Renovation of the Lazare house in progress | NBC4 WCMH-TV

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Many Columbus residents remember the windows of the Lazarus department store along Town and High streets. Fewer people may know that further down Town Street is a large brick mansion where the Lazarus family lived.

Now a young couple are working to bring the house back to life and hope to invite area residents soon.

To view a slideshow of the renovations, click here.

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 current neighbors. They began working on renovation plans for the home in April 2021.

They hope to be installed in the house by the end of May.

Previous owners used federal and state historic tax credits to restore the home. Sweeney and McLean were able to use a tax abatement to further restore and renovate the house.

“We wanted to preserve the history and this house is part of the fabric of downtown Columbus,” Sweeney said.

The house was divided into three different dwellings when Sweeney and McLean purchased it. The first floor is a luxury apartment, while the second and third floors of the house will be a four-bedroom, four-bathroom living space for Sweeney, McLean and their two children. There is also an addition at the back of the house, added in the 1940s, which will be rented out as a short term rental.

In total, the house comprises over 7,000 square feet.

The couples plan to add a second-story rooftop patio at the back of the house, where they hope to host dinner parties and welcome Columbus residents to the historic home. Both apartments will also have access to the roof terrace.

“It was a big house back then,” Sweeney said. “Columbus socialites and movers would come here, and our vision is for the house to be like this again. This house historically had parties and we want to continue that. This home 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 where the boys and their friends can play once the renovation is complete, Sweeney said.

“We’ve learned that there are ways to renovate the house that retain the historically significant parts, but also help it evolve to be better for the future,” McLean said.

Midland Architecture is responsible for the design of the house and Sullivan Builders is managing the construction of the project.

Sweeney and McLean, both in sales, have previous experience restoring old homes. They previously restored an old house on East North Broadway in Clintonville, where they lived until they purchased the Lazarus House.

McLean said when they first bought the Lazarus House, the couple thought they would only have to renovate the bare third floor.

“This house taught us a lot about patience,” McLean said.

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