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Photos: Salesian Building Downtown Has New Owner

Brent Warren Brent Warren Photos: Salesian Building Downtown Has New OwnerThe building features a gymnasium, bowling alley, ballroom and swimming pool. Photos by Brent Warren.
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The former Salesian Boys and Girls Club at 80 S. Sixth St. has a new owner. Franklin County Auditor records show that a Connect Realty- affiliated company purchased the five-story building for $3 million at the end of last year.

Connect Realty is the developer behind some high-profile historic renovation projects in and around Downtown, like the Municipal Light Plant on West Nationwide Boulevard, the Trolley Barn site on the Near East Side,  the Stoddart Block Building on South Fourth Street, and a group of buildings at the corner of Front and Long streets that are being converted into micro apartments.

Connect Realty President Brad DeHays said that he and his team have secured and weather-proofed the Salesian building but haven’t yet made any decisions about what they will do with it.

Jeff Baur, Vice President of Development, and Todd Minard, Development Associate, recently gave Columbus Underground a tour of a portion of the building. Notable features of the structure – which was built in 1927 – include a bowling alley, a ballroom, a full-size gymnasium with elevated track, and a swimming pool.

“Everything’s on the table” for the property, said Baur, including some sort of affordable or workforce housing (the upper floors of the building once held small residential units).

The building was listed on the 2018 Most Endangered list by Columbus Landmarks. Although demolition has not been definitively ruled out by DeHays, local preservationists see the purchase of the building as a cause for optimism.

“Brad/Connect Realty has a proven track record with historic preservation,” said Becky West, Executive Director of Columbus Landmarks in an email. “We are confident that every effort will be made to reuse this important landmark.”

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