LeVeque Tower Hard Hat Tour
While the Short North seems to get the majority of the attention surrounding Columbus’ urban revitalization, something special is happening downtown at Broad and Front. The LeVeque Tower, one of the city’s most iconic and historic landmarks, is undergoing a major restoration of its own. Lawyers Development, Kaufman Development and Hotel LeVeque are breathing new life into the 46-story skyscraper, solidifying its presence in a 21st century Columbus. Members of the Columbus District Council of the Urban Land Institute were granted special access for a hard hat tour to get a firsthand look at how the building has transformed in recent months.
A Towering Success
Before the tour began, guests gathered in the ground-floor hotel lobby to hear Robert D. Loversidge Jr., CEO of Columbus-based Schooley Caldwell and the principal architect responsible for overseeing the building’s restoration, tell the tale of the LeVeque Tower. Loversidge discussed the construction of the building in the 1920s—upon completion it was the fifth tallest building in the world—the ownership transition in the 1940s—when it was purchased in part by the building’s namesake, Leslie L. LeVeque—and the present-day conversion to its origin as a hotel and office building with some modern extras, such as a future Starbucks in the lobby.
A New Lease on Life
During the tour, guests were able to witness all aspects of the renovation. Several floors, such as the mid-level office spaces, were completely finished and functional while others, such as the lower-level boutique hotel rooms and upper-level apartments, were in mid-construction with the intent to be completed by year’s end. Leasing has started to fill the 69 apartments, with some tenants expected to occupy in October.
Bridging the Past and the Present
At one time in Columbus’ history, the LeVeque Tower constituted the city’s entire skyline. Since then, it has seen other skyscrapers rise around it as a sign of Columbus’ growth and prosperity. Now, with the careful direction of Columbus’ own Robert Myers of Lawyers Development and Schooley Caldwell, the LeVeque Tower will once again be the iconic structure it was intended to be all of those years ago. A quick look outside a 32nd floor apartment window to the surrounding area can provide some perspective on the building’s significance. One can imagine the city of yesterday while appreciating the LeVeque Tower’s integral role in the city today.
ULI Columbus Young Leader Group Member
Benjamin A. Siembida, E.I.
Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.