Historic building revitalization and new development are bringing East Town Street back to life.
East Town Street's once-regal 1830s mansions devolved over the years into offices, apartments and, eventually, parking lots. In 1976, the Junior League took over nearby Kelton House, starting a 35-year renewal including the development of the Topiary Park in the 1990s. Add the Discovery District SID development and safety initiatives and Columbus Metropolitan Library's plans to renovate the main library in February (adding a glass front to overlook the Topiary Park and an outdoor reading room) to the mix, and things are looking up on Town Street.
Bug Control of Ohio & Falcon Equities Office, 405 E. Town St.
Once the home of Dr. James Fairchild Baldwin, founder of Grant Hospital, this Italianate mansion housed the O'Shaughnessy Co. Funeral Home for more than 60 years. Building owner Brent Williams plans to start renovations to blend the 1850s building and its 1960s addition into a seamless commercial office space, apartments and community meeting room in early 2015.
The Topiary Park Gatehouse, 480 E. Town St.
What looks to be a turn-of-the-century grand entrance to the Old Deaf School Park and the Topiary Park was built in 1998 to complement the surrounding architecture. This building serves as a home to Friends of the Topiary Park to support the park and provide community events and concerts.
Rhiel & Associates, 394 E. Town St.
Bankruptcy lawyer Susan Rhiel purchased this building in 2007. She replaced the roof, repaired eight chimneys, painted the interior and hired a Mennonite woodworker to research and restore the decorative elements on the face of the building.
Replenish Spa Co-op, 124 and 126 S. Washington Ave.
In an effort to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood, Motorists Insurance purchased properties near the park, including one hosting amenities such as spa services and donation-based yoga. A remodel of the carriage house-including the addition of heat and wooden floors-makes a yoga and event space like no other.
Cristo Rey Columbus High School, 400 E. Town St.
A private high school for low-income families known for its robust work-study program, Cristo Rey took over a portion of the Old Deaf School in 2013. Schooley Caldwell Associates and Corna Kokosing brought the building down to load-bearing walls, adding a new roof, new windows and modern technology. Three of the five floors are complete, with the top two slated to be finished by 2015.
Lazarus House, 380 E. Town St.
This French Second Empire-style home became a trifecta of apartments in January after a long life as offices. Concerned it would be turned into a parking lot after sitting on the market for five years, Nancy Recchie and Jeff Darbee (who writes Columbus Monthly's City Quotient column) purchased the home and used historic tax credits to renovate the building, finding intricate parquet tiles under four layers of flooring.