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Best in the Midwest: Columbus

September 20, 2016

According to this article in Time Magazine, Columbus ranks as Best in the Midwest.

Population 822,548
Median Home Price $131,500
Average Property Tax $2,571
Unemployment Rate 4.1%

When brothers Andy and Phil George decided to find a permanent home for their then-fledgling company in 2012, Columbus was a no-brainer. It wasn’t just the low cost of living vs. Los Angeles, where they launched the business, or the dozen-plus Fortune 1,000 firms in town, or the resources of Ohio State University. It was the promise of a city on the rise. “We felt there was a lot of positive momentum,” says Andy George, cofounder of startup MentorcliQ, which helps launch and manage employee mentoring programs.

You sure could say that. In the past five years more than 150 companies have moved to the area, drawn by a highly educated workforce—the region has more than 60 college and university campuses—and a solid business base that includes major retailers L Brands and Abercrombie & Fitch. Downtown Columbus is also host to the Fortune 100 company Nationwide Insurance located in the Arena District.

In 2015 the city saw the highest wage growth in the country, with average hourly wages shooting up 6.2%, far exceeding the national rate of around 2% and surpassing even such go-go burgs as San Fran-cisco (6%).

The latest coup: Columbus recently beat out 78 cities in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge to win $50 million in grants to supplement the $90 million the city has raised to modernize transportation; plans include corridors for self-driving vehicles and a fleet of electric city cars.

Columbus: Making the Midwest Cool

Bill Bachmann—Alamy

“There has been a real desire to see the city grow and reach its potential,” says Kenny McDonald, president and chief economic officer of Columbus 2020, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus region.

Higher home prices have come on the heels of the city’s growing popularity—the median price of $131,500 is up $19,000 since the end of 2014—but for newcomers coming from other cities this size, that seems a bargain. Single–family homes and luxury condos in the city’s hopping Arena District and Grandview Yard neighborhoods, start at about $350,000. If you are interested in living in downtown Columbus check out the new condominiums along the river – Parks Edge. Move away from the city center and prices plunge below $200,000. Even the “far” neighborhoods aren’t much of a haul, says George, who lives in Short North with his wife and two daughters. “There is no part of the city you can’t get to in less than 30 minutes.”

HOT HOOD: About a mile from downtown Columbus, Grandview Yard sits as the perfect blend of urban energy and suburban ease. It offers the best of the city in your backyard. Whether you are visiting one of the exceptional hotels for an OSU home game, or calling Grandview Yard the new home of your business, you’ll fall in love with the area’s lush greenspaces, brick and tree-lined walkways, and urban convenience. Check out the new 828 At the Yard Condominiums currently under construction.