Skaters crowd the Centrum in December 1979 for some winter revelry in downtown Columbus.

The destination was in a sunken plaza at the southeast corner of Town and South High streets -- where the Columbus City Center mall later stood and what is now the site of Columbus Commons. With its restaurant and a combo ice- and roller-skating rink, the Centrum was supposed to be an attraction similar to New York City's Rockefeller Center.

The $3.4 million project opened Dec. 7, 1979, and was the first facility built in the three-block Capitol South urban-renewal area.

It was paid for by a federal grant intended to revitalize the area south of the Statehouse.

The site closed in 1986 after becoming isolated from downtown activity as buildings near it were razed and converted into parking lots.

In 1988, the 1-acre plaza was sold to the developer of City Center, which opened there with great fanfare in 1989. It would be demolished only 20 years later.