DeWine announces new $1.1 billion Columbus technology district


A rendering of the Innovation District on Ohio State’s west campus. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

Ohio is looking to create a third technology hub in Columbus, following innovation districts in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Gov. Mike DeWine, joined by Ohio State, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and city leaders, officially announced the Columbus Innovation District Wednesday. The district, which will be located on the university’s West Campus, is an initiative to draw science and technology professionals to the city over the next 10 years.

About $1.1 billion is expected to be poured into the project with the hope of creating 20,000 jobs — half in the health and technology industries — adding $3 billion to the economy in Central Ohio, according to a Wednesday press release from the governor’s office.

University President Kristina M. Johnson said in the release the university will spend $650 million on the new West Campus facilities as part of the district. New construction projects include an Interdisciplinary Research Facility and an outpatient care facility in Dublin, Ohio.

J.P. Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio, said the nonprofit, which sponsors economic development in the state, will invest up to $100 million in the project, while Nationwide Children’s CEO Tim Robinson said the hospital will contribute $350 million. The remaining $2 billion is expected to come from real estate and housing developments for the incoming workers, according to the release.

“This strategic partnership with JobsOhio will create new opportunities for our faculty, staff and student researchers and entrepreneurs, further positioning central Ohio as a leader to develop the exciting potential at the interfaces of biomedical and computer science and engineering research,” Johnson said.

The Cincinnati Innovation District launched in March 2020 as the first of the state’s development projects, while the Cleveland Innovation District launched in January 2021.

“The Columbus Innovation District will be the third anchor in our strategy to build on Ohio’s growing dominance as a world leader in medical research and healthcare talent,” DeWine said in the release. “These districts will attract researchers, who can create, develop, and share their ideas with the world from Ohio.”

While Ohio is the seventh most populous state in the country, it has one of the lowest population growth rates as of July 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

In early February, DeWine asked the state legislature to allocate $50 million for a two-year marketing campaign encouraging people to move to Ohio as part of the next state budget.

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