Our associates spent the past 12 months dedicated to the renewal and rehabilitation of a historic building on Columbus’s South Side. The newly restored Reeb Avenue Center challenged our team physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively – and they’ll be the first ones to tell you they couldn’t be happier with the finished project.
It was apparent that the Reeb project would be a demanding one from the outset. Eleven months to completely abate and renovate a 52,000 SF, century-old elementary school while concurrently razing the east wing to construct a new, 16,000 SF childcare center was no small task. Nevertheless, our team welcomed the challenges and opportunities that Reeb provided.
The goals of this project far exceeded a pretty, polished building that would look great in the press. The South Side community in Columbus has been running short on hope and opportunity for far too long. The donors and leadership team behind Reeb had identified this unmet need long ago, and after years of fundraising and planning, the vision for Reeb was born. The new Reeb Avenue Center was designed not only to remedy the lack of resources in the South Side, but also to inspire collaboration and growth for future generations.
Dozens of local tenants are now using space at Reeb, allowing the center to serve as a multi-purpose complex for the community. From the Boys and Girls Club of America to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the doors at Reeb serve as a gateway to a host of vital programs. The center is also home to 13 other non-profits, including Eastway Behavioral Healthcare, Godman Guild Association, Amethyst, House of Hope, and Lutheran Social Services.
On Friday, September 25 our team was honored to attend the official ribbon cutting ceremony as the doors to Reeb were opened to the public. We stood in the same place we had been a little over a year ago, where we had first broken ground and started the 365-day journey to breathe life into a crumbling building. We listened to Mayor Coleman recount the story he had told at the groundbreaking ceremony. He told of his encounter with a father and his young son as they pushed a cart full of hub caps and tin cans – their only hope of making a profit to buy food. He was close to tears as he proclaimed that this new “Hub of Hope,” as many are calling it, has officially arrived on the South Side. The community now has access to better dreams than this poor man and his son had to cling to – and now they have the resources they need to make their dreams a reality.
Also recognized at the ribbon cutting ceremony was the dynamic duo of Tanny Crane and Jane-Grote Abell, also known as a local “Brangelina” power couple. They were dubbed a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by their extreme dedication and passion for the Reeb Avenue project. They championed the project from beginning to end in order to see hope restored to the South Side that they have called home for decades. It’s clear that this pair has a special passion for the South Side. To quote Abell, the Reeb project was certainly a “labor of love” in their eyes.
After celebrating the monumental achievement in bringing the Reeb Avenue project across the finish line, our project team took some time to reflect on their own journeys.
This project has had its share of unknowns. Renovating a century-old relic and giving this old building a new life is something we are all proud of. To see what this building was 11 months ago and now to see it shine with the new windows, exterior painting, new roofing, along with all the interior improvements… this is why we do what we do.
Scott Gillespie, Project Manager
From day one, the Reeb Avenue renovation project has been an incredible experience. The project was a combination of a building renovation and a ground-up construction; to tackle it effectively, we needed top-notch contractors who were willing to go the extra mile. What was most interesting about the project was how many twists and turns we uncovered as we delved deeper into construction: old furnace locations and coal chutes were found, beautiful brick pavers were discovered under concrete and asphalt, and so on. We faced many obstacles on this project, but we thrived under pressure and banded together as a team to go above and beyond what is typically expected of a General Contractor.
Diego Milara, Project Manager
Everyone probably had the chance to say, “Let’s knock this old building to the ground and start over.” The Reeb team chose the more challenging, yet rewarding, path. It’s easy to start from scratch; it’s a lot harder to resurrect something from the past. It’s definitely a good challenge. I love taking something old and restoring it to something great.
Chad Campbell, Project Superintendent
The Reeb Avenue project is no doubt one that our company will reflect on for decades to come. Our team banded together with perseverance and passion, and stayed unified by focusing on a purpose that far exceeded the restoration of an old building. We transformed a 108-year-old school into a Hub of Hope for Columbus’s South Side. We cannot thank our partners enough for allowing us to play such an important role in reigniting hope for future generations.
Check out our post-project highlight video on YouTube to see more of the Reeb Avenue Project!