Downtown drawing more projects that revitalize old sites into new ones.

When the Wittmann Co. development firm began assembling properties 19 years ago in the fading industrial district immediately west of the relic Ohio Penitentiary, the area then called Pen West did not come across as a section of Downtown ripe for redevelopment.

“The walls of the penitentiary were up,” Principal Stephen Wittmann recalls of the area, noting tractor trailers were regularly stored on the site where the Huntington Park ballfield now stands. “The properties were still totally separated from the rest of Downtown.”

A lot has occurred since then, with the 2000 opening of Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey franchise, and the many offices and residential buildings built in the wake of the sports and entertainment venue’s debut.

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