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Renovation Plan for Historic Franklinton Buildings Debated

Brent Warren Brent Warren Renovation Plan for Historic Franklinton Buildings DebatedThe proposed renovation and alterations of two buildings on West Rich Street. Renderings by Design Collective.
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A plan to renovate a pair of historic buildings in Franklinton got another hearing yesterday.

The former warehouse buildings at 373 and 375 W. Rich St. have been vacant for decades and have significant structural issues. The buildings, which survived the 1913 flood and are listed on both national and local historic registries, sit immediately to the east of the new River & Rich development.

Representatives of Casto, the project’s developer, and the architectural firm Design Collective presented the project virtually to the Historic Resources Commission on May 21. Plans call for the third floor of 373 W. Rich St. to be removed and the second floor partially converted into an open-air patio. The buildings would be connected and would share a common outdoor space.

It was the second time the project had been before the board. At a meeting in February, commissioners brought up concerns about the removal of such a large portion of the building’s original facade. Those concerns continued to be expressed at yesterday’s meeting, although several commissioners also praised Casto for taking on the added expense of a second structural assessment of the building (which, like the first one, concluded that it would be prohibitively expensive to save the third floor).

No action was taken on the case, but the board did request a special meeting – to be held at some point within the next month – to discuss the application further.

When reached for comment on the project, Lauren Bowers of Casto cited the company’s extensive track record, which includes historic renovations like The Julian, The Barrett and 8 on the Square. She noted that the two Franklinton buildings “are in severe disrepair,” but “we think it’s a great opportunity to preserve the buildings and create a gateway into neighborhood from the east.”

For more information on the Historic Resources Commission, see www.columbus.gov.

A view of the back of the two buildings.
The patio would offer good views of the railroad tracks.
A recent photo of the buildings, by Brent Warren.
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