I've lived in Columbus all my life and can say the arena and surrounding area saved downtown and the Short North from a slow, painful death. Prior to the arena, the land it stands on was the old Ohio Penitentiary site that had been vacant for decades. It was also surrounded by gutted out warehouses full of broken windows, weeds and dirt. Basically, the entire area was as attractive and useful as a landfill. Nationwide realty built the arena, tons of condos and apartments, updated the infrustructure of roads, they've renovated empty warehouses into gorgeous loft style condos, created the park down at the river and are building the state of the art Huntington Park. Basically, they created a city within a city. It was the best thing to happen to Columbus that I can ever remember. Of course, I've been a hockey fan my whole life, so I'm a little biased. The arena and team also caused hockey to become a big sport in Columbus. Growing up, we had 1 rink at Ohio State. Now, there have to be around 10 buildings, many with multiple rinks inside. I'm rambling, but you get the point. The arena was HUGE for the city of Columbus.