Developers Attempt to Rebrand Columbus’ East Franklinton Neighborhood as Little West

The new name for the neighborhood on the tip of the Scioto Peninsula comes courtesy of hotel developer Makeready, the company behind the Junto hotel.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Developers are pitching Little West as a new moniker for the tip of the Scioto Peninsula, which is undergoing a $500 million, multiphase redevelopment led by the Columbus Downtown Development Corp.

The tract of land from the Scioto River’s west bank to the railroad tracks where Franklinton begins has long been called the Scioto Peninsula or, simply, the Peninsula.

The area linking Downtown with Franklinton, shunned for years because of its history as a flood plain, is currently undergoing a $500 million, multiphase redevelopment project by the Columbus Downtown Development Corp.

Some are proposing a new name for the Peninsula, including Jim Merkel, CEO of Rockbridge and a key player in redeveloping the Peninsula. His idea? Little West, which is catchy like Short North but also sounds a bit like a middling NCAA conference.

“We were passionate about calling it Little West, just because it was kind of a new frontier of Downtown, and Little West is the spirit of going West and discovery,” Merkel says. “Little West just feels right for this area and the creative community that’s already there. Just that whole spirit of the West ... opportunity, creativity and new discoveries.”

The marketing team at Makeready, Rockbridge’s hotel management company, is running with it. The Junto, Makeready’s 198-room hotel being built on the Peninsula, will house a restaurant called Little West Tavern (see Page 82), featuring a wood-burning hearth menu meant to conjure pioneers and the American West. (No word yet on whether hardtack will make a cameo.)

The Junto’s new general manager, Jason Delcamp, who recently relocated from Colorado—the actual West—didn’t realize the Peninsula’s name change hasn’t been, ahem, settled. “I thought everybody knew what Little West was,” he says, laughing.

This story is from the January 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.