Northland was once the shopping destination for Columbus, with the Northland Mall and the Continent drawing people from around the city during their heyday. Since the mall closed and businesses left the Continent, the area has lacked a destination for building community and growing the economy. At the same time, thousands of immigrants and refugees have moved into the area and kept the economy alive with small businesses. This presents an opportunity to showcase the dozens of cultures that call Northland home and to draw people from around the city, thus supporting economic development. It also presents an opportunity to create a model that promotes integration and resource connection and makes Northland a place everyone is proud to call home, whether they have lived here their whole lives or a few months.
Our project is a cooperative development combining business incubation, an international district to attract tourism, a nonprofit hub and a community center. It uniquely addresses the market for a “world city” of international businesses and restaurants by renovating existing commercial real estate, revitalizing an underutilized shopping area, creating a support network for immigrant and refugee business owners, and placing it within the community where most refugees first make their homes when they arrive newly in the United States.
This results in a popular and desired place for tourists and suburbanites, with accessible food and art located conveniently; and results in that economic center benefiting the very community that has been both challenged and enlivened by the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants over the past decade.
The proposed location is near 161 and I-71. The group is driven to create a place where small businesses can launch themselves at an affordable rate in an area that attracts residents and tourists interested in authentic ethnic goods and food. The rents from the shops and the co-working space and office space will create profits that will fund community classes and nonprofit development in Northland.
The increased tourism and interest in the district will help fulfill the vision of locating secondary convention space in Northland, a planned second phase of the project that will grow out of rentals of the smaller event space in the Elevate Northland Center. This convention space will refuel the hotels and motels already located in the area and further draw attention to the ethnic hub.
Revenue from the these projects will also support a nonprofit esource center to promote public health as well as civic engagement and education activities.
Join us to Elevate Northland!
Why I Believe in Northland
— Chuck Lynd, Simply Living: Advisory Council Member