Jose, CA: 31,854.8_________________ 4. San Jose, CA: 33,438.9
5. Las Vegas: 27,618.8____________________ 5. Milwaukee: 27,471.7
6. Milwaukee: 26,755.1____________________ 6. Portland, OR: 25,987.6
7. Grand Rapids, MI: 25,748.1_____________ 7. Las Vegas: 25,069.1
8. Pittsburgh: 25,570.7___________________ 8. Grand Rapids, MI: 24,080.6
9. Cincinnati: 22,728.0___________________ 9. Pittsburgh: 23,464.3
10. Portland, OR: 21,256.1________________ 10. Austin, TX: 23,149.4
11. Toledo: 20,973.6______________________ 11. Cincinnati: 20,781.5
12. Austin, TX: 20,301.9__________________ 12. San Antonio, TX: 18,596.8
13. San Antonio, TX: 20,156.7_____________ 13. Omaha: 17,905.7
14. Akron: 19,946.2_______________________ 14. Toledo: 17,751.3
15. Omaha: 17,922.6_______________________ 15. Akron: 17,106.7
16. Dayton: 16,311.5______________________ 16. Columbus: 15,817.5
17. Columbus: 16,151.6____________________ 17. Nashville: 15,529.3
18. Indianapolis: 15,865.6________________ 18. Sacramento, CA: 15,512.7
19. Nashville: 15,554.4___________________ 19. Charlotte, NC: 14,873.9
20. Sacramento, CA: 15,385.7______________ 20. Indianapolis: 14,356.4

Density at Mile Marker 2, with an Area of 12.57 Square Miles.
2000————————————–2010
1. Chicago: 22,808.1______________________ 1. Chicago: 25,339.9
2. San Jose, CA: 18,854.7_________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 19,696.3
3. Minneapolis: 17,936.8__________________ 3. Minneapolis: 18,212.2
4. Milwaukee: 16,799.9____________________ 4. Milwaukee: 16,609.1
5. Providence, RI: 16,134.9_______________ 5. Providence, RI: 16,457.6
6. Las Vegas: 16,016.4____________________ 6. Las Vegas: 15,331.4
7. Pittsburgh: 13,232.7___________________ 7. Austin, TX: 12,524.4
8. San Antonio, TX: 12,427.0______________ 8. Pittsburgh: 12,123.2
9. Cincinnati: 12,250.1___________________ 9. Portland, OR: 11,881.0
10. Austin, TX: 12,152.8__________________ 10. San Antonio, TX: 11,690.5
11. Columbus: 11,203.7____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 11,324.8
12. Akron: 10,999.9_______________________ 12. Cincinnati: 10,997.2
13. Grand Rapids, MI: 10,884.2____________ 13. Columbus: 10,726.0
14. Sacramento, CA: 10,606.1______________ 14. Grand Rapids, MI: 10,146.0
15. Dayton: 9,756.8_______________________ 15. Akron: 9,737.1
16. Indianapolis: 9,383.0_________________ 16. Omaha: 8,993.2
17. Omaha: 8,960.7________________________ 17. Indianapolis: 8,147.3
18. Toledo: 8,816.9_______________________ 18. Dayton: 8,100.0
19. Orlando: 8,212.5______________________ 19. Charlotte: 8,086.8
20. Charlotte: 8,095.5____________________ 20. Nashville: 7,777.6

Density at Mile Marker 3, with an Area of 28.27 Square Miles
2000————————————2010
1. Chicago: 17,528.7_____________________ 1. Chicago: 18,003.2
2. San Jose, CA: 13,883.0________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 14,549.2
3. Las Vegas: 11,646.0___________________ 3. Las Vegas: 11,576.2
4. Minneapolis: 11,494.2_________________ 4. Minneapolis: 11,503.3
5. Milwaukee: 11,448.9___________________ 5. Milwaukee: 11,288.0
6. Providence: 11,173.7__________________ 6. Providence, RI: 11,240.2
7. Pittsburgh: 10,594.4__________________ 7. Pittsburgh: 9,738.7
8. San Antonio. TX: 9,234.3______________ 8. Portland, OR: 8,973.6
9. Portland, OR: 8,257.0_________________ 9. San Antonio, TX: 8,846.8
10. Cincinnati: 8,141.9__________________ 10. Columbus: 7,834.0
11. Columbus: 8,134.9____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 7,668.7
12. Sacramento, CA: 7,261.5______________ 12. Austin, TX: 7,534.0
13. Austin, TX: 7,232.3__________________ 13. Cincinnati: 7,273.6
14. Akron: 6,925.4_______________________ 14. Grand Rapids, MI: 6,540.0
15. Grand Rapids, MI: 6,852.0____________ 15. Akron: 6,284.9
16. Indianapolis: 6,727.9________________ 16. Orlando: 6,055.1
17. Toledo: 6,651.5______________________ 17. Omaha: 5,968.3
18. Dayton: 6,382.8______________________ 18. Toledo: 5,982.1
19. St. Louis: 6,093.7___________________ 19. Indianapolis: 5,879.9
20. Kansas City: 6,025.1_________________ 20. St. Louis: 5,663.8

Density at Mile Marker 4, with an Area of 50.27 Square Miles
2000———————————2010
1. Chicago: 15,447.2____________________ 1. Chicago: 15,205.9
2. San Jose, CA: 12,209.3_______________ 2. San Jose, CA: 12,629.6
3. Las Vegas: 9,788.0___________________ 3. Las Vegas: 10,022.2
4. Minneapolis: 8,874.4_________________ 4. Minneapolis: 8,921.8
5. Milwaukee: 8,823.8___________________ 5. Milwaukee: 8,725.5
6. Providence, RI: 8,454.3______________ 6. Providence, RI: 8,483.8
7. Pittsburgh: 8,216.0__________________ 7. Portland, OR: 7,785.5
8. Portland, OR: 7,282.9________________ 8. Pittsburgh: 7,602.6
9. San Antonio, TX: 7,208.6_____________ 9. San Antonio, TX: 6,995.5
10. Cincinnati: 6,922.8_________________ 10. Cincinnati: 6,279.4
11. Columbus: 6,449.3___________________ 11. Columbus: 6,257.4
12. Sacramento, CA: 5,744.7_____________ 12. Sacramento, CA: 6,138.5
13. Austin, TX: 5,541.5_________________ 13. Austin, TX: 5,847.2
14. St. Louis: 5,447.5__________________ 14. Omaha: 5,047.2
15. Cleveland: 5,356.2__________________ 15. St. Louis: 5,001.6
16. Indianapolis: 5,348.8_______________ 16. Grand Rapids, MI: 4,922.9
17. Detroit: 5,163.1____________________ 17. Orlando: 4,911.7
18. Omaha: 5,019.8______________________ 18. Indianapolis: 4,793.5
19. Akron: 4,900.7______________________ 19. Akron: 4,532.0
20. Dayton: 4,889.3_____________________ 20. Cleveland: 4,521.8

Density at Mile Marker 5, with an Area of 78.54 Square Miles

Note that this area size is about the current city size of Cincinnati and Cleveland.
2000————————————2010
1. Chicago: 14,213.6___________________ 1. Chicago: 13,591.0
2. San Jose, CA: 10,464.0______________ 2. San Jose, CA: 11,037.1
3. Las Vegas: 8,521.9__________________ 3. Las Vegas: 9,062.8
4. Minneapolis: 7,443.0________________ 4. Minneapolis: 7,455.9
5. Milwaukee: 7,081.2__________________ 5. Milwaukee: 7,029.1
6. Pittsburgh: 7,009.9_________________ 6. Pittsburgh: 6,492.7
7. San Antonio, TX: 6,326.6____________ 7. Portland, OR: 6,442.3
8. Providence, RI: 6,048.3_____________ 8. San Antonio, TX: 6,223.4
9. Portland, OR: 5,950.1_______________ 9. Providence, RI: 6,055.8
10. Cincinnati: 5,588.9________________ 10. Sacramento, CA: 5,664.2
11. Cleveland: 5,494.6_________________ 11. Orlando: 5,274.1
12. Columbus: 5,252.9__________________ 12. Columbus: 5,152.1
13. Sacramento, CA: 5,104.0____________ 13. Cincinnati: 5,096.2
14. Orlando: 4,993.7___________________ 14. Austin, TX: 4,993.7
15. Austin, TX: 4,786.5________________ 15. Cleveland: 4,602.4
16. Detroit: 4,748.7___________________ 16. St. Louis: 4,285.4
17. St. Louis: 4,731.5_________________ 17. Indianapolis: 4,086.1
18. Indianapolis: 4,447.7______________ 18. Omaha: 3,962.2
19. Akron: 4,025.9_____________________ 19. Grand Rapids, MI: 3,887.3
20. Grand Rapids, MI: 3,990.6__________ 20. Akron: 3,778.8

So if Columbus was the same size as Cincinnati and Cleveland, it would be the most dense city of the 3. And it’s generally in the top half of the grouping in its most urban areas.

But what about further out, past the urban core?

Density at Mile Marker 10, with an Area of 314.16 Square Miles.

This area size is much larger than the city limits of Columbus, but it gives an idea of the larger area’s density and not just within the city limits.
2000———————————–2010
1. Chicago: 9,344.3______________________ 1. Chicago: 8,795.0
2. San Jose, CA: 4,563.2_________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 4,809.8
3. Minneapolis: 4,183.2__________________ 3. Las Vegas: 4,794.2
4. Detroit: 4,117.4______________________ 4. Portland, OR: 4,230.3
5. Las Vegas: 3,877.3____________________ 5. Minneapolis: 4,178.3
6. Portland: 3,780.8_____________________ 6. San Antonio, TX: 3,454.9
7. Cleveland: 3,308.4____________________ 7. Detroit: 3,354.7
8. Pittsburgh: 3,279.8___________________ 8. Columbus: 3,163.9
9. San Antonio, TX: 3,217.8______________ 9. Pittsburgh: 3,080.4
10. Milwaukee: 3,013.7___________________ 10. Orlando: 3,055.0
11. Columbus: 2,973.3____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 3,016.4
12. St. Louis: 2,937.6___________________ 12. Milwaukee: 3,006.2
13. Cincinnati: 2,873.4__________________ 13. Cleveland: 2,923.7
14. Orlando: 2,783.9_____________________ 14. Indianapolis: 2,772.6
15. Sacramento, CA: 2,736.7______________ 15. St. Louis: 2,751.3
16. Indianapolis: 2,652.6________________ 16. Cincinnati: 2,746.8
17. Kansas City: 2,599.0_________________ 17. Kansas City: 2,538.3
18. Providence, RI: 2,360.0______________ 18. Austin, TX: 2,439.6
19. Austin, TX: 2,111.3__________________ 19. Providence, RI: 2,375.1
20. Dayton: 1,920.7______________________ 20. Charlotte, NC: 2,332.7

So what does all this tell us? That while Columbus is not the most dense city of its peer group, or within the Midwest group, it probably does not wholly deserve its low-density, suburban reputation. Most of the measurements are in the top half of the grouping for density, yes, but it is clearly the most weak in the urban core closest to Downtown, as that ranking is the lowest for it. The Mile 0 population, for example, is down near the very bottom, and that is a good reason why densities are not as high as they should/could be. Currently, Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are seeing a residential development boom, so that will help, but the city needs to think a lot bigger if it wants that stereotype to truly go away. The recent abandonment of the Convention Center mixed-use project is not a good way to go about that goal… and it should be a goal.

Columbus Housing Market Update- May 2014

The May housing market in the Columbus area continued the 5-month long trend of sales being down. As with the previous 4 months, the main reason was high demand coupled with historically low supply.

As for when this situation may change seems hard to guess. The rate of construction for single family homes shows no real signs of improving anytime soon, while renting continues to be the dominant choice right now.

Top 10 May 2014 Sales Totals
1. Columbus: 1,008
2. Grove City: 81
3. Clintonville: 73
4. Dublin: 73
5. Westerville: 67
6. Reynoldsburg: 59
7. Hilliard: 58
8. Upper Arlington: 55
9. Gahanna: 45
10. Pickerington: 36

Top 10 May 2014 Sales Increases over May 2013
1. New Albany: +35.3%
2. Pataskala: +35.0%
3. Obetz: +33.0%
4. Downtown: +30.0%
5. Grove City: +20.9%
6. Westerville: +3.1%
7. Pickerington: -2.7%
8. Hilliard: -4.9%
9. Columbus: -11.6%
10. Reynoldsburg: -11.9%

Top 10 Year-to-Date Sales Through May 2014
1. Columbus: 3,716
2. Dublin: 261
3. Grove City: 258
4. Clintonville: 248
5. Westerville: 229
6. Upper Arlington: 220
7. Reynoldsburg: 209
8. Hilliard: 187
9. Gahanna: 150
10. Pickerington: 108

Top 10 Year-to-Date Increases Through May 2014 Over 2013
1. Obetz: +118.2%
2. New Albany: +11.3%
3. Pataskala: +8.7%
4. Grove City: +5.3%
5. Reynoldsburg: +1.0%
6. Westerville: -3.0%
7. Clintonville: -5.0%
8. Downtown: -8.0%
9. German Village: -8.8%
10. Worthington: -9.2%

Average Sales May 2014
Urban: 114
Suburban: 49.6
Urban without Columbus: 25

Average % Change May 2014 vs. May 2013
Urban: -13.1%
Suburban: +1.4%
Urban without Columbus: -13.3%

Average YTD Sales Through May 2014
Urban: 419
Suburban: 167
Urban without Columbus: 89

Average YTD % Change YTD Through May 2014
Urban: -1.7%
Suburban: -6.0%
Urban without Columbus: -1.1%

Top 10 Average Sales Price May 2014
1. New Albany: $549,217
2. Dublin: $400,121
3. Bexley: $355,732
4. Upper Arlington: $345,156
5. German Village: $290,299
6. Downtown: $272,927
7. Worthington: $258,483
8. Grandview Heights: $238,333
9. Hilliard: $231,340
10. Westerville: $214,817

Top 10 Average Sales Price % Change May 2014 vs. May 2013
1. Obetz: +42.2%
2. Upper Arlington: +22.1%
3. Dublin: +18.6%
4. Westerville: +15.3%
5. Minerva Park: +14.5%
6. Grandview Heights: +12.5%
7. Reynoldsburg: +11.3%
8. Clintonville: +10.7%
9. Columbus: +9.4%
10. Pickerington: +9.3%

Top 10 Average Sales Prices YTD Through May 2014
1. New Albany: $491,395
2. Dublin: $356,009
3. Upper Arlington: $334,705
4. Bexley: $322,383
5. Downtown: $303,479
6. German Village: $297,917
7. Worthington: $256,332
8. Grandview Heights: $245,403
9. Hilliard: $222,793
10. Westerville: $207,854

Top 10 Average YTD Sales Price % Change Through May 2014 vs. 2013
1. Obetz: +50.8%
2. Grandview Heights: +20.5%
3. Pataskala: +15.9%
4. Grove City: +11.7%
5. Dublin: +11.6%
6. Pickerington: +11.3%
7. Westerville: +10.7%
8. Columbus: +9.7%
9. Worthington: +9.6%
10. Reynoldsburg: +9.2%

Average Sales Price May 2014
Urban: $221,969
Suburban: $240,310
Urban without Columbus: $229,903

Average Sales Price Change May 2014 vs. May 2013
Urban: +3.9%
Suburban: +4.5%
Urban without Columbus: +3.3%

Average Sales Price YTD Through May 2014
Urban: $217,709
Suburban: $227,022
Urban without Columbus: $226,296

Average Sales Price % Change YTD Through May 2014
Urban: +9.4%
Suburban: +8.0%
Urban without Columbus: +9.3%

Top 10 Fastest Selling Markets May 2014 (Based on Average # of Days for Listings to Sell)
1. Minerva Park: 7
2. Grandview Heights: 12
3. Upper Arlington: 19
4. Worthington: 27
5. Bexley: 31
6. Clintonville: 41
7. Westerville: 41
8. Dublin: 42
9. Obetz: 50
10. Hilliard: 52

Top 10 Fastest Selling Markets YTD Through May 2014
1. Minerva Park: 42
2. Obetz: 44
3. Worthington: 44
4. Upper Arlington: 47
5. Grandview Heights: 49
6. Hilliard: 50
7. Westerville: 55
8. Clintonville: 56
9. Pickerington: 58
10. Dublin: 62

Average # of Days Before Sale, May 2014
Urban: 41.7
Suburban: 63.1
Urban without Columbus: 39.9

Average # of Days Before Sale YTD Through May 2014
Urban: 61.4
Suburban: 72.0
Urban without Columbus: 60.0

Top 10 Lowest Market Housing Supplies May 2014 (Based on # of Months to Sell all Listings)
1. Worthington: 1.3
2. German Village: 1.7
3. Grandview Heights: 1.7
4. Westerville: 1.9
5. Clintonville: 2.0
6. Minerva Park: 2.2
7. Gahanna: 2.3
8. Hilliard: 2.3
9. Obetz: 2.4
10. Upper Arlington: 2.5

A healthy housing supply is considered to be around 5-6 months. Anything less than 3 months is considered very low.

Average # of Months to Sell All Listings, May 2014
Urban: 2.5
Suburban: 3.2
Urban without Columbus: 2.5

Average % Change of Single-Family Home Sales May 2014 vs. May 2013
Urban: -18.4%
Suburban: +4.6%
Urban without Columbus: -18.8%

Average % Change of Single-Family Home Sales YTD Through May 2014 vs. YTD 2013
Urban: -8.0%
Suburban: -6.1%
Urban without Columbus: -7.8%


Average % Change of Condo Sales May 2014 vs. May 2013

Urban: +26.3%
Suburban: -20.0%
Urban without Columbus: +29.0%

Average % Change of Condo Sales YTD Through May 2014 vs. YTD 2013
Urban: +22.0%
Suburban: -12.0%
Urban without Columbus: +24.0%

April 2014 Jobs Data

I haven’t given jobs data for awhile, and thought it was time to updated. The most recent full numbers are from April. Overall, there was more good than bad with the report. Unemployment was well below the national average and falling rapidly. Employment was up and unemployment was down. The only real negative was that the labor force remained stagnant to down a bit.

May’s preliminary numbers look very good, and when those are fully released, I will do another report. Until then, here is April.

Columbus City
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Unemployment Rate Change since April 2013: -1.6%
Unemployment Rate Change since January 2014: -1.5%
Civilian Labor Force: 432,300
Civilian Labor Force Change since April 2013: -1,400
Civilian Labor Force Change since January 2014: -1,400
Employment: 414,000
Employment Change since April 2013: +5,800
Employment Change since January 2014: +5,600
Unemployment: 18,400
Unemployment Change since April 2013: -7,100
Unemployment Change since January 2014: -7,000

Franklin County
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Unemployment Rate Change since April 2013: -1.6%
Unemployment Rate Change since January 2014: -1.6%
Civilian Labor Force: 631,700
Civilian Labor Force Change since April 2013: -1,700
Civilian Labor Force Change since January 2014: -1,900
Employment: 604,700
Employment Change since April 2013: +8,400
Employment Change since January 2014: +8,200
Unemployment: 27,000
Unemployment Change since April 2013: -10,100
Unemployment Change since January 2014: -10,100

Columbus Metro Area
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Unemployment Rate Change since April 2013: -1.6%
Unemployment Rate Change since January 2014: -1.7%
Civilian Labor Force: 976,173
Civilian Labor Force Change since April 2013: -2,530
Civilian Labor Force Change since January 2014: -4,023
Employment: 934,261
Employment Change since April 2013: +13,053
Employment Change since January 2014: +12,617
Unemployment: 41,912
Unemployment Change since April 2013: -15,583
Unemployment Change since January 2014: -16,640

Ohio Overall
Unemployment Rate: 5.7
Unemployment Rate Change since April 2013: -1.6%
Unemployment Rate Change since January 2014 : -1.2%
Civilian Labor Force: 5,741,473
Civilian Labor Force Change since April 2013: -27,006
Civilian Labor Force Change since January 2014: -21,655
Employment: 5,413,615
Employment Change since April 2013: +67,409
Employment Change since January 2014: +45,860
Unemployment: 327,858
Unemployment Change since April 2013: -94,415
Unemployment Change since January 2014: -67,515

Metro Non-Farm Jobs
Total: 982,500
Change from April 2013: +8,600
Change from January 2014: +16,700

By Industry
Mining/Logging/Construction Total: 32,200
Change from April 2013: +2,100
Change from January 2014: +2,900

Manufacturing Total: 67,700
Change from April 2013: +0
Change from January 2014: +1,700

Trade/Transportation/Utilities Total: 185,400
Change from April 2013: +2,900
Change from January 2014: -1,000

Information Total: 18,100
Change from April 2013: +0
Change from January 2014: +0

Financial Activities Total: 73,800
Change from April 2013: -1,100
Change from January 2014: +0

Professional and Business Services Total: 160,400
Change from April 2013: -1,800
Change from January 2014: +2,000

Education and Health Services Total: 140,600
Change from April 2013: +900
Change from January 2014: +3,400

Leisure and Hospitality Total: 99,400
Change from April 2013: +1,800
Change from January 2014: +5,500

Other Services Total: 38,400
Change from April 2013: +600
Change from January 2014: +100

Government Total: 166,500
Change from April 2013: +2,200
Change from January 2014: +2,100

Columbus Convention Center’s Disastrous Decision

I’m not a complainer… or at the very least, I don’t prefer to be. If there is anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that negativity only breeds upon itself and doesn’t actually serve to accomplish anything. That said, there are simply times where negativity makes perfectly logical sense, and where it can serve a real purpose for true positive change. Or so I tell myself. I’ve not posted too much on my personal views regarding development, but recent events have prompted me to give some of them.

Back in March, it was revealed that the Greater Columbus Convention Center leadership had asked the local development community to come up with ideas for a potential expansion project for the convention center itself. The building was designed by famed 1980s and early 1990s architect Peter Eisenman (who also did the Wexner Center for the Arts), and began construction in 1989 and completed in 1990. Originally, the building included 1.4 million square feet of space, with a large parking lot occupying the southeast corner of the Goodale/N. High Street intersection.

In 1999, an expansion pushed the structure north nearly to Goodale, but left enough space for a small plaza there.

So even after the initial construction of the original building, there were obvious problems with the design, not least of which was the pastel color scheme better suited for Miami Beach. The building simply didn’t have any street-level presence. Beyond a few entrances, the convention center’s design essentially created a block-long wall along High Street. There was no ground floor retail, no restaurants and no pedestrian interaction whatsoever. Back in 1989, this was just fine and dandy, because no one really cared about that and hadn’t since the days before WWII. Cities had become showplaces and for big buildings and massive surface parking lots that didn’t actually bring anyone to live there. There was no reason to walk on the streets of the city, and architects certainly didn’t think it was necessary to build for that purpose. The suburbs were the real future, blah blah blah. Everyone knows that story.

Since 1999, the neighborhood around the convention center has been rocketing upward in popularity. The nearby Arena District continued to grow and add development, and the Short North continued to rapidly revitalize and is now the city’s hottest neighborhood. For the past few years, there has been a push to attract more business to Columbus via the center and to highlight all the nearby amenities. To that goal, the 12-story, 500+ room Hilton was completed in 2012 across the street. The $140 million structure was built with public dollars, as a private developer did not step forward when the idea was put forth. The project was somewhat speculative, as the demand for hotel space in the city was not particularly high enough to warrant the construction (a good reason why private development hadn’t shown up), but because the city understood that hotel space was part of the key to attract bigger and better convention events, the hotel went up and Hilton came in to run the space.

The gamble seemed to be paying off, and in January, the Columbus Dispatch came out with an article about the hotel’s success: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/01/31/downtown-hiltons-success-rubbing-off.html In the article, there was even the mention of adding even more hotel space, possibly up to 1,000 additional rooms, at some point in the near future.

So when the convention center authority announced it was searching for ideas for a new expansion project, that reality seemed to be taking place. In late March, there was this bit of news: http://www.columbusunderground.com/two-15-story-towers-proposed-at-convention-center Four separate proposals had been submitted by private developers on ideas to develop the north end of the convention center, along with the surface parking lot north of Goodale behind the 670 retail cap. The most prominent idea came from Wagenbrenner, with a pair of 15-story, mixed-use towers that would’ve included more than 100 residential units, hotel and event space, and ground-floor retail along High Street, an element the original building severely lacked.

Wagenbrenner Development’s proposal.

Wagenbrenner Development’s proposal, looking southeast from High and Goodale.

Another proposal from Kaufman was far more modern, but still retained mixed-use elements.

Kaufman proposal.

In Wagenbrenner’s case, a hotel chain had already stepped forward interested in running the hotel aspect of the project, and there seemed little doubt that one of the proposals would move forward, based on quotes from the convention center authority and their stated goal for a “big idea” sort of project moving forward. The selection of the design would be announced in a few month’s time.

So what was the result of all that? On June 12th, 2014, an article in the Dispatch came out detailing a renovation and expansion project for the convention center: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/06/12/Convention_Center_addition_and_renovation_would_cost_125_million.html

The problem was that the article did not mention any mixed-use project whatsoever. Instead, it called for a general total-building renovation and a small 30,000 sf expansion and entranceway into the plaza space at the southeast corner of High and Goodale. Additionally, an 800-space parking garage would be built in the surface lot behind the 670 cap.

Wait, what?? When the article initially came out, there was confusion by many in the development following community on just what was going on. Part of the confusion stemmed from the fact that the convention center authority had already announced a renovation project just 2 weeks prior to the release of the information on the mixed-use expansion project: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/03/12/convention-center-soon-to-undergo-renovations.html That announcement had mentioned only a $30 million renovation, not the much larger one announced on June 12th. There had also been mention previously of the garage project, back in late 2013. http://m.bizjournals.com/columbus/blog/2013/12/short-north-parking-garage-may-get.html In that discussion, the garage was being looked at to get ground-floor retail, especially closer to High, to take advantage of the neighborhood’s high walkability and retail success.

So at first, it was assumed that the garage and renovation project was a separate issue from the larger proposed expansion, but the article on June 12th specifically mentioned the very same land that the proposed mixed-use towers would’ve used. The following day, on June 13th, the Dispatch came out with a second article about the $125 million renovation/expansion project, and in it near the bottom, was this damning paragraph:


Jennison said the expansion of the convention center rules out earlier ideas of adding shops and residences to the north end of the facility, including the possibility of more hotel space. The authority’s board sought proposals for such a project earlier this year before ultimately ruling them out.

Suddenly, the 2-tower project had been swept under the rug and abandoned. Worse, it had been abandoned in favor of new carpets/fresh paint, a glorified 2-story entrance on Goodale, and a 1970s parking garage with no retail at all.

Proposed parking garage on Goodale Avenue behind the 670 retail cap, part of the convention authority’s new plan.

To say that there was some disbelief that such a decision had been made is putting it mildly. Across development forums, and even on the Dispatch articles themselves, the negative reaction was swift and universal. How and why had such a promising proposal for the convention center turned into the height of mediocrity? And why had potential fully private or a private/public funded project turned into a 100% publicly funded fiasco? The answer, it seems, is likely staring us in the face: The Hilton Hotel. Though it hasn’t been confirmed either way, there is an element of suspicion against the Hilton for obvious reasons. The Hilton is publicly financed and was publicly built. To have a private company build a competing hotel may have taken away business, and the convention authority was not interested in allowing competition for a public enterprise. There are precious few other logical reasons why the convention authority would actively seek private investment only to toss those proposals out a few months later in favor of a project that had no competing elements to it.

Worse still, the convention authority knows it’s a terrible plan in comparison. On June 15th, yet another article on the project appeared in the Columbus Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/06/15/convention-center-aims-to-improve-to-keep-up.html

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Housing Trends of Columbus

I posted a graph recently showing housing permits for Franklin County to show how construction was trending. Today, I found more long-term data for both the city and county that continue to show some interesting trends.

First, let’s look at just the city of Columbus.

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The chart above goes back through the mid-1990s. The first thing to notice is the housing boom from 1999-2002. Both single-family and multi-family construction was booming. The very good economic conditions, or seemingly good ones, during the 1999-2000 period is probably most responsible for this. What’s most interesting is that the boom seemed to last through at least part of the mild recession experienced in 2001-2002. After that, housing of both types started to decline through the late 2000s. This shows that construction in the city began to decline as early as 2002-2003, before the peak of the general housing boom in the mid-2000s.

Another interesting fact is at the end of the period. Multi-family units have recovered and are back in boom territory. This boom, however, is much different than the one that occurred more than a decade ago, as shown by the below chart.

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During the 1999-2002 housing boom, multi-family housing averaged 59.3% of all the units constructed. In the current boom, which began in 2012, multi-family housing has averaged 82.1% of all the units constructed. The average difference between the types 1999-2002 was just 18.6 points. In the current boom, the difference is an amazing 64.2 points! In that regard, there really is no comparison between the housing boom a decade ago and the current one. Multi-family construction is in MUCH higher relative demand now than it was at any time in the last 17-18 years, including during the last housing boom.

But what does this tell us about where the housing is actually being constructed? Well, for that, we have to look at the entirety of Franklin County. Is the county also seeing a similar multi-family boom, or has single-family construction recovered there more than in the city?

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This chart, in some aspects, is the opposite of the one for the city. While in the city, multi-family units consistently outnumbered single-family, the opposite is true for the county as a whole. This is likely because the county takes into account all the suburban areas, most of which are dominated by single-family housing. In only a few instances did multi-family housing units outnumber single-family before 2010. After 2010, it’s clear that the multi-family boom is hitting the rest of the county and not just Columbus itself. This may actually represent an even greater shift in housing construction.

Here’s the % of total chart for the county.

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So it’s also clear that the county is seeing most of its construction in recent years be multi-family units.

But this still doesn’t tell us if most of Franklin County’s housing construction is occurring in the city or in the suburbs. The easiest way to tell is to take the city totals and find out the % of total to the overall county.

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Not much can be taken from this chart, however. Columbus encompasses the largest part of Franklin County by far, so it has always included most of the county’s construction. Perhaps a better way to look at it would be to measure the city’s total against the overall metro share, but that’s for another day.

2013 City Population Estimates

Today, the Census released new population figures for cities and incorporated places. I looked at all those places within the Columbus metro area and came up with the following stats.

Top 25 Largest Places in the Columbus Metro, July 1, 2013
1. Columbus: 822,553
2. Newark: 47,777
3. Dublin: 43,607
4. Lancaster: 39,325
5. Westerville: 37,530
6. Grove City: 37,490
7. Reynoldsburg: 36,526
8. Delaware: 36,459
9. Upper Arlington: 34,420
10. Gahanna: 34,051
11. Hilliard: 31,012
12. Marysville: 22,396
13. Pickerington: 19,085
14. Whitehall: 18,503
15. Pataskala: 15,160
16. Worthington: 13,837
17. Bexley: 13,455
18. Circleville: 13,444
19. Powell: 12,237
20. Heath: 10,45
21. London: 9,978
22. New Albany: 8,820
23. Canal Winchester: 7,543
24. Logan: 7,146
25. Grandview Heights: 6,943

Top 25 Largest Total Change 2012-2013
1. Columbus: +12,450
2. Dublin: +710
3. Grove City: +637
4. Delaware: +534
5. Lancaster: +422
6. Hilliard: +421
7. Pickerington: +375
8. Westerville: +321
9. Marysville: +284
10. New Albany: +282
11. Powell: +258
12. Gahanna: +215
13. Upper Arlington: +183
14. Reynoldsburg: +172
15. Bexley: +163
16. Canal Winchester: +143
17. Sunbury: +109
18. London: +107
19. Pataskala: +98
20. Groveport: +88
21. Whitehall: +87
22. Worthington: +69
23. Hanover: +67
24. Heath: +63
25. Lithopolis/Obetz/West Jefferson: +35

Top 25 Largest Total Change 2010-2013
1. Columbus: +35,520
2. Hilliard: +2,577
3. Grove City: +1,915
4. Dublin: +1,856
5. Delaware: +1,706
6. Westerville: +1,410
7. New Albany: +1,096
8. Gahanna: +806
9. Pickerington: +794
10. Powell: +737
11. Upper Arlington: +649
12. Reynoldsburg: +633
13. Lancaster: +545
14. Canal Winchester: +442
15. Whitehall: +441
16. Grandview Heights: +407
17. Bexley: +388
18. Sunbury: +326
19. Marysville: +302
20. Groveport: +269
21. Worthington: +262
22. Newark: +204
23. Johnstown: +200
24. Pataskala: +198
25. Heath: +142

Top 25 Largest % Changes 2012-2013
1. Hanover: +6.74%
2. New Albany: +3.30%
3. Lithopolis: +2.93%
4. Sunbury: +2.37%
5. Powell: +2.15%
6. Shawnee Hills: +2.12%
7. Pickerington: +2.00%
8. Canal Winchester: +1.93%
9. Grove City: +1.73%
10. Dublin: +1.66%
11. Groveport: +1.59%
12. Columbus: +1.54%
13. Delaware: +1.49%
14. Hilliard: +1.38%
15. Marysville: +1.28%
16. Bexley: +1.23%
17. Lancaster and London: +1.08%
18. Midway: +0.93%
19. Harrisburg: +0.92%
20. Westerville: +0.86%
21. Brice: +0.85%
22. Kirkersville and Obetz: +0.76%
23. Milford Center: +0.75%
24. Pataskala: +0.65%
25. Gahanna and Hemlock: +0.64%

Top 25 Largest % Changes 2010-2013
1. Hanover: +15.20%
2. New Albany: +14.19%
3. Lithopolis: +11.21%
4. Hilliard: +9.06%
5. Sunbury: +7.43%
6. Powell: +6.41%
7. Grandview Heights: +6.23%
8. Canal Winchester: +6.22%
9. Shawnee Hills: +6.17%
10. Grove City: +5.38%
11. Groveport: +5.02%
12. Delaware: +4.91%
13. Columbus: +4.51%
14. Dublin: +4.45%
15. Brice: +4.39%
16. Pickerington: +4.34%
17. Johnstown: +4.32%
18. Westerville: +3.90%
19. New Holland: +3.25%
20. Bexley: +2.97%
21. Harrisburg: +2.91%
22. Obetz: +2.74%
23. Riverlea: +2.57%
24. Lockbourne: +2.53%
25. Galena: +2.45%

Trends
Average Annual Growth 2000-2010 vs. 2010-2013 for the Top 25 Largest Places
2000-2010————2010-2013——–% Change
1. Upper Arlington: +9 +216 +2,300%
2. Bexley: -15 +129 +960.0%
3. Grandview Heights: -16 +136 +950.0%
4. Westerville: +80 +470 +487.50%
5. Circleville: -17 +43 +352.94%
6. Gahanna: +61 +269 +340.98%
7. Worthington: -55 +87 +258.18%
8. Whitehall: -114 +147 +228.95%
9. Hilliard: +400 +859 +114.75%
10. Columbus: +7,556 +11,840 +56.70%
11. New Albany: +400 +365 -8.75%
12. Grove City: +850 +638 -24.94%
13. Delaware: +951 +569 -40.17%
14. Dublin: +1,036 +619 -40.25%
15. Canal Winchester: +262 +147 -43.89%
16. Reynoldsburg: +382 +211 -44.76%
17. Lancaster: +345 +182 -47.25%
18. Newark: +129 +68 -47.29%
19. Powell: +525 +246 -53.14%
20. Pickerington: +850 +265 -68.82%
21. Heath: +178 +47 -73.60%
22. London: +113 +25 -77.88%
23. Marysville: +615 +107 -82.60%
24. Pataskala: +471 +66 -85.99%
25. Logan: +45 -2 -104.44%

So by the trends, it definitely appears that most suburbs have slowed, while Columbus and its inner suburbs increased. This seems like a pretty good indication of the ongoing urban movement to me.

The Diversification of the Columbus Metro vs. Peers

In a related post to the recent metro population comparison of Columbus to its peer 1.5-2.5 million group, I wanted to see where the metros stood as far as their current racial makeup as well as where they are trending.

First, let’s take a look at the breakdown of race by metro in 2012, the last year that data is availabe.

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Columbus had the 5th highest % of its metro population as White, non-Hispanic.

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Columbus came in at #8 for the % of its metro population being Black, non Hispanic.

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Columbus ranks 9th for its % of metro population that is Asian, non-Hispanic.

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Columbus ranked poorly in this group, coming in at 15th of 18.

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Finally, Columbus ranked 7th in the population of Other, non-Hispanic as a % of the total metro population.

So currently, what is the overall diversity ranking of the 18 metros? To find out, I used a simple formula: Each metro would be assigned points (1-18) based on the ranking position in each racial group. Here are the final rankings.

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Overall, Columbus comes in as the 8th most-diverse metro in its 18-peer group. So a bit better than average and perhaps a bit surprising to some.

But what about where this diversity is trending? To find out, I looked at 2005 and 2012 and calculated how each racial group had changed over the period.

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Columbus did relatively well with Whites, growing at the 5th best pace.

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The Columbus metro came in the top 10, at #7, for non-Hispanic Black population growth.

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The metro didn’t fare as well on growth in the Asian population, coming in at 10th.

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Columbus came in at #6.

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So using the same point system from above, what are the fastest diversifying metros as of 2012?

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The Columbus metro was the 5th fastest diversifying metro in its peer group in 2012.

Overall, Columbus ranks higher than and much higher than average in both current racial diversity and the rate of racial diversity growth, respectively.