Dusty Kotchou says he welcomes new businesses to the Brewery District, but not necessarily the addition of more cars to an already overcrowded parking situation.
Kotchou is a partner in Kolache Republic, a cafe serving Czech pastries and coffee at 730 S. High St.
"A few years back there was never a time when you would have to park more than a half a block from your destination," Kotchou said. "Now it's become like the Short North: You might drive around 15 minutes to find a spot."
And on-street parking spots are about to become less available.
The Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment has given a landlord the green light to create three more food-and-beverage uses in the Brewery District.
The BZA on Feb. 26 approved a parking variance for Frankfurt LLC, owner of 740 S. High St., former home to German Village Pet Supply and Inner Beauty Design Studio.
The building has one remaining tenant, F.A. Goodman Architects LLC.
The variance reduced the number of required parking spaces for the building from 24 to 0, which also includes apartments on the second floor. The building is at the southeast corner of Frankfort and High streets, and includes the addresses of 740-746 S. High St.
Dave Perry, a consultant representing the property owner, told the BZA it is Frankfurt's desire to create an upscale cocktail lounge in the largest space, which is 1,500 square feet.
The developer is in negotiations to fill the other two spaces -- roughly 1,000 and 900 square feet -- with quick-casual uses, Perry said.
Frankfurt officials declined to disclose prospective because they still are in negotiations, he said.
In just the past few years, that area of South High has become a vibrant destination, with the addition of Local Cantina, Smoked on High and Ambrose & Eve -- all restaurants -- plus Daily Growler, a bar specializing in craft beer, and Antiques on High, a brewery and bar.
John Blakely, owner of the Daily Growler, 702 S. High St., said his situation is a little different in that he has eight parking spaces and parking at an adjacent business after hours.
"We have our own lot, which is nice and kind of rare in the area," Blakely said. "And we've found the free High Street parking to be adequate."
Blakely said he, too, likes the idea of more entertainment options in the area, which increases the profile of the neighborhood, but worries Columbus will install parking meters in the district.
Matt Heaggans, co-owner of Ambrose & Eve, 716 S. High St., said he doesn't think there's too much of a parking problem just yet, but it's looming.
"Parking here can be tough but I've never had anybody tell me they've left because they couldn't find a place to park," Heaggans said. "I think the neighborhood has space for more leisure food-and-drink establishments."
Further complicating matters is permit parking on side streets, he said.
There is public parking at the Grange Insurance parking garage on South Front Street.
Kotchou said he would like to see city to look at creating more parking -- either a garage or surface-level lot -- in the area, as the district grows in popularity.
"You want progress so that's part of the challenge: to find balance with progress," he said.