From The Blog

Packard-Designed Mansion Threatened

Marble Cliff Village Council is considering a proposal for a 67-unit apartment building that would replace the Tudor-style mansion designed by...

Photo Credit: Anne Evans of The Metropreneur

Marble Cliff Village Council is considering a proposal for a 67-unit apartment building that would replace the Tudor-style mansion designed by renowned architect Frank Packard in 1907 and located at 2015 W. Fifth Ave. 

Proposed Concept

The F2 Companies, Elford Development and Sullivan Bruck Architects presented a concept plan at the January 29 Marble Cliff Council Meeting. The plan calls for total demolition of the mansion and an adjacent multi-story apartment building on Arlington Avenue to make way for a three-story building over parking. Marble Cliff Village has approximately 570 residents. The one and two-bedroom units proposed could increase the population by one-fifth. 

The current owner purchased the building for $1.15 million in 2003. The Franklin County Auditor’s website lists the property value at $770,000 and the taxable value at $269,500. 

Marble Cliff residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed development at an open house on Thursday, February 15 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the village’s Administration Building, 1600 Fernwood Ave. Public comment will be heard at the next Marble Cliff Council meeting on February 19, and council will give an informal indication if the developer should continue to pursue the project. Mayor Kent Studebaker indicated the development review process could take up to six months.

Our Position
The architectural and historical significance of this mansion cannot be overstated. The building can – and should – be saved. The Frank Packard-designed residences in Marble Cliff are character-defining and set the village apart from every other neighborhood in Columbus. We believe this property, included in redevelopment of the site, could be a true gateway to Marble Cliff for generations to come. This seems a very likely project to be eligible for historic preservation tax credits, and we hope reuse of the building will be further explored.

The Packard Impact
Born in Delaware, Ohio, Frank Packard (1866-1923) studied architecture and engineering at Ohio State University and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following his return to Columbus, he joined with Joseph Yost to form the architecture firm Packard and Yost. Packard was a prolific architect, working on outstanding residences such as this one as well as many notable landmarks that span architectural styles. His portfolio includes Hayes and Orton Halls at OSU; the Atlas Building; the former Governor’s Mansion (now The Columbus Foundation); the 1908 Civic Center Plan; The Seneca; North High School; Memorial Hall; the T&O Railroad Building; the Sells Mansion; the Granville Inn, and 10 homes in Marble Cliff. Packard was an early proponent of the Arts & Crafts movement, advocating for the use of locally sourced building materials and designing in harmony with the natural setting.

Barbara Powers, Department Head for Inventory and Registration at the State Historic Preservation Office, past Columbus Landmarks President, and expert on all things Packard, notes that his work in Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff is character defining and she compares it to the Arts & Crafts influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and other Prairie Style architects in Oak Park, IL.  In 2014, Powers led a tour of Packard’s work in Marble Cliff with Wayne Carlson of the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society for the Victorian Society in America. “Marble Cliff is home to an incredible concentration of Packard’s high quality work,” she noted. “A national society elected to spend an entire day studying Packard’s work … the Packard homes in Marble Cliff, Ohio were a major draw.”

Who’s Who of Occupants

1954 Burgess & Niple engineers and their fleet at 2015 W. 5th 

Frank Packard designed 2015 W. Fifth Ave. for William K. Lanman (wikipedia), president of the Columbus Bolt Company, and his wife Harriet Sharp Lanman in 1907. In 1935, E.W. “Billy” Ingram, founder of White Castle, purchased the home when he moved the headquarters from Wichita to Columbus. An early example of  creative adaptive reuse, the building was purchased by Burgess & Niple Engineering who moved their offices from downtown in 1953. The building has remained in commercial use since that time. One of the few commercial tenants occupying the building today is Collamore Built, a residential construction company committed to historic preservation, ironically. More Packard buildings in Columbus »

Marble Cliff Village values its rich architectural heritage. While we understand the frustration mounting with a neglected, underutilized, and overpriced property, we are actively urging the Village to be steadfast and resist this “fix” that will forever erase a key component of an extraordinary legacy. 

We would like to be a part of the conversation to discuss options, available resources, and alternative approaches that would make incorporating the existing structure viable. 

Here is what YOU can do:

  • If you are a resident of Marble Cliff, please attend the open house on February 15 and village council meeting on February 19 
  • Nominate » this building (or any others) threatened with deterioration, vacancy, or impending development to the 2018 Most Endangered Buildings List
  • Join us for an upcoming tour and lecture showcasing Packard’s work – we are working with Barbara Powers and will have details soon; »send us an email to let us know you’re interested 
  • Like us and share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • »JOIN Columbus Landmarks or make a donation today to help us advocate for places that matter!  


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  1. Bob Loversidge February 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm #

    This is certainly a travesty in the making. Frank Packard was probably our most significant architect — ever, and this mansion is a very visible reminder of his impact. Surely it could be adapted . . . surely it could be incorporated into a desirable new development project that would benefit the developers and the community. Does Marble Cliff have any sort of preservation legislation? Remember, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever . . .

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