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Columbus: Downtown: LeVeque Tower Renovation

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New life for Columbus’ signature building is a healthy sign

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

As Columbus’ original skyscraper, the LeVeque Tower is an art-deco landmark from the city’s past. With new owners sprucing up the outside and finding tenants for the inside, it stands a chance of flourishing in the city’s future.

 

 

http://www.dispatch.com/editorials-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/02/20060602-A8-02.html

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Another week.  Another historic downtown high-rise gets a new owner.  And another proposal to turn the upper floors into upscale apartments.  Last week it was the Atlas Building at Long & High.  This week it is the LeVeque Tower at Front & Broad.

 

LeVeque Tower, a Downtown icon, changes hands

Local investors might turn upper floors of LeVeque Tower into posh apartments

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 02:52 AM

By Marla Matzer Rose

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Downtown's iconic LeVeque Tower has been sold, and its new owners are considering turning the upper floors of the 47-story art deco skyscraper into upscale apartments.

 

An investment group that includes several partners of Columbus developer Casto has joined with Bexley resident Robert Meyers, principal of Mansfield-based Lawyers Development Corp., to buy the tower at Broad and Front streets.

 

According to a company release, restoration work on the facade, original entrances and common areas of the building is expected to begin "imminently."  Casto chief Don Casto confirmed this morning that the investors paid just over $4 million for the property.

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2011/03/11/leveque-tower-downtown-icon-changes-hands.html?sid=101

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Another week.  Another historic downtown high-rise gets a new owner.  And another proposal to turn the upper floors into upscale apartments.  Last week it was the Atlas Building at Long & High.  This week it is the LeVeque Tower at Front & Broad.

 

LeVeque Tower, a Downtown icon, changes hands

Local investors might turn upper floors of LeVeque Tower into posh apartments

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 02:52 AM

By Marla Matzer Rose

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Downtown's iconic LeVeque Tower has been sold, and its new owners are considering turning the upper floors of the 47-story art deco skyscraper into upscale apartments.

 

An investment group that includes several partners of Columbus developer Casto has joined with Bexley resident Robert Meyers, principal of Mansfield-based Lawyers Development Corp., to buy the tower at Broad and Front streets.

 

According to a company release, restoration work on the facade, original entrances and common areas of the building is expected to begin "imminently."  Casto chief Don Casto confirmed this morning that the investors paid just over $4 million for the property.

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2011/03/11/leveque-tower-downtown-icon-changes-hands.html?sid=101

 

Interesting idea and would be a cool building to live in with great views of the city.  Downtown apartments are in demand. 

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I always thought they should do that. I worked in LeVeque and I'm telling you the building has at least a 60% vacancy rate. It raises the burden of utilities on the tenants they do have, creating a perpetual downward spiral in regards to tenure.

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7521298182_c8437e1e84_d.jpg

 

More from the Dispatch article "Downtown upgrades attract retailers".

 

LeVeque renovation

By Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch

Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 8:35 AM

 

The new owners of the historic LeVeque Tower on W. Broad Street, once Columbus’ tallest building, will present details to the Downtown Commission this week of their $1.5 million first phase of renovations on the building.

 

The investors, led by Bob Meyers, plan an extensive overhaul of the first three floors of the 46-story building, including new doors, windows and granite pavers at the building’s entrance.  They also plan to restore “neglected portions” of the terra cotta facade, along with flagpoles above the entrances.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2011/09/25/downtown-upgrades-attract-retailers.html

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Business First: LeVeque seeing new life as owners invest millions

 

According to a recent article from Columbus Business First, the city's first skyscraper (and in my opinion, still the city's best skyscraper) is in line for some exterior upgrades and a major reworking of its interior.  The Leveque Tower is currently office space on all floors 4 and up, except for a few apartments at the top penthouse level of the corner tower.  According to the Business First article linked above, a new conceptual plan calls for floors 4 thru 9 to be turned into a boutique hotel with approximately 120 guest rooms; floors 10 thru 21 to be office space; and floors 22 thru 47 (the corner tower portion) to be an unspecified number of apartments.  Below is a diagram of the proposed new interior configuration.

 

levequetower.jpg

 

An early phase of street level renovations is currently under way.  According to the article, these include eliminating one of the building’s Broad Street entrances, enhancing exterior arches and adding street-level windows.  Plans also call for canopies over the entrances and a return of flags and lanterns like those that once marked the entrances.  Below is a conceptual rendering of those street level renovations.

 

ROP-Leveque-entrance.jpg?v=1

 

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Oh man, apartments over a hotel. That means picking up girls at the hotel bar and taking them up to your apartment to "show them the view".

 

Hotel Bar? There's not one right now, so Subway will have to suffice. ;)

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Updates about the LeVeque Tower renovation project.  First, an article from the Dispatch about the building's renovation and a photo slideshow of the LeVeque Tower showing the beginning of work on the building's exterior.

 

Dispatch: A lift for LeVeque: Project to modernize office space, add lobby, fix crumbling exterior

 

Dispatch: Slideshow - LeVeque Tower renovation

 


Next, an article from the Dispatch about one of the unique features of this building's exterior renovation process.  In order to access the condition of the LeVeque's exterior terra cotta, an expert team of rappellers is being used.  Below is a link to the Dispatch article and a slideshow of the workers rappelling down the 555-foot-tall LeVeque Tower from Business First.

 

Dispatch: These building inspectors climb LeVeque’s exterior - Exterior building inspectors tackle their task from unique perspective

 

Business First: Slideshow - Workers rappel down LeVeque to examine exterior

 


And finally, a recap of the project from Columbus Underground.  The CU article includes an interview with architect Bob Loversidge of Schooley Caldwell Associates, who is leading the renovation project - as well as a few photos of the interior renovation of the building.

 

Columbus Underground: Work is Under Way on a Mixed-Use Conversion for LeVeque Tower

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Great news for the LeVeque Tower renovation.  The project received an historic preservation tax credit award from the state.  Below is the news reported by Columbus Business First and an excerpt of the press release from the Ohio Department of Development:

 

Business First: LeVeque, Yankee Trader lead list of historic tax credit recipients

 

From the press release: The Ohio Department of Development Announces Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Awards

 

LeVeque Tower (Columbus, Franklin County)

· Total Project Cost: $27,600,000

· Total Tax Credit: $5 million

· Address: 50 West Broad Street, 43215

An icon of the Columbus skyline, the Lincoln-LeVeque Tower was constructed by the American Insurance Union (AIU) as the AIU Citadel in 1927.  Clad in terra cotta, the office building is underutilized with tenants occupying just over half of the building's leasable square feet.  Rehabilitation will transform the landmark into a mixed-use complex with high-end apartments in the tower and revitalized office space in the base.  The project will retain 510 permanent jobs onsite and create space for 254 additional jobs.

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LeVeque Tower renovations in line for city incentives

Business First by Brian R. Ball, Staff reporter

Date: Friday, July 6, 2012, 2:36pm EDT

 

It looks like the owner of the LeVeque Tower hopes to get another shot of public assistance in the renovation and redevelopment of the 85-year-old architectural icon.

 

Legislation calling for a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement for the project is expected to get introduced Monday before Columbus City Council as part of owner Tower 10 LLC’s $27.6 million investment into the property at 50 W. Broad Street.  A vote is expected before council members take off for their traditional August recess.

 

The request for the tax incentive on the $20 million in construction and real property improvements comes less than two weeks after the project landed $5 million worth of Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits through the Ohio Department of Development.

 

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2012/07/06/leveque-tower-renovations-in-line-for.html

 

ROP-LeVeque*280.jpg?v=1

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City passes property-tax break for LeVeque renovation

By Lucas Sullivan, The Columbus Dispatch

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 7:25 AM

 

Columbus has agreed to give the owner of the historic LeVeque Tower a $4 million property-tax break over the next 10 years, a gesture by the City Council to help restore what was once Downtown’s tallest building.  The 421,000-square-foot building at 50 W. Broad Street is undergoing a $28 million renovation that will add office and residential space Downtown.

(. . .)

LeVeque's three-year renovation plan is about not only increasing living space, but also rescuing a property that almost slipped into foreclosure in 2004 before being bought for $8.5 million.  It was then resold in 2011 to Tower 10, a group headed by Robert Meyers and Don Casto, for $4 million.  Most of Tower 10's investment will be in fixing the terra-cotta facade, installing a new lobby and updating all 46 floors for office space and apartments,

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/07/17/city-passes-property-tax-break-for-leveque-renovation.html

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Couple of interesting intragram photos of the LeVeque Tower renovation scaffolding taken by jdecampphoto.  Local photographer James DeCamp has been working on a time-lapse photo series for the project's developers and posted two of those photos at his intragram page.  The exterior photo of the scaffolding is interesting enough - but because of his access to the project, he also got a photo from inside the scaffolding looking outward.

 

Below are the two photos at a smaller preview size.  To see the full size image of the exterior scaffolding photo click here.  To see the full size image of the inside the scaffolding photo click here.

 

7677097458_2a88997f82_m_d.jpg    7677100106_0005b86037_m_d.jpg

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Construction photo from Columbus Underground of the LeVeque Tower renovation.  This view shows some of the lobby restoration work taking place along Broad Street.  Modern additions to the original LeVeque lobby have been removed from the building exterior.  Both the exterior and interior lobby space are slated to be restored as closely as possible to its original 1927 appearance.

 

construction-august-21.jpg

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Another construction photo from Columbus Underground of the LeVeque Tower renovation.  This view is from the corner of Front Street and Broad Street.  It looks like some of the scaffolding is being removed and the restoration work is being closed up in anticipation of the coming winter weather.

 

construction-september-2012-81.jpg

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Just when you think you've reposted all the news lost during the server crash, there's something else...

 

Project Update: LeVeque Tower

By: Brent Warren, Columbus Underground

Published on May 22, 2013 - 1:30 pm

 

Repairing the terra cota “skin” of the iconic LeVeque Tower downtown is not an easy job – or a quick one.  Workers are about to begin their second season of work on the exterior of the building, having completed about five floors last year.  It could be five years before all 47 stories are completed, according to Bob Loversidge of Schooley Caldwell, the architect overseeing the project.

 

MORE: http://www.columbusunderground.com/project-update-leveque-tower-bw1

 

leveque-tower-01.jpg

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The Dispatch has an excellent 5:47 minute long video looking at the in-progress LeVeque Tower renovation. 

 

- The video features Ed Lentz of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation detailing the history of the LeVeque Tower - from its construction as the American Insurance Union Citadel in the 1920's, to the AIU going into to deep debt during its construction and going bankrupt during the Great Depression in the 1930's, to local businessmen John Lincoln and Leslie LeVeque acquiring ownership in the 1940's, to the LeVeque family owning the building until its recent sale to another group of local developers who are renovating the tower.

 

- The video also features Robert Loversidge of Schooley Caldwell Architects detailing his firm's current renovation of the LeVeque Tower.  He explains some of the various internal changes to the building and how the current renovation will, as he puts it, "correct some of the 1960's work that was done".  He shows the current lobby renovation and the 21st floor of the building, a gutted floor of the building where terra cotta pieces are being currently being stored.  He also takes the Dispatch video crew to the 44th floor, which was previously Katherine LeVeque's downtown apartment until she sold the building in 2011. - Business First did a very nice profile of her in 2012 at http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/print-edition/2012/11/02/shaping-columbus-katherine-leveque.html.

 

Unfortunately, the Dispatch video page is not set up to directly link to a specific video.  So to view the LeVeque Tower video, go to http://www.dispatch.com/content/pages/video.html and click on the "Historic LeVeque Tower undergoes renovation" video.  As of this posting, this video is currently on the first row of this cover page for Dispatch videos.  Later the LeVeque video will get moved from this cover page, but should still be available in the older Dispatch video archives.  But you never know, so view it now, just in case.

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This is not technically an update about the on-going renovation of the LeVeque Tower, but I think it belongs in this thread anyway.  The building's namesake and one of its greatest stewards, Katherine LeVeque, passed away at 87 last month.  The Dispatch has more about this at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/04/11/leveque-tower-buyer-revived-palace-theatre.html

 

Katherine LeVeque was born in South Carolina in 1926 and married Frederick LeVeque in 1949.  Her husband died in a plane crash in 1973.  Two years later, she obtained full ownership of the then-named LeVeque-Lincoln Tower after she bought out the remaining Lincoln and LeVeque family members who held the building in a trust since 1945.  The adjoining Palace Theatre was also part of this purchase.  She spent $3 million to restore this landmark theatre, which reopened in 1980 as a performing arts venue.  Ownership of the Palace was transferred to non-profit CAPA in 1989.  In 2011, she sold the LeVeque Tower to the local investment group that is currently renovating this iconic Columbus building.

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Portion of LeVeque Tower to be converted into 155-room Autograph Collection hotel

 

Illinois-based First Hospitality Group Inc. has announced a joint venture with Columbus developers Robert Meyers and Don Casto to convert a portion of the 47-story LeVeque Tower building into a 155-room Autograph Collection hotel.

 

The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2015.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/07/17/portion-of-leveque-tower-to-be-converted-into-155.html

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Portion of LeVeque Tower to be converted into 155-room Autograph Collection hotel

 

Illinois-based First Hospitality Group Inc. has announced a joint venture with Columbus developers Robert Meyers and Don Casto to convert a portion of the 47-story LeVeque Tower building into a 155-room Autograph Collection hotel.

 

The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2015.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/07/17/portion-of-leveque-tower-to-be-converted-into-155.html

 

Interesting! I wonder which floors will be used?

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That is fantastic news!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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The base of the tower used to hold hundreds of hotel rooms as an extension of the Deshler that sat at Broad & High, so the building is coming full circle.

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The base of the tower used to hold hundreds of hotel rooms as an extension of the Deshler that sat at Broad & High, so the building is coming full circle.

 

That is interesting, isn't it.

 

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Interesting! I wonder which floors will be used?

 

The conceptual plan reported by Business First in 2012 called for floors 4 thru 9 to be turned into a boutique hotel with approximately 120 guest rooms; floors 10 thru 21 to be office space; and floors 22 thru 47 (the corner tower portion) to be an unspecified number of apartments.

 

This newest boutique hotel announcement is calling for 155 rooms instead of 120 - so maybe one additional floor?  If the 2012 plan is still valid, then maybe floors 4 thru 10 for the new boutique hotel?

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Four views of streetscape work in front of the LeVeque Tower at http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/leveque-tower-news-updates/page/4/.  Broad Street is losing one traffic lane to extend the sidewalk in front the renovated corner entrance.  Below is a view of the new granite curbing being installed along Broad Street.  Compare the below photo with the same pre-renovation Broad Street view from 2011 at http://goo.gl/maps/SqS3q:

 

broad-street-leveque-03.jpg

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Four views of streetscape work in front of the LeVeque Tower at http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/leveque-tower-news-updates/page/4/.  Broad Street is losing one traffic lane to extend the sidewalk in front the renovated corner entrance.  Below is a view of the new granite curbing being installed along Broad Street.  Compare the below photo with the same pre-renovation Broad Street view from 2011 at http://goo.gl/maps/SqS3q:

 

broad-street-leveque-03.jpg

 

As someone else said in that thread, I hope this is the start of the Broad Street reconfigure/diet project that was part of the 2010 downtown list.  It was supposed to include a fairly significant lane reduction to Broad, landscaped trails and much wider sidewalks.  I remember reading that funding had been approved, but that was awhile back and we've heard nothing about it since.

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I think it isn't. Wasn't the focus a little more to the East also, say east of 4th?

 

No, it was supposed to be all of Broad through Downtown.  Specifically, I definitely remember the Broad/High intersection being part of it.

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LeVeque Tower hotel plans to open next year

By Steve Wartenberg, The Columbus Dispatch

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 2:54 AM

 

People looking forward to staying in the hotel planned for the historic LeVeque Tower can start making plans for next year.  The 150-room Marriott is now expected to open in spring 2016, its owners announced yesterday, and will occupy the fifth through 10th floors of the 46-floor building that opened in 1927.

 

One of the hotel’s amenities will be an upscale restaurant on the mezzanine level in the space that originally housed the tower’s Hall of Mirrors.  The hotel will be operated by First Hospitality Group of Rosemont, Ill., under a partnership agreement with Tower 10 principals Don Casto and Robert Meyers.  It will be part of Marriott’s upscale Autograph Collection of hotels.

( . . . )

The tower has been under renovation, with the lobby and the terra-cotta exterior of the first five floors of the LeVeque now completed.  The second to fourth floors will be office space, as will several additional floors starting with the 11th floor.

 

Apartments and possibly condominiums are part of the renovation plans.  “Our hope is a mix of 25 percent hotel, 25 percent residential and 50 percent office, but we’re not ready to announce the details of the housing plans yet,” said Robert Loversidge, architect for Tower 10 LLC, owner of the LeVeque.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/03/27/leveque-tower-hotel-plans-to-open-next-year.html

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Kaufman plans apartments, condos in LeVeque tower

By Brian R. Ball, Columbus Business First

Updated: June 18, 2015, 10:59am EDT

 

Developer Brett Kaufman plans to build up to 78 apartments and condominiums in the landmark LeVeque skyscraper in downtown Columbus.  A Kaufman Development affiliate, TowerTop LLC, paid an undisclosed sum Wednesday to turn 100,000 square feet of the iconic property at 50 W. Broad Street into 68 rental apartments on 15 floors and as many as 10 for-sale condos on 11 floors at the top of the 47-story building.

( . . . )

The housing plan firms up the last element of a multi-use plan for the skyscraper's makeover.  Tower 10 LLC, a joint venture led by Columbus attorney-developer Bob Meyers and the Casto real estate organization, unveiled that plan a year after it bought the property in 2011 for a mere $4 million.

 

A Chicago-based hotel developer and operator bought a 100,000-square-foot chunk of the LeVeque earlier this year with plans to put in a 150-room luxury Autograph Collection hotel.  Renovated offices will make up half of the 421,281-square-foot building once the redevelopment and renovations are completed.

 

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2015/06/18/kaufman-plans-apartments-condos-in-leveque-tower.html

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