From the funky to the extravagant, new event venues are opening up in the Columbus area
Just in time for graduation and wedding season, several new event venues are opening in Central Ohio, offering options from the upscale to the funky.
The events industry has emerged from the COVID pandemic, which has largely shut down weddings, corporate events and social gatherings for most of 2020.
“The industry has fully recovered in Central Ohio,” said John Brooks, managing partner of BTTS Holdings, which operates several central Ohio event venues, including the newly expanded Cove at WatersEdge in Hilliard. “We are back and exceeding 2019 levels and bookings for the entire event industry.”
Brooks said that while wedding and family events have returned quickly after the lifting of COVID restrictions, corporate and social events are now leading in demand.
“Even before the announcement of Intel and Honda Battery Factory and things like that, we saw a real need in the market for corporate retreats, especially for small and medium-sized corporate events,” Brooks said.
Crema Crawford and Taylor Kane, who have a background in event planning, began looking for a venue opening downtown in the summer of 2020, in the days of the coronavirus outbreak. This week, they’re opening Genesis Downtown and are thrilled with the interest they’re seeing.
“A lot of nonprofits and public events are looking for space,” Taylor said.
Genesis and Cove are among at least five new event spaces opening this spring to take advantage of the need, as well as some flagship spaces, like the newly expanded Hilton Columbus Downtown, which opened last year.
“There’s a lot of open space now, just a lot of great space,” Crawford said. “We knew we would have competition, but there are enough events going on for everyone.”
A look at the new spaces:
The Cove, 4643 Truman Blvd., Hilliard
The Cove adds 20,000 square feet to the 10,000 square foot WatersEdge Convention Center in Hilliard. With the expansion, the space has two venues, one for up to 200 guests and the other for 250, not including the space on the adjoining patio. The space has a full kitchen, staff that can arrange all the details of the event including entertainment, flowers, electronics/audio visuals, as well as food.
Details: WatersEdge events
Genesis Downtown, 174E Long Street
This venue is opening this week on the first floor of a standard downtown building, which sat vacant for years before being renovated. The 2,700 square foot space can accommodate up to 150 guests. Unlike other venues with full kitchens, Genesis allows guests to work with their own caterers, though the space includes a commercial kitchenette for restaurant use, along with a bar.
Details: Genesis Downtown
Vitria on the Square, 14 E. 15th Ave.
Vitria occupies 20,000 square feet on the second floor of a new building in University Square, Ohio State University development on the east side of North High Street at 15th Street. Vitria offers several smaller spaces and a ballroom that can seat over 300 when fully opened, Or it can be divided into smaller places. The space has a full kitchen on site and a balcony overlooking the square below.
For more details: Vitria on the Square
The Kee, 225 Nellston Street.
Newly opened Kee’s offers rentable space in the back of its multi-purpose space, which includes a restaurant, game rooms and a café. The venue can accommodate up to 700 visitors, seating over 300 when fully opened, or it can be divided into spaces for groups as small as 30. The venue has a large bar, food stand, and on-site kitchen that can provide all-round service.
Details: The Key Columbus
Franklin Gallery, 77 Beale Street.
This ballroom on the second floor of the soon-to-open The Junto Hotel next to COSI in Franklinton can seat up to 180 dinner guests. The gallery features a dedicated kitchen and terrace, which can be opened onto an adjacent space to expand capacity. The 198-room hotel also offers smaller spaces for rent to businesses or other gatherings.
Details: The Junto Hotel