Why did Campus Partners include the iconic Larry's Bar sign in its 15th and High redevelopment renderings?

Why did Campus Partners include the iconic Larry's Bar sign in its 15th and High redevelopment renderings?

A mysterious apparition appeared at the June announcement of Campus Partners' latest ambitious redevelopment project. When Ohio State University's nonprofit development arm unveiled its plans in June to turn 15th and High into a grand public space, an artistic rendering included the iconic sign of a long dead campus business: Larry's Bar.

The sign's appearance was symbolic. Keith Myers, Ohio State's associate vice president of planning and real estate, says he asked ?the artist to include the sign as a signal to those in the know that Campus Partners recognizes the need to attract businesses like Larry's to Pearl Alley, High Street's funkier cousin a block east. "We wanted people to understand that we're trying," says Myers, the chairman of the Campus Partners board. "We're trying very, very hard to make Pearl Alley a unique experience."

Though Campus Partners had no part in the closing of the bohemian hangout in 2008, the developer is responsible for other major changes along High Street, some of which haven't pleased campus old-timers. Its two most significant redevelopment projects-first the South Campus Gateway and now 15th and High-have resulted in the loss of such distinctive businesses as Johnny Go's House O'Music, Bernie's and Mean Mr. Mustard's. University District Area Commission Chairwoman Doreen Uhas Sauer welcomes Campus Partners' grittier vision for Pearl Alley. "You can't anticipate everything, but Pearl I think might be a success story," Uhas Sauer says.

The project, however, will have to go on without the Larry's sign, which now belongs to the Ohio History Connection. A group of University District residents persuaded the family of bar namesake Larry Paoletti to give them the sign, which was then donated (along with other campus memorabilia) to the state history organization. But that doesn't mean a replica couldn't one day hang along Pearl Alley. If some aspiring entrepreneurs wanted to study the original and create their own version for a new Larry's, they're welcome to do so (though it might make sense to get permission from the Paoletti family first). "Our collection is open and accessible to everyone," says Ohio History Connection spokeswoman Emmy Beach.