The Jefferson Avenue Center is receiving an extraordinary contribution: 966 South High Street, the historic Maennerchor building located in the Brewery District, along with full funding to renovate and preserve the building. Two philanthropists, who wish to remain anonymous, saved the property from the possibility of demolition and wanting to see the vacant building preserved and transformed into a community asset, they found a partner in the Jefferson Avenue Center.
966 South High Street, built in the early 1880s and identified by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation as one of central Ohio’s “Most Endangered Buildings,” will be renovated in compliance with the Brewery District Architectural Review Commission’s standards. It will also be brought up to current building code and ADA requirements in the process.
“We could not be more pleased to be entrusted with this storied property,” said Katharine Moore, Executive Director of the Jefferson Avenue Center. “Architect Mark Ours, the principal of Mode Architects, has created a stunning renovation concept that will showcase the remaining historic elements, while transforming the building into an attractive and functional space for future nonprofit tenants.”
“Securing the building was a huge first step,” Moore said, “but our donors are also funding the renovation, and that makes this a one-of-kind preservation success story.”
The building was purchased by the Columbus School Board in 2010 as a part of the renovation of Stewart Alternative Elementary School. The parcel allowed the Board to expand the playground and reconfigure a west entrance, but the building itself was not needed.
“Just last year, a development proposal called for demolition of this property to make way for a new residential building,” recalled Becky West, Executive Director of Columbus Landmarks. “The Brewery District Commission voted ‘no’ because the proposal was not in keeping with the historic character of the neighborhood. This significant save is the result of a remarkable act of generosity on behalf of the investors, and we celebrate the outcome.”
The renovations are expected to be completed in 2020.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Landmarks Foundation