COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Many a Columbus resident can remember the window displays at the Lazarus department store along Town and High streets. Fewer may know that further down Town Street is a grand brick mansion where the Lazarus family used to live.
Now, a young couple is working to breathe life back into the home and hopes to invite area residents in soon.
Mark Sweeney, who grew up going to the department store, and his partner, Abigail McLean bought the house at 380 E. Town St. in 2020 from their now neighbors. They began working on plans to renovate the house in April 2021.
They hope to be moved into the home by the end of May.
The previous owners used state and federal historic tax credits to restore the home. Sweeney and McLean were able to use a tax abatement to further restore and refurbish the home.
“We wanted to preserve history and this house is part of the fabric of downtown Columbus,” Sweeney said.
The house was split up into three different dwellings when Sweeney and McLean bought it. The first floor is a luxury apartment unit, while the second and third floors of the house will be a four-bedroom, four-bathroom living area for Sweeney, McLean, and their two children. There is also an addition on the back of the house, added in the 1940s, that will be rented out as a short-term rental.
In total, the house includes more than 7,000 square feet.
The couples plans to add a rooftop patio on the second floor in the back of the home, where they hope to host dinner parties and welcome Columbus residents into the historic home. Both apartments will also have access to the rooftop patio.
“This was a grand home back in the day,” Sweeney said. “Socialites and Columbus’ movers and shakers would come here, and our vision is for the house to be like that again. This house historically had parties and we want to continue that. This house is a beautiful piece of Columbus heritage.”
Sweeney and McLean are also transforming the third floor from an attic-like space into two bedrooms for their children and a master suite. There will be a loft for the boys and their friends to play in when the renovation is complete, Sweeney said.
“We’ve learned that there are ways to renovate the house that keep the historically significant parts, but help it evolve to be better for the future, too,” McLean said.
Midland Architecture is responsible for the design of the house and Sullivan Builders is handling the construction of the project.
Sweeney and McLean, both in sales, have prior experience in restoring old homes. They previously restored an old home on East North Broadway in Clintonville, where they were living until they bought the Lazarus house.
McLean said when they first bought the Lazarus house, the couple thought they would only need to renovate the bare third floor.
“This house has taught us a lot about patience,” McLean said.
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