May 16, 2024 - Development

Two "endangered" Columbus sites face demolition

The former Farm Crest Bakeries Building in Columbus.

The former Farm Crest Bakeries Building in Columbus is considered an endangered historic site. Photos: Google Maps

A downtown block of High Street and a unique bakery building in Driving Park made this year's Preservation Ohio list of the most endangered historic sites in the state.

Why it matters: The list seeks to draw attention to important sites facing neglect and demolition.

State of play: Preservation Ohio has published the annual list since 1993 and claims the attention has helped save several buildings, including the Athenaeum on North Fourth Street.

Driving the news: This year's list includes 14 properties, ranging from a one-room schoolhouse in Akron to a rural museum honoring A.B. Graham, an Ohioan who founded the 4-H program.

Threat level: Developers propose knocking down both Columbus sites to make room for new apartment buildings.

Flashback: Old Lazarus Block at 171-191 S. High St. features two buildings dating back to 1906 and the 1800s, respectively.

  • The block was previously featured on the Columbus Landmarks Foundation's 2023 list of local endangered sites.
  • The buildings were once home to a variety of retailers, including the first Lazarus department store and the first local supermarket — a Kroger that opened in the 1930s.

What's happening: Property records show that Cleveland-area developer Harsax Management Co. bought the buildings last year along with the neighboring Ohio National Bank building at 167 S. High St.

  • Harsax reportedly plans to renovate the bank building and tear down the others to build new apartments and retail space.

Meanwhile, the Farm Crest Bakeries Building at 1826 E. Livingston Ave. dates back to the mid-20th century and is the "only significant remaining structure in this style in the region," Preservation Ohio says.

  • The building's unique curvatures once made it "the world's most modern bakery," per the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, which featured it on the 2022 list of endangered sites.

The latest: The property was sold for $2 million in March, according to county records.

  • Local developer Woda Cooper Companies has begun working on the site and demolition is underway, spokesperson Karen Bernick tells Axios.
  • The company plans to build an affordable housing complex, the Dispatch reported in March, and also wants to erect a historical marker.
A downtown Columbus block with old buildings.
Old Lazarus Block on S. High Street in downtown Columbus
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