This past spring we acquired the building next to our office building which shares the same parking lot between our buildings. We mostly wanted to control the parking, but are also excited about renovating the space into some Jazzy offices. The whole Cincinnati Uptown area is revitalizing, with many big real estate projects starting up down the street from us. Soapbox media just published an article about how Uptown is all about the “new urbanism”. And they describe the recent projects around the corner from our offices and some new development coming to the short Vine entertainment district. Short Vine is a segment of the old Vine Street that was sectioned off years ago and is only about 6 blocks long but full of retail, restaurants, a library, a firehouse, a school, a post office, and a Cincinnati landmark: Bogarts concert theatre. All within 2 blocks of our offices.
So you can imagine, I feel a bit more comfortable renovating the office building next door. We haven’t fully determined the detailed project plans yet, nor gone after the financing but we are confident because we have done several rehabs in the past (including our current office building) and have good relationships with our bankers and contractors. One of the first steps is demolition, as this place had a lot of “deferred maintenance”. The previous owner bought the building in the mid 1970’s and I don’t believe the ever did much to it. The place is full of old dark paneling, drop ceilings and fluorescent lighting. Yuck! And it was chopped up into several small offices with no windows. Who works like that? Well, it was an insurance company, and next to CPA’s they don’t have much more personality frankly! (my current agent excluded, of course)
So some of our first steps were to demo the false walls and ceilings out to see what was truly behind those walls. We found victorian era wall paper on the walls and ceilings, original light fixtures, cove moldings, picture rails, transom lights above the entry door, and about 10 windows that were covered up by old aluminum siding on the outside, and paneling on the inside. They all still have the original sashes and glass intact! When this building was renovated, caves must have been in vogue, becuase this place is unnaturally dark without the windows. When we were removing paneling in the 2nd floor, we found a calendar tacked to the wall behind it from November of 1969. Charming from a local pharmacy down the street that no longer exists, of course. Once we finish with initial demolition we will know what to expect and begin detailed plans for the renovation that will include exposed brick walls, hard wood floors, high ceilings, re-opening the hidden windows, and creating a really unique space.
It’s a big project and a long process, for sure. But not intimidating. We love this type of work and not to brag, but i’m more than handy… i’ve got true contractor skilz. The difference is I show up for work and don’t need the beer money. We look forward to the day this building is ready to move into, as we will abandon our current space across the parking lot and enjoy a bit larger space. Frankly, our staff are pretty squeezed in together, which has benefits and drawbacks. I think everyone will like the larger space. Okay, if you like demo… come help out! There’s plenty of work to go around.