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Rich Street Building Being Renovated with Eye Toward Strong Downtown Office Market

Brent Warren Brent Warren Rich Street Building Being Renovated with Eye Toward Strong Downtown Office MarketPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The new owner of 145 East Rich Street — a historic, four-story building that sits just a block east of Columbus Commons — is currently renovating the building with an eye toward the strong Downtown office market.

Michael A. Tomko said that he had originally considered residential with ground-floor retail for the building, but the narrow footprint and egress issues made apartments a tough fit, while the potential for unique, class-A office space at that location proved too good to pass up.

“It’s a great building that had been minimally updated in recent years,” he said. “We want to do an updated, modern office, a little bit more in line with what people want now in the Downtown area.”

So, dropped ceilings are being removed, original brick is being exposed, and carpets are being pulled up to reveal a building with lots of original character still intact. Renovations are well underway on the first and fourth floors, while the second and third floors remain occupied by law firms.

“We’re using CBRE as our brokers,” said Tomko, “and they’re saying that there’s a ton of demand for good space.” He added that they’ve had multiple inquiries about the renovated space, including interest from design firms and an internet company.

The building is surrounded by a large surface parking lot, whose owner doesn’t want to sell, according to Tomko. He added that they acquired a small lot on South Third Street as part of the deal and may be able to offer dedicated parking for tenants there.

This is the first foray into downtown for Tomko, a recent law school graduate who had limited his investments previously to smaller rental properties in Old North Columbus. He learned the real estate business from his father, Michael P. Tomko, who has over 30 years of experience in the business. The elder Tomko has served as a consultant and mentor for his son as he takes on this larger project in a rapidly evolving corner of Downtown.

“We’re really excited about the location,” said Tomko. “The news of Kaufman’s new building down the street broke the same week we closed on this building, and that really reinforced our confidence. There are a lot of people invested in the area, and I’m excited to see what it look like in five years.”

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