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National companies, chains eyeing High Street

The Wellington development which will be located between 16th and 17th avenues will feature a Target and a Chik-fil-A. Credit: Nick Roll | Campus Editor

The Wellington development which will be located between 16th and 17th avenues will feature a Target and a Chik-fil-A. Credit: Nick Roll | Campus Editor

While North High Street might look unfamiliar to those who attended Ohio State just a few years ago, they’ll definitely be familiar with the businesses set to move in once the construction wraps up.

Chick-fil-A, Target

National fast-food chain Chick-fil-A applied to the University Area Review Board last week to put one of its restaurants in The Wellington, the mixed-use apartment complex spanning North High Street between East 16th and 17th avenues. It is set to share the first floor with a Target store.

The Target, announced in September, is set to open in July 2018, just ahead of the complex’s apartments, which are set to open that August. It is not clear when the Chick-fil-A is opening, and Ryan Szymanski, vice president of Edwards Properties, the building’s developer and manager, was not available for comment.

Now demolished, campus bars Chumley’s and Bernie’s Bagels and Distillery were previously located in that space. Chumley’s, which came to Columbus in 2012, was the third location for the sports bar’s owners. It’s set to reopen in August on the ground floor of a five-story complex on North High Street and East 9th Avenue. Bernie’s opened in 1975.

Also on the eventual chopping block are campus-area bars Too’s Spirits Under High and The O Patio & Pub, which lie in the path of OSU’s 15th and High development project.

Chipotle, Starbucks, White Castle

Just a couple of blocks north, at the southeast corner of East Lane Avenue and North High Street, a Chipotle and Starbucks are slated to take space in another mixed-use apartment building currently under construction. The restaurant and coffeehouse will complement the existing Chipotle and Starbucks on North High Street, which are located near East 13th Avenue.

Jared Schiff, vice president of Schiff Properties, said the building, dubbed The Wilson, is also slated to host a CoreLife Eatery and a White Castle, along with a fifth, to-be-released, retail tenant.

The apartments are set to open in spring 2018, Schiff said. He said he wasn’t sure if the businesses would open sooner.


Online retailer Amazon is also slated to open a brick-and-mortar location in the space previously occupied by UniversiTees at 2114 N. High St. According to its website, UniversiTees sells apparel for 14 different universities, and has five physical stores across Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. Amazon gave its first presentation to the University Area Review Board last week.

When the Columbus UniversiTees location announced it was closing, Chris Hooper, the manager, told The Lantern that construction along High Street made moving to a different location near campus difficult.

“As of right now, there’s nowhere to move on High Street,” he said.

The former UniversiTees building doesn’t stand in the way of the 15th and High project, but Hooper said construction from that project has rendered most of High Street between East 14th and 17th avenues unavailable for the time being.

A representative from Amazon declined to comment on when the store might open.

Student input

A survey released in February by Undergraduate Student Government showed that Chick-fil-A was among the top restaurants that students surveyed wanted to see on campus, although OSU didn’t have a role in its coming to North High Street.

Campus Partners, OSU’s nonprofit development arm, helped coordinate the acquisition of the land The Wellington sits on with its developer, Edwards Properties. The Wellington is part of the development envisioned in the 15th and High project, but since OSU doesn’t have any ownership of the space, it didn’t have a role in picking who filled the retail vacancies, said Erin Prosser, director of community development for Campus Partners.

Edward’s Communities handles the leasing for those retail spaces,” Prosser said in an email. Amazon, White Castle, Starbucks and Chipotle fall out of the area designated for development in the 15th and High plan.

The data from the survey also showed that students wanted to see campus bars Too’s, Midway on High and Chumley’s on North High Street, as well as a Target — though Target’s plans had already been announced.

Prosser said Campus Partners has seen the survey.

“The survey is something that we will definitely take into account once we are to that point with our part of the project,” she said. “We look forward to working with USG and other student groups in 2017 to continue to gather input on the future of 15th and High. Right now we are focused now on the infrastructure work set to start this month, which will continue until mid 2018.”



  1. Really, Really Sad… local businesses and what each in their own way had to offer is what made High Street along campus special back in the day. And slowly each are being pushed out into the street through acquisitions. In the future this place will look nothing different than going to any other shopping area. Thanks for such a bland & uninspiring vision Campus Partners.

  2. Buckeye from the West

    While High Street was seedy, in spots, run down in others, it was the home of many unique and locally owned businesses. Once all these “improvements” are made, High Street will lose much of its character. Lane Avenue to 9th will resemble the urbanism suburbia, instead of a college campus. Well, considering idea is to get turn eat of High Street from low income, student housing, to single family, upper middle class, upper class with “gentrification” , it is no surprise with the national chains coming to High Street. When they are done, no one who attended OSU, in the 1960s or 1970s will recognize anything along High Street or West Lane Avenue.

  3. 3x Alum and Employee

    I concur with the above 2 opinions—–having lived here since coming to campus in 1971- there is nothing left of what was here back then except The Library Bar, Varsity Club, Teck’s Barbershop, Buckeye Doughnuts (then called Jolly Roger) and a couple other places that are locally owned; everything else that was here back then was corporate-McDonalds, etc. The clothing stores, locally owned pharmacies, bars, restaurants, diners, boutiques, coffee houses and bookstores are all gone…. with no distinctive characteristics unique to Ohio State. Ann Arbor, Madison, State College, Bloomington all maintain some reference to the past that makes that campus unique and a wonderful adventure each time one visits. There is no off-campus experience left here and the prohibitive rent charged for merchants (not to mention the outrageous rents for apartments) ensures that there will be no real feel of a campus. You could take the little boxes that they are installing all along High Street east of campus from Lane to King and stick them in the middle of Dublin and no one would no the difference. It is sad.

  4. I could not agree more with all of the comments, the students are being conditioned to recognize these brands a commit to a life style of convenience. I will miss the local flavor that was there when I was a student in the early 2000’s although probably not as evident in previous years, there was still something nice about getting 1.00 or 0.50 rum in cokes in a basement bar. Very sad that High Street is being turned into a bastardized version of urbanism. Well good luck to those future students and small business owners in the campus area.

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