Economic Impact of RiverPark Campus Estimated to be $21 Million Annually

COLUMBUS, Ga. --- A study shows the economic impact of Columbus State University’s RiverPark campus in downtown Columbus is estimated to be more than $21 million annually.

The analysis was done by professor Ben Blair, the Sarah T. Butler Distinguished University Chair in Business and Finance and Director of the Butler Center for Business and Economic Research in CSU’s Turner College of Business. The report was finalized in spring 2015.

Current expenditures by the university on its downtown campus supports 227 jobs annually and provides $11.2 million in labor income annually. Combine that with spending by students who live in CSU housing downtown and the “output” or economic impact of CSU’s RiverPark campus is $21.5 million a year, Blair says.

“The recurring personnel and non-personnel expenditures by the university and the expenditures by students who are housed at the RiverPark campus generate significant on-going impact,” Blair said. “The annual economic impact of $21.5 million is over and above the amount CSU has spent since the early 1990s on building purchases and renovations downtown.”

Columbus and Columbus State University has been recognized for years for their partnerships that have helped revitalize downtown Columbus. Groups from other cities and states frequently visit to see what’s happening here, and in 2011 two nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving Columbus’ downtown area, Uptown Columbus, Inc., and Business Improvement District, recognized the university with its fourth annual Rozier Dewylder Leadership Award, presented annually to an individual or entity that embodies the vision and energy of Dewylder, a Columbus architect credited with launching the revitalization of the area now known as Uptown.

Blair tracked CSU’s efforts to develop a presence in downtown back to a 1995 decision by the Board of Regents to allow the Schwob School of Music to move. The next year CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center opened. Two years later, the university acquired the Rankin building, clearing the way for the first students to live downtown.

Today, more than 450 students live on CSU’s RiverPark campus, which is also home to the university's College of the Arts. Soon, CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions will also move downtown, bringing an additional 1,800 faculty, staff and students.