These Old Buildings
Housing demand pushes developers to revamp historic Downtown structures
Photo credits: Tom Dodge, above. Below from top to bottom, Fred Squillante; Tim Johnson; Adam Cairns; Eric Albrecht
As developers scramble to meet increased demand for Downtown living, many are transforming former factories, banks and office buildings into apartments. “Typically, renovation costs less than new construction,” says Robert Loversidge, CEO of architecture firm Schooley Caldwell Associates. “If you think of a basic building, it already has foundations, floors, walls, stair towers.” Even so, four aging structures being retooled as apartments come with unique challenges—from touching up an exterior to removing asbestos and rewiring electrical systems.
50 W. Broad St.
Former use: Office space (with a penthouse apartment)
Project cost: $27.6 million
Why it was saved: “It’s an icon for Columbus,” Loversidge says. “It’s kind of tired, so we’re trying to wake it up.”
What’s being done: Restoring the terra-cotta facade, remodeling offices, installing a three-story lobby and creating apartments. There’s also hope for a boutique hotel, he adds.
Challenges: Keeping HVAC, lighting and mechanical systems working for current tenants
Reopening: In about three years
Julian & Kokenge Co. factory
280 S. Front St.
Former use: Shoe factory, then storage
Project cost: Between $12 million and $14 million
Why it was saved: Julian & Kokenge was key to Ohio’s shoemaking industry, and its headquarters represent a rare local example of 20th-century industrial architecture.
What’s being done: Removing bricks covering windows to restore historic character, then building about 90 apartments with parking on lower floors
Challenges: Developer Casto is waiting to see whether the building will be added to the National Register of Historic Places, making it eligible for tax credits, partner Bill Riat explains.
Reopening: Apartment conversion is set to begin in spring, he says.
8 E. Long St.
Former use: Bank, then commercial space
Project cost: Not released
Why it was saved: Architectural touches, including the hand-carved cornice that tops the building. “When we clean that up, it’s just going to shine,” Loversidge says.
What’s being done: Creating about 100 units of rental housing, from studios to two-bedrooms
Challenges: Updating fire, air-conditioning, sprinkler and mechanical systems without sacrificing historical character
Reopening: Schooley Caldwell plans to apply for building permits in about a month.
203-213 S. High St.,
Former use: Offices, retail space
Project cost: Not released
Why it’s being demolished: Lifestyle Communities declined comment, but last year, former owner Columbus Downtown Development Corp. said the building was saddled with wear and asbestos and that it had poor layout for apartment conversion.
What’s being done: Lifestyle Communities plans to tear down the Trautman and an adjacent building to erect a seven-story complex with 23,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 88 apartments.
Reopening: LC applied for demolition permits Dec. 28 but hasn’t yet broken ground.
A glance at three major apartment conversions in the works outside Downtown
Wonder Bread Lofts
727 N. Fourth St., Italian Village
Former use: Bakery
Move in: Starting Aug. 1
Yankee on High
463 N. High St., Arena District
Former use: Yankee Trader store
Move in: Mid-August
1024 N. High St., Short North
Former use: Document storage
Move in: Early summer 2014