A major opening and a major closing that turned out to open an unexpected door marked highlights for the Northland area in 2016.

A major opening and a major closing that turned out to open an unexpected door marked highlights for the Northland area in 2016.

One door closes

A mid-March announcement by Meijer executives that the store at 5555 Cleveland Ave. would close in June took community leaders by surprise, and not the pleasant kind.

Frank Guglielmi, senior director of communications for the Michigan-based retailer and grocery chain, said the age and design of the store, which opened in 1988, meant it did not make economic sense to renovate or remodel the building.

Another door opens

In November, Huntington Bancshares officials committed to build a 210,000-square-foot office called the Huntington Gateway Center in the remodeled Meijer store. Bank officials also announced plans to add 1,000 jobs locally by 2024 and focus a $300 million lending program on the Northland and Linden neighborhoods over the next five years.

Library reopens

Yet another opening occurred Sept. 24, when the new Northern Lights branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library debuted at the site of the old building, 4093 Cleveland Ave. At 26,100 square feet, the replacement branch is, for the moment, the largest in the library system.

Line work begins

Construction began in August for the Central Ohio Transit Authority's Bus Rapid Transit line, stretching along Cleveland Avenue from downtown to the Northland area and beyond.

The project, which is to be completed and start service in January 2018, is expected to cost $48.6 million, according to Matt Selhorst, COTA's primary engineer for the line known as CMAX. The federal government and COTA are funding it.

Nonprofit starts store

In a local example of a trend for many nonprofits, the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio opened a retail location at 2165 Morse Road. Called Furniture With a Heart, the store and warehouse will serve as a fundraising wing for the organization.