If you’ve walked through Pearl Alley on your way to Gay Street, you’ve noticed work crews or the spray-painted squares and arrows stretching down the brick walkway. Alley improvements of more than $1 million to Pearl and Lynn Alleys began early this spring. The City of Columbus and Capital Crossroads SID both are confident that these improvements will help lure retailers to the area, as well as upgrade the sight of the ever-popular Pearl Market. The improvements include electrical work, new lighting, replacing bricks, and enclosures for the trash bins. Two historic clocks, which were previously restored by the Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, will also be installed. The refurbished clocks will be installed at North High Street and East Lynn Street and at 21 East Gay Street.
The new light poles will brighten the alley while adding architectural interest; the poles at the Pearl Alley entrances and the entrance at Lynn Alley and 3rd will feature a sculptural element of a hand holding a pearl and the words “Pearl Market.” This will help brand the market, while adding to the public art landscape.
The future of retail downtown is expected to trend toward smaller-scale locations. The buildings surrounding the alley lend themselves well to such projects, due to their size and affordability of rent. These improvements should help draw visitors as well as retailers to the alley locations, and will also help building owners lease space on higher floors.
“These alleys are among the most exotic locations in central Ohio,” said SID Executive Director Cleve Ricksecker. “Retail alleys in other cities are a prime destination for both locals and visitors.”
“Pearl Market couldn’t be more excited for the alley improvements,” said Pearl Market Manager Adam Schroeder. “Not only will the improvements help beautify the alley, but they will add new infrastructure including lighting, much needed electrical upgrades, and dumpster consolidation/enclosures.”
The work is expected to conclude in June.