February 28th, 2016
Marla Matzer Rose, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Before there was an Arena District, when the Ohio Penitentiary still stood, there were plans to revitalize the buildings that started as the Columbus Buggy Works. After years of fits and starts, two of the buildings just west of what is now Huntington Park are in the process of being trans-formed into 145,000 square feet of office space.
Nationwide Realty Investors bought the buildings several years ago from longtime owner Kyle Katz, who developed the Buggyworks condos and operated the nightclub Mekka in one of the buildings in the mid-1990s. He had bigger plans that never materialized.
Brian Ellis, president of Nationwide Realty Investors, said that after considering a variety of uses for the buildings at 390 and 400 West Nationwide Blvd., it was decided that they were best suited to offices. There is almost no vacant office space currently in the core Arena District.
Most of the buildings in the Arena District were newly built, though their red brick exteriors were designed to blend with older buildings in the area. The larger of the two office buildings currently under renovation, the timber-frame Buggyworks building, is actually historic, dating to 1902.
“This offers something unique in the Arena District,” Ellis said on a recent tour of the project, pointing out the wood beams and interior exposed brick that will remain when ren-ovations are completed.