Harnessing History to Revitalize an Entire Neighborhood
The Warehouse District in downtown Columbus, Ohio, is reclaiming its vibrancy and growing its economic and cultural prominence. Thoughtful redevelopment is reviving the dynamic character of the area, located on the northeast side of the central business district, by harnessing its history. A center of manufacturing from the time of the Civil War, the area transitioned, with the warehouses eventually becoming office buildings by the 1970s when the railway system that spurred the area's growth declined.
The Warehouse District contains buildings that represent a variety of architectural styles. Examples range from a second renaissance revival building designed in 1900 to a Gothic Revival firehouse built in 1908 to a Chicago Style building completed in 1915.
Hackman Capital Partners, a privately held real estate investment company, recognized the potential in converting the warehouses into modern commercial spaces. The company joined forces with design firms Ford and Associates Architects and WSA to capture the vision and with Pepper to construct it, part of a shared dedication to transforming urban environments while honoring qualities that distinguish them.
Transforming urban environments
Converting the vintage warehouses, once home to Model T auto repair, horse-drawn carriage and paper manufacturing, into contemporary, loft-like commercial spaces required the right team. “We selected an architect and contractor who understood our vision and could help make it a reality,” says Philip Hackman, Senior Associate, Hackman Capital Partners., “Our goal is to attract new tenants to the area, giving the district new life while adding, value to the portfolio.”
Form and Function
Maximizing existing infrastructure, the team used design as a tool for promoting functional, economic growth and cultural development. Construction capitalized on adaptive reuse of space and environmentally conscious materials, turning the industrial property into chic, creative commercial space with less environmental impact and preserving architectural roots, including exposed brick walls, wood and bow-truss ceilings, and ornamental columns. The space is designed with real thought given to the people expected to use it, and with a broader understanding of the dynamics in which the structure and its residents will function.
The Warehouse District is strategically located in an emerging mixed-use urban hub on the northeast side of downtown Columbus, minutes from the city’s major highways and blocks from the Short North, Arena District, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus State Community College, Ballet Met and Convention Center. Building on inherent assets, the project is bringing life back to the area, strengthening economic development and diversifying with a myriad of employers and employees. The revitalization is part of a plan adopted by Columbus City Council in 2000 to establish a mixed-use district that includes residential, commercial, office and light manufacturing. Redevelopment of existing buildings will preserve and restore exterior facades, while new in-fill buildings will reinforce the distinct architectural character of the area.
The timing is ideal for revitalization. Columbus recently won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $40 million Smart City Challenge. The award, combined with $500 million in additional public and private funding will be used to turn Columbus into the nation’s first city to integrate self-driving electric vehicles, smart grids, smart streetlights and collision-avoidance sensors.
“We picked Pepper because of the company’s preconstruction experience and ability to be a good thought partner. This project is going to be a beacon for the area.”
The Bigger Picture
Hackman Capital Partners is focused on continuing to expand on the city’s economic growth by creating spaces that serve the community. “Pepper is an excellent partner. The team demonstrated the willingness to roll up their sleeves and work side by side with us,” says Brent Iloulian, Managing Principal, Hackman Capital Partners, “They have been a valuable partner.” Next up: turning a former ice factory into hot, new commercial space.