Madison White-Haines streetscape at Gay and High in Columbus, Ohio

The Madison

A journey from neglect to neighborhood gem

For at least 40 years, the Madison’s and White Haines buildings sat vacant and deteriorating on one of Downtown’s most prominent corners. Unlike so many Downtown buildings, these were saved and restored to match their historic luster through a collaborative approach, showcasing how preservation can support the revitalization of a neighborhood.

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A view of the east side of North High Street between Gay Street and Long Street. Buildings featured include, from left to right: the High Long Building, 114-120 North High Street, the old Z. L. White Company building (and former J.C. Penney Department Store), 106 North High Street, the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, 90 North High Street, the White-Haines Building, 82 North High Street, the former Madison's store building, 72 North High Street, and the Old Columbus Dispatch Building, 68 North High Street.

The two buildings that once housed Madison’s Department Store date back to the early 20th century. The third building, the White-Haines Building, stands out with its distinctive features, including a rich terra cotta facade and steel construction, making it the most architecturally significant of the trio. This project, spanning 101,000 square feet and comprising 44 residential units, utilizes federally-funded historic tax credits to preserve exterior facades while enhancing interior spaces. The project also includes connections to the new building at 100 N High, north of the project, a back-of-house kitchen, support spaces, and utility connections for the restaurant in the building to the south, with an easement between the properties in perpetuity.

The success of this project was not without its challenges. It required navigating a complex web of competing priorities: securing both state and federal historic tax credits and the associated approvals; designing a code-compliant plan that integrated the historic buildings with three different floor heights and numerous different floorplates, additions, and complications; completely reconstructing a building that had no functional systems, in a tight urban setting, during a global pandemic; and creating an economically viable product that is also the cornerstone of the Gay & High District.

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Residential Unit with Spiral Staircase at the White-Haines Building
The Madison's Residents Clubroom

“We want to create a real hub at Gay and High.”

– Jeff Edwards, President and CEO, Edwards Companies

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Restored 7-tier plaster molding, White-Haines
White-Haines Historic storefront

The restoration process paid meticulous attention to the key remaining historic components of the buildings. The fallen sections of the White Haines cornice were replicated and reinstalled, and the bronze storefront was brought back to its former glory. New replicas of historic cornices were installed on the Madison’s Building where they were missing. Most impressively, the stunning 7-tier plaster molding throughout the White Haines ground level space was not only preserved but restored to its original colors and gold leaf.

Perhaps the most significant impact of the renovations is how the Madison’s and White Haines Buildings fill the gap of once vacant buildings along High Street, enhancing connectivity and walkability throughout Downtown. As a crucial part of the Edwards Companies’ efforts to revitalize Gay Street, the project brings ground-floor galleries and a restaurant, making it a lynchpin for initiatives such as the installation of Janet Echelman’s sculpture, Current, and the future Capital Line.

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  • CityColumbus, Ohio
  • Client Edwards Companies
  • Year Completed 2024
  • Size of Project 101,000 SF, 44 residential units
  • Collaborators Urban Five Construction
    Designing Local
    Blind Eye Restoration
    Coon Restoration