For 150 years, the Lazarus department store has been a landmark in downtown Columbus. The store closed in 2005, and in 2006 was transformed for a diverse and vibrant mix of uses, including office, retail, artists' studios, exhibition space, and restaurants.
The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, with the Georgetown Company, spearheaded the reinvention of the 1,000,000-square-foot former department store by restoring the brick and terracotta facade and reopening more than 150 window openings (once filled by the department store) using mullion patterns that match the original units. A former street through the center of the building was transformed into a two-story Galleria that now serves as the central organizational element of the project.
The bulk of the demolition waste stream was diverted from landfills and recycled. New building materials with high recycled content were used in the renovation, such as terrazzo flooring utilizing recycled glass, toilet partitions made from pop bottles, and rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo flooring and cork baseboards. High-efficiency heating, cooling, and ventilation systems improve comfort and air quality and reduce the cost of operation. Energy-efficient windows reduce utility costs and provide day lighting. A portion of the building has a 'living' roof to reduce summer heat buildup and slow water runoff. The landmark L-ball tower on the roof is now an integral part of a rainwater harvesting system used to flush toilets and irrigate the roof garden. It is the first renovation project in central Ohio to achieve a LEED CS Certified Gold rating.
Serving as a wonderful example of adaptive use and green building technology, the 'new' Lazarus Building now anchors the north end of a proposed urban redevelopment effort. As such, it will continue to be a part of the urban fabric of Columbus for generations to come.