On our pages in the 1990s, the Columbus Crew eyed a home in Dublin and Shadowbox had just moved to Easton. Today, the latter is back near Downtown and the former would like to be there, too.
Lamar Hunt (February 1998)
D-Day in Dublin
At the time of the article, the Columbus Crew owner already had lost the battle for a Downtown Columbus soccer stadium. Many Dubliners didn't want a Columbus Crew stadium built on their turf, either, and the article was written just shy of voters' rejection of a public-private venture. The $28 millon stadium landed at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Grounds in May 1999 and was paid for by Hunt. Current Crew owner Anthony Precourt began studying last fall whether to build a new stadium, and he is known to favor a Downtown site.
Frank Wobst (May 1998)
A big question mark hung over the future of Huntington Bancshares. Then-CEO Frank Wobst knew the answer, but he wasn't talking. In lieu of an interview with Wobst—who declined—an article looked at all the speculation revolving around Huntington's future due in part to the sudden departure of No. 2 guy Zuheir Sofia to start his own business. Many thought the bank would sell. Actually, Huntington never was bought out, and Wobst retired in 2001 after 27 years with the bank. He died in 2009. Thomas Hoaglin, his successor, retired in 2009 and was replaced by Stephen Steinour. The bank celebrated 150 years in Columbus in 2016.
Smith Bros. Building (July 1998)
Back From the Dead
In 1998, the Smith Bros. Hardware building didn't house businesses, but squatters. Realtor Todd Kemmerer had been trying to sell the 1929 warehouse space to no avail, though he never lost enthusiasm for its potential. Finally, Doug Cheesman, then-CEO of store design firm Retail Planning Associates, took an interest in the building. It suited him because it was unique, butting up against Downtown, directly off a new leg of I-670 and rentable. Also, renovation was cheaper than starting from scratch. And Cheesman thought of everything, right down to making sure added bricks came from the same kiln as the originals. Stev Guyer (June 1999)
Stev Guyer (June 1999)
Making a Move
Shadowbox Cabaret—now Shadowbox Live—was moving to Easton Town Center from its original Downtown home in '99. Easton provided the theater with more room and a full liquor license. Easton benefitted from the edgy image Shadowbox cast on the mall. These days, Shadowbox Live is back near Downtown, in 32,000 square feet of the Worley Building in the Brewery District. The building was first leased by the troupe and then purchased in 2015 for $5.1 million.
Nancy Kramer (September 1999)
During an era that was fertile for new technology to crop up, Columbus had its fair share of “technopreneurs.” The article highlighted Nancy Kramer, founder and now-chairman of Resource/Ammirati: An IBM Company, who at the time created a niche by helping people use new technologies to move products. However, in 1999, Columbus ranked well below the national average in venture capital investments and startup tech companies, said then-Ohio State President Brit Kirwan. Today, the city competes well enough to have won the national Smart City Challenge.