A 26,000-square-foot loft office building, shown Thursday at 408 12th St., at the intersection of Veterans Parkway in downtown Columbus, is moving toward completion. The structure, which has been rehabilitated at a cost of $3.1 million, is the former home of Strickland Motors years ago. -- Photo by Tony Adams email@example.com
APRIL 13, 2017 6:21 PM
‘For the People’ law firm to have name on new downtown office building
BY TONY ADAMS
A downtown Columbus loft office building moving toward its $3.1 million completion will feature the name of a prominent personal injury law firm that uses the slogan, “For the People,” when it opens by the end of June.
Columbus real-estate executive Reynolds Bickerstaff said Thursday that Orlando, Fla.-based Morgan & Morgan will have the naming rights on the 26,000-square-foot building at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Twelfth Street. The law firm, which has nearly 40 offices in 10 states, will be relocating from its office on First Avenue near the Government Center to 13,000 square feet of space at the new location.
“They’ll have primary signage for the property. The whole second floor is for Morgan & Morgan, and that will be delivered by the end of June,” said Bickerstaff, co-founder and broker with Bickerstaff Parham, a Columbus-based real-estate company. He is a partner in the office building project with Columbus businessmen Todd Ammerman and Russ Carreker, with River City Construction undertaking the major rehabilitation of the 408 12th St. property that once was home to Strickland Motors, a state-of-the-art car dealership in the 1940s.
The Class A loft office project has been in the works more than a year, with the effort including putting in a new roof and windows. Everything stalled last fall as a contract amendment issue developed, with construction essentially put on hold until March.
“Sometimes these bigger deals just take a little longer and you’ve got to hammer out the finer details, the fine-line items,” Bickerstaff said of negotiations with the major tenant. “We’re happy to have them. It took a little while, but they’re going to be in this market for the long haul.”
Another tenant signed and prepared to move into a 2,200-square-foot showroom on the bottom floor of the building in a few weeks is CWC, an office furniture company based in Atlanta. The supplier sells all types of office furniture.
“They supplied us with all of our furniture at our new (headquarters) location on Veterans Parkway,” Bickerstaff said. “Probably the most well known manufacturer they rep is Herman Miller. That’s a well-known, high-end manufacturer. (CVC) carries 80 to 100 different lines of manufacturers.”
The real-estate broker said he also is working to nail down another client for the bottom floor of the downtown structure. It would be an education-oriented tenant that is looking at about 7,000 square feet. That would leave between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet of space up for grabs in the office building.
With all the pieces now falling in place, Bickerstaff said the end of construction is now within sight. He and his partners bought the property in September 2015, paying $504,000. They are spending about $2.6 million to get it ready. Design work was done by Hecht Burdeshaw Architects.
“I understand why no one is building many new offices from the ground up having just finished one,” Bickerstaff said of his headquarters office at 5547 Veterans Parkway on the city’s north side. “New construction is expensive. Yet there’s a lot of existing office space out there that is not very attractive in its current condition because it’s 20-year-old space and needs improvement.”
The uniqueness of the downtown office structure is its colorful history from several decades ago. In the late 1940s, the location was home to Strickland Motors Inc., a sparkling Lincoln-Mercury dealership apparently operated by a Florida native, Porter M. Strickland, whose life and career eventually brought him to Columbus.
A old postcard of the auto dealership shows the two-story building with Shell gas pumps outside and an “autotorium,” or garage, used for vehicle maintenance and repairs. The bottom of the postcard reads: “Continuous 24 Hours Day or Night Complete One-Stop Automobile Service.”
A passage on Porter Strickland at genealogytrails.com references his company moving “into one of the largest and most modern business structures in the city in 1948 on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Twelfth Street.” Veterans Parkway at one time was known as Fourth Avenue. No date of Strickland Motors’ departure from the property could be found.
A 26,000-square-foot loft office building, shown Thursday, at 408 12th St., at the intersection of Veterans Parkway in downtown Columbus, is moving toward completion. The structure, which has been rehabilitated at a cost of $3.1 million, is the former home of Strickland Motors years ago. -- Photo by Tony Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
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