Panera coming to Nationwide Children’s building at Parsons and Livingston


A Panera Bread cafe will open this fall in Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s new faculty office building at Parsons and Livingston avenues – a foray into street-level retail for the hospital and a second site for the Central Ohio franchisee to reach an enthusiastic health-care clientele.

Physicians and clinical support staff start moving in late May to the $45 million, 150,000-square-foot building at the site of a former KFC outlet, alleviating crowding in an office building on the north side of Livingston Avenue.

Residents and business groups in the Parsons Avenue and south Columbus areas had requested that retail return to the site, said Patty McClimon, senior vice president of strategic and facilities development. Plus, a lease defrays operating costs for the pediatric hospital.

“We wanted to honor our promise to the neighborhood,” she said. “(Meanwhile) our staff were asking for quick, healthy, fast-casual type of dining.”

Covelli Enterprises, Panera Bread Co.’s largest franchise owner, was attracted by Children’s expansion and surrounding redevelopment it spurred, spokeswoman Liz Fiorino said. Warren-based Covelli has been a donor to the hospital since acquiring the Central Ohio franchises in 2010.

Covelli opened its first hospital-campus Panera in February, tucked under a parking garage adjoining Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. There are two other Ohio State Paneras, she said, but business has been brisk with hospital employees.

“We were actually blown away,” she said. “We’re hoping for a similar success at Nationwide Children’s.”

Covelli surveyed customers at its Panera at 684 S. High St. in German Village, she said, and found very little overlap. Most customers to that location are coming from the Franklin County governmental and courts complex or other spots downtown.

Brian Higgins