Will the Hollywood Casino Save a Neighborhood? Part I

In late 2012, Columbus will be opening a new Hollywood Casino on the west side of town. The project will hopefully be a catalyst for a struggling area. In addition to the direct jobs created by construction and operation of the casino, indirect jobs will be created as the area is commercially redeveloped and people return to the area, visitors of the casino and residents alike. In addition to the direct and indirect jobs created, tax revenue from the casino (along with the other 3 casinos in the state) will be allocated state-wide. Three Scale has conducted research on many of these topics and will be reporting our findings in the next few days.
The west side of Broad Street at the I-270 intersection used to be characterized as “the place to live” with a wide variety of eateries and shops, including the largely successful Westland Mall. Today, with the closing of the Delphi plant and the subsequent decline of Westland Mall, the area has become a shadow of its former self as thousands of jobs left the area. Countless strip malls stand abandoned while the residential housing stock deteriorates rapidly due to years of neglect and low occupancy rates.

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However, stakeholders in the area saw an opportunity when the residents of Columbus voted to move the proposed casino out of the Arena District. Eventually a proposal was accepted in Franklin County to move the casino to the old Delphi plant site at the corner of Broad Street and Georgesville Road. It is hoped that this development will not only bring back jobs to the area, but also spur growth in the commercial and residential areas directly surrounding the site. A number of studies have been done concerning the economic benefits an area sees after a casino is built, but the results have varied widely.

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In the next few days, we will post a blog with excerpts from our findings. Today, we are posting a few pictures Greg and Tony took of the casino site and its surrounding neighborhood. The casino site itself has seen rapid construction since the temporary halt due to a dispute between Penn National and the City of Columbus. It appears as though the casino is well on its way to a late 2012 opening.

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Currently, while much of the commercial land surrounding the site remains abandoned and dilapidated; the condition of the residential stock varies widely.  Many apartment complexes on the west side are falling into ruins while some of the single family homes on the east side remain up kept.

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It also appears as though infrastructure work has begun as parts of Georgesville and Broad are being rehabilitated, including new sewer, water, other utilities and an eventual widening and reworking of the road network around the casino site.

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Hopefully these pictures provide an understanding of the conditions in the area supplementing our research set to come in the next few days!