From Buggys to Lofts

The long-awaited Buggyworks Lofts project finally opens its doors to residents in one of Columbus’ most historic downtown locales.

Baseball games. Live music. Eclectic dining.  Hot nightclubs.  Hockey games.  Unique shopping.  Fabulous galleries. Walks in the park.  All of this and so much more within blocks from your home is what makes living downtown so appealing to many.  Imagine though, all of this at your front doorstep.  Not blocks, but yards from your living room.

Such is the life of residents of the newly-finished and long-awaited Buggyworks Lofts in the Arena District.  The project was announced just two short years ago, and the first inhabitants of the Buggyworks have already begun moving into their loft condominiums.  Many more are soon to follow.  As one of downtown’s most dynamic properties, the Buggyworks Lofts are locate in the fully-restored, historic Buggyworks complex, which was first developed by The Columbus Buggy Company in 1902.  At the time, the company was the world’s largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages.

After the automobile became the primary means of transportation for a growing America, The Columbus Buggy Company went bankrupt in 1913.  For most of the 20th century, the former buggy factory served as warehouses and offices, but sat mostly vacant.  In 1988, Kyle Katz and his company, The Katz Interests, purchased the building and renovated the property into offices, performance spaces, artist lofts and art galleries.  Its most notable tenant was Mecca nightclub, which brought warehouse style nightlife to Columbus in 1995.  Mecca shut its doors in 1999, but Glow Nightclub and Lounge opened in spring 2000 for a one-year stint before closing and making way for the building’s conversion into residential lofts.

As the demand for authentic urban housing grew in the early part of this decade, Katz took the lead and announced his conversion of the former buggy factory into a 120,000 square feet housing complex.   The first phase, which is mostly finished, includes 63 residential condos, covered parking, storage and five live/work units. 

The heart of the project is Firestone Alley, a SoHo-inspired streetscape that becomes the “Main Street” for the urban village being created at the Buggyworks.  This streetscape is named for Harvey Firestone, an employee of The Columbus Buggy Company, but better known for starting the Firestone Tire Company.  When complete, this center courtyard nestled between 400 and 440 W. Nationwide Blvd. will become a place for residents to enjoy a cup of coffee, spend time with neighbors and enjoy their new urban home.

Inside the Buggysworks, the new lofts take raw open space and refine that area into unique and very hip living quarters.  Exposed brick walls and timbered ceilings, industrial-sized windows and abundant natural light all create exciting and extraordinary dwelling spaces. 

In this featured loft, interior designer Rob White, of White Space Interior Design, has created a very livable, warm and inviting home in a small unit.  White explains that the unit’s square footage (750 to be exact) allows for a very beautiful, but edited way of life.  Using the owner’s collection of furniture, art and accessories, this designer gives the newly constructed condo a familiar feel for the homeowner.  Moving from the suburbs to a downtown loft was a big change.  Therefore, mixing special pieces from the previous home with new purchases, helped to ease the owner into a comfortable, but definitely smaller space.

White admits that designing a space in a unique building such as the Buggyworks was an exciting and rewarding project.  Working mostly in larger home environments, he jumped at the opportunity to work in the growing downtown market.  This unit’s vintage beams, original brick and high-end finishes allowed White Space to mix contemporary art with transitional furniture, modern lighting and period Asian artifacts. 

Warm and inviting truly does describe this new, urban living space.  From the neutral paint color throughout, to the choice of furniture and accessories in the living area and bedroom, this Buggyworks loft makes visitors forget about the hustle and bustle outside on Nationwide Boulevard.  In a relaxing environment such as this, it’s good to know one can rest easy, before stepping back out into the fray of the teeming metropole that begins at the doorstep of the Buggyworks.