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Renovation of Short North Church Comes at Time of Growth for Architectural Alliance

Brent Warren Brent Warren Renovation of Short North Church Comes at Time of Growth for Architectural Alliance
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Architectural Alliance is planning a move to the Short North, saying goodbye to the small Downtown office building it has called home for 25 years. The local architectural firm will not just be leasing space in the neighborhood, though; it has purchased a former church building at 49 E. Third Ave. and is planning a major renovation.

The renovated building will have about 10,000 square feet of office space for the company’s use, in addition to another 4,000 square feet that will be devoted to a still-in-development co-working space. The plan is to move into the new space by the end of the year.

“Our current space doesn’t speak to what we do,” said Dave Kaldy, Principal. “It’s very practical, but not inspiring…the new space will be the complete opposite.”

Plans for the building, which held the Columbus First Free Will Baptist Church for years, call for new ground-level windows and an opened-up interior space that will expose the building’s 100-year old wooden beams. The Italian Village Commission has already signed off on the project.

“There’s a lot of positive energy in the neighborhood,” said Principal Brian Reynolds, “and the building is a great opportunity to build on that…a lot of our employees live in the Short North and want to walk and bike to work.”

Brad Parish, President and Principal, said that the ability to attract new talent was also a significant consideration; “kids coming out of school today, they want a cool space, an ‘as-seen-on-TV’ kind of office.”

ArchAll is contracting the project themselves, a role that has already given them some insight into the finer details of the development process.

“It’s been interesting to do our own project, to understand what our clients go through, with the banks, financing a project, getting zoning approval,” said Parish. “At the beginning of last year, we hired a project superintendent from a general contractor we’ve done work with for 30 years…he’s proven to be a valuable asset, and he’ll be the contractor for this project.”

“The fact that we’re the general contractor, architectural firms don’t usually do that,” added Kaldy, “but that fits with our roots…we’ve always been a hands-on company.”

The project comes at a time of growth and transition for the company.

“We’re at about 23 people now, we have two coming on in May, potentially a few more after that,” said Parish. “Our relationships are growing exponentially and our projects are getting larger and larger.”

Along with that growth comes an evolution in leadership – Parish, Kaldy and Reynolds recently entered into a partnership with founders Mike Fitzpatrick and John Oney, paving the way for a new generation to eventually take the reins of the company.

“John and Mike are still very, very active,” explained Parish, “the relationships and good will that they’ve developed over the last 45 years, we feel very fortunate to continue that and to carry the torch.”

“They’ve created a production engine for creating really great drawings, and it’s a system that we feel sets us apart,” added Parish. “Now our direction is to establish a design presence…we have a lot of keynote projects right now in the Short North, and we’re hoping to capture the momentum of those projects and to build off of them.”

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[Related: Design Digest: Architectural Alliance]

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