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Ibel Building at Third and High Next Up for Redevelopment

Brent Warren Brent Warren Ibel Building at Third and High Next Up for Redevelopment
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Although plans appear to be in the early stages, the Stonehenge Company is looking to build on the current site of the Ibel Building at the corner of West Third Avenue and North High Street in the Short North.

Architect Jonathan Barnes presented a proposal for a six-story, 32-unit apartment building to the Victorian Village Commission at their August 14th meeting. Renderings show a modern design featuring glass and metal materials, although it was stressed that elements of both the design and the configuration could change in future iterations.

One notable feature of the proposal is the parking garage, which is designed to hold 32 smart cars, with additional space for hanging 24 bikes. The garage would sit behind a small lobby and a 1,900-square foot retail storefront.


Since it was a conceptual review, no vote was taken on the proposal by the commission.

Commissioner Marc Conte said he was eager to see what the developer came back with, given the constraints of the site (it is relatively small and sits right up against a pair of two-and-a-half-story residential buildings to the west). He also said he was intrigued by the ideas presented for the garage.

“I think that’s great,” he said. “Now that we have all these options – Car2Go, Uber, Lyft, CoGo – the ability for Short North residents to forego a car is there in a way it wasn’t before, and it’s good to see developers responding to that.”

The existing single-story building located at 1055 North High Street was the location of the Ibel Gallery until its closing in 2011, and gallery owner Rebecca Ibel is now the curator and director of The Pizzuti Collection. The building is currently home to the Ibel Agency, a creative design company led by Sebastian Ibel, which is planning to relocate Downtown within a few months.

For ongoing discussion and updates on this development, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

All visuals by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design.


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  • Mike88

    Not really a fan of this design. I would prefer something more traditional that matches the neighboring buildings. Also I don’t like how it butts directly up against the houses behind it.

    I know these are just concept drawings but it looks like it would be very out of place in the neighborhood.

    • I disagree. I like that the design stands out from the surroundings. The neighborhood is getting a nice mix of traditional and modern designs that should look eclectic for the Arts District.

  • I generally like to see a unique design for a new building, but I find this one to be very unattractive. In the last picture, the large white walls really strike me as overwhelming. Plus, the whole design seems unbalanced.

    I’m glad this is in the planning stages. It will be good to see even more density forming here.

  • Jason Powell

    I don’t understand how the Stonehenge Co can go into a commission meeting confidently with a rendering so poorly created and expect to get people excited. I also don’t understand how a firm as reputable has Jonathan Barnes could create such a bad rendering. It does no justice to the proposal and does little to convince most that this project is worthy of endorsing. And what is up with the north façade – there are no windows on two very large sections!!?? I’m fine with “modern” structures here and there but to totally neglect adequate fenestration in modern architecture still puzzles me. The architect obviously did not visualize him/herself walking down High St next to this building. If they did, what makes them think that people would want to look at blank soulless walls. Now, if that were dedicated mural space, I would be all for it. When is the last time you saw a developer or architect propose art as part of the building? With the loss of several murals and a somewhat diminishing art scene in the Short North, I think designating walls in a proposal would not only reinforce the art image of the neighborhood but also make the building more marketable as something truly unique.

    They can do better.

    • Brent states in the article that it’s in a very early stage, and only going in for conceptual review. The purpose is to talk about the concept and not about specific details.

      I assume that’s why a fuzzy watercolor was created without a whole lot of detail, just to give a vague sense of the building without going into all of the details. Once the initial conversations are had about the concept, something a bit more concrete should be expected in rounds two or three or beyond.

      I’m surprised if anyone thinks that the final project will look identical to those images above.

  • dru

    I had high hopes for the architecture, but like others the initial concept is entirely underwhelming.

    but to me the oddest thing is the incredible gimmick. every owner needs to commit to a Smart car or no car?

    as a one car homeowner I get the concept or reducing the amount of spaces needed. but you’re going to try and rent/sell units to 32 persons/homeowners who want a only very specific car? While the site of Smart cars has increased with the arrival of Car2Go, they should keep in mind that actual sales of Smart cars are are slowly rebuilding from abysmal levels but are still incredibly low http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2014/08/usa-auto-sales-rankings-by-make-model-july-2014-ytd-sales-figures.html

  • heresthecasey

    This is clearly a very early/conceptual look at the project, and it will no doubt go through more iterations as the design is developed further over the coming months.

    Overall though, I think the form is pretty good, as far as the massing stepping down from High to 3rd. I also quite like the facade articulation they’re starting to show for the units and their balconies. The ‘blank’ walls look very much to me like dedicated space for murals, which I think is a great idea at this location.

    While the ‘smart car garage’ does sound a bit odd as a concept, all in all it’s looking like this will turn out to be a solid addition to the neighborhood.

    • heresthecasey

      I’ll also add that I think it’s great to see another developer who has previously been focused solely on the suburbs start showing interest in dense, urban projects.

  • Jason Powell

    I realize that this is a very early concept but, at the same time, I think a little more thought could have went into it with minimal effort. It just looks very amateur. It tarnishes the first impression.

    • Well, I think the point of the vague watercolors at this early step was to provide a conversation starting point specifically with the Victorian Village Commission for conceptual review, and not to make a positive first impression on the community at large. ;)

      Creating more detailed renderings takes both time and money. And it’s kind of a waste to do it as step one if you’re only going to have to completely re-do everything all over again.

      • Jason Powell

        I would have rendered one for them in a day for free and for the fun of it :P Ok, maybe a couple of days. Producing that in Sketchup with rendering capabilities would not be too difficult. Either way, maybe I’m over thinking this. The commission now knows the scale and the style for which the developer is going for.

  • goldenidea

    My first thought regarding those large white walls was… “Orange Barrel Media”. So murals or creative ads, take your pick; if they get built something should probably cover them.

    I agree that it’s a shame to not find a way to provide north-facing windows. Also, although a glass-enclosed stairway appears on the south side, there aren’t any windows on the south façade either. So the two best views along High Street (north & south), though unobstructed at this location, will not be accessible. Also, I wonder if recessed balconies facing High Street will let much natural light into the units.

  • bradhowe

    Another great design by Mr. Barnes.

    While I personally prefer more traditional developments having diversity in design is crucial to the long term success of the Short North. Having contemporary buildings, while some may not like, adds positivley to the artistic element of the area.

  • Scoobner

    Another big box. Short on investment, big on return – that’s the goal here isn’t it? There are more interesting cubicles in the Nationwide building. Glad there are a number of older brick buildings in the area to hold up this monster-sized broom closet. Go back to the suburbs or visit a real city and take some notes. Start here: http://www.knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightblog/2014/6/16/using-urban-experiments-find-happier-streets/

  • Jason Powell

    Sadly Scoobner, I think most, not all, architects and developers have lost the ability to plan for the pedestrian realm – the ability to visualize walking down the street next to a proposal to get a sense of its scale, aesthetic appeal and interactivity on foot. It is probably the last thing considered but should be one of the first things considered. When a developer includes long stretches of blank walls, that either tells me that they really don’t know how to develop in an urban neighborhood and/or they just do not care. You have to have interactivity between the inside and the outside of the building – think The Pearl or Marcellas. Both are located in human scale buildings with the activity inside spilling outdoors into the pedestrian realm making a walk down the street more exciting and interesting. You don’t get that staring at concrete or smoked glass windows.

    I’m not picking on Stonehenge for this proposal (just yet) because its early but I certainly hope that they develop a building that fits in with the walkable nature of the Short North and I certainly hope that the IV commission holds them to a higher standard. Modern can be more than acceptable, if done correctly. Just don’t allow the portion of the building seen most by those walking down the street at eye level be the most meaningless.

    • Jason Powell

      ^^I meant VV commission.

  • Scoobner

    It’s another useful black hole that will rob the area of the character that attracted new life to itself 25 years ago. Short North, Victorian/Italian Village is one of the few areas of the city with any personality and because it’s marketable, developers are here to cash in. They don’t care about the culture or the future. It’s all a blank canvas hanging on a wall covered in $$. Columbus is barely what could be considered a real city now and already it’s looking at updated strip malls and fast food architecture to reorganize its gold mines. Don’t sell it short. Demand more.

  • rory

    I’m excited to see the future details. I really like the way the overall form and how it’s massed to engage the adjacent buildings. I also like the sculptural blank facades. It’s a nice counter to the busy historic fenestration in the neighborhood. Great addition to the neighborhood so far. I hope the VV commission let’s him run with it.

  • Looks very soviet bloc to me.

  • urbanshmurban

    If you have strong feelings about this project (either good or bad), it’s on the agenda for the next Victorian Village Commission meeting, Thursday, October 9 at 6:15 pm at the Beacon Building at Gay and Front.

  • MikeB

    I actually find this design kind of cool. Hopefully as the Short North grows upwards the designs will get more creative but this is definitely a start.

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