Plan to Tear Down Antique Mall Building Going Back to Commission
The developer behind a proposal to demolish the Greater Columbus Antique Mall building at 1045 S. High St. is bringing the plan back to the Brewery District Commission on Thursday.
Schiff Properties first proposed replacing the historic building with a drive-thru restaurant in April, and then came back to the commission to talk about it again in May. Both times the plan was presented for conceptual review, meaning no vote was taken.
The developer’s attorney has used the sessions to argue that the building is structurally unsound and that there is no alternative to demolition. A letter submitted to the commission, signed by the building’s owner, Fred Altevogt, stated that his business “cannot continue to operate viably at this location give its poor current condition.”
The Greater Columbus Antique Mall has occupied the building for 39 years, and remains open for business seven days a week.
The building is considered a contributing structure, meaning that any demolition approval would require the commission to determine that it “is not historically or architecturally significant,” according to Brewery District Commission guidelines.
“The request to demolish a well-preserved historic building for a generic drive-thru restaurant is totally ridiculous,” said Matthew Leasure, a landscape architect and planner who serves as advocacy chair of the Columbus Landmarks board. “The commissions were created to prevent these types of shortsighted projects and we are very concerned that this project will set a dangerous precedent if it proceeds any further.”
“While Landmarks would prefer to see the antique mall remain as the building’s use,” he added, “we also support redevelopment of the site if the historic structure is preserved.”
Leasure said that a group of Landmarks staff and volunteers toured the building – along with members of the commission – and that he believes the building “is generally in good condition and does not show signs of significant deterioration.”
He added that, although some improvements are certainly needed, “the structure of the building appears to be in excellent shape and much of the original interior detail remains.”
Jared Schiff, Vice President & Partner of Schiff Properties, declined to comment on the condition of the building, but said that changes have been made to the layout and design of the proposed restaurant based on feedback received from the commission.
The Brewery District Commission will review the latest proposal at its meeting on June 7. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is held in the second floor hearing room of the Michael B. Coleman Government Center, at 111 N. Front St.