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Fourth and Long Renovation, Other Downtown Projects Moving Forward

Brent Warren Brent Warren Fourth and Long Renovation, Other Downtown Projects Moving ForwardThe renovated building as approved, with painted brick exterior. Rendering by Sandvick Architects.
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The renovation of a historic six-story building at the northeast corner of Fourth and Long streets will now be moving forward after the latest plan to renovate it got a yes-vote from the Downtown Commission.

Built in 1912 and known as the Standard Building (for the insurance company that occupied it), the building served as the longtime home of the Central Ohio Agency on Aging, until that agency moved to the south side in 2015.

Connect Realty President Brad DeHays explained to the commissioners that after removing the black steel cladding from the exterior of the building to reveal the original brick facade, his team found that it would be too difficult – and potentially destructive – to remove an asbestos coating from the bricks, as they had originally planned. Instead, DeHays is now proposing to paint over the brick.

“For the stone [portion of the building], we’re taking it back to the original limestone,” he said. “The stone is more durable and has a smoother finish, so we can take the coating off.”

“That’s exciting to see this come along, the building has sat there for many years as an eyesore, so that’s a huge improvement for that area,” said Chair Stephen Wittmann.

DeHays said that he has a “retail event center” tenant lined up for the first floor of the building, but does not yet have permission to release the name of the business. Office space is planned for the second floor, while floors three to six will contain a total of 32 apartment units.  

Parking for the building will be available in adjacent surface lots, which DeHays also controls.

The two-story building next door, at 182 E. Long St., was constructed in 1920 for the Winders Motor Sales Company and now holds office space occupied by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. The plan to renovate both buildings was awarded state historic tax credits in 2019.

In 2016, Continental Real Estate Companies proposed demolishing the two buildings and replacing them with a 10-story mixed-use development containing a 600-space parking garage.

Although that plan was well-received by the commission at the time, it never went anywhere, and the city later dropped its demand that a large parking garage be built on the site, eventually selling the building to DeHays.

Also approved by the Downtown Commission at Tuesday’s meeting was a more detailed plan for a 13-story building on Broad St., and a proposal from Franklin County to build a surface parking lot on an empty field at 50 E. Mound St.

Although the city’s guidelines state that surface parking is not a use that should be approved Downtown, county representatives said that a parking garage will eventually be built on the site. The move is part of a larger plan for the immediate area that involves the city building a new municipal courthouse on county-owned land across the street, on the site of Dorrian Commons Park.

The building at 174 E. Long St., in 2017, before the metal cladding was removed. Photo by Walker Evans.
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