Furniture Bank of Central Ohio

Case Study

2165 Morse Road, Columbus, OH 43229

Situation

Furniture Bank of Central Ohio hired a new CEO who wanted to open a showroom and warehouse to the public. The first step was to identify a premier location that could serve multiple markets and demographics at an affordable rate, while providing great freeway for deliveries.

Challenge

The availability of vacant big box retail stores that  are in move-in ready condition and had proper zoning were few and far between. After touring multiple sub-markets and soliciting proposals from three different properties the numbers were proving not to be economically feasible. After fine-tuning the requirements and focusing on the showroom component only, we quickly were able to identify a mid-size retail building that would be ideal for the social enterprise. The only hurdle is that the building had been vacant for quite some time and was in need of capital repair.

Solution

Knowing our client’s build out budget was minimal, we were able to successfully negotiate the landlord to perform all capital repairs prior to turning the keys of to Furniture Bank. It was not an easy process as they questioned the validity of our request, but by obtaining an proper inspection reports, from our contractor we clearly and concisely stated our case and received the desired response.

Final Obstacle

The property was formerly occupied by Rite Rug Flooring and zoning code had changed over the past decade thus, not allowing furniture sales. Rather than going through a complete re-zoning of the property, we suggested submitting an application for a Council Variance (CV) is the quickest and cheapest alternative versus a complete re-zoning. Through our introduction of a highly qualified zoning attorney, the CV application was properly submitted on the agenda for official vote.

Results

Shortly after the holidays, Columbus City Council approved the Northland Community Councils recommendation to grant the CV needed to allow Furniture Bank to proceed. A month later, Furniture Bank is currently completing their final list of improvements on the space and plans on opening early 2016.