As published in Manufacturing & Construction News - September 1, 2018

Rendering of the Hylant Building’s lobby renovations

Rendering of the Hylant Building’s lobby renovations

Hylant Building undergoes new lobby renovation

Café also gets updated layout and new kitchen with Sarnies serving as café operator

The Hylant Building, located at 811 Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo, is undergoing a major renovation to its lobby and café area. The building was originally constructed in 1959 and according to Nick Camp, senior operations analyst for Hylant, the 8,000 square foot lobby and café area were due for an upgrade.

“We haven’t seen a significant renovation in the lobby in some time and that’s really our main presentation for all of our tenants and clients. With this renovation, we wanted to keep as much of the original architecture as possible and try to take it back to the day when it was built. It’s an all glass building and we wanted to retain that look with the blue tile on the wall and the terrazzo tile on the floor. So we are taking it back to what it was, but giving it an updated and fresh look,” said Camp.

Toledo-based The Collaborative is the architect for the project and Rudolph Libbe is the general contractor. The project broke ground in mid-June and is expected to be complete by the end of August.

According to Camp, original features such as the blue mosaic tile walls will be highlighted with new lighting, and the patterned terrazzo floor will be uncovered and refinished. A new welcome desk will greet visitors to the building and existing glass partitions have been removed to provide a more open and inviting lobby space. In addition, lounge seating will be available for impromptu meetings and collaboration.

“As we know, there’s a lot of downtown activity now with many companies moving back to the downtown area. There is a lot of competition to attract potential tenants and companies. With this renovation and new look, we want to be able to attract and retain tenants, as well as have a nice presentation for our clients as well,” said Camp.

In addition to the lobby renovations, the café is going to be completely renovated with an updated layout and kitchen. Sarnies, a sandwich shop, is the new café operator and the offerings will feature other fresh menu items such as chopped salads, soup, and breakfast items.

The café, according to Camp, will be accented with new signage and lighting which will increase visibility from outside the building. The glass partitions have been eliminated, providing a more open and inviting atmosphere. New café seating and lounge areas will provide a setting for dining, meeting, or personal time, noted Camp.

“We really needed to upgrade the whole café, as it serves all the tenants and the building as a whole, but is also open to the public. Before, while the café was still open to the public, it was a little more closed off. We’ve always had our café and food operations open to the public, but now we want to open that up even more,” said Camp.

Camp noted that these renovations and upgrades, as well as Hart, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency that moved into recently renovated floors of the Hylant Building, are part of a larger investment project for the future, but it all began coming together when the building switched management to GEM, Inc., a division of Rudolph Libbe Group (RLG).

Rendering of the Hylant Building’s new café featuring Sarnies

Rendering of the Hylant Building’s new café featuring Sarnies

“Just a couple years ago, we made a change as far as management of the building is concerned. GEM came in to manage the building. That’s kind of how it all started. They’ve done a great job for us with not only the management side of the building, but the mechanical aspects, the upgrades, the leasing, the accounting, and also energy aspects of the building. They are very active with energy procurement and energy efficiency projects. We’ve had some very positive results from the work they’ve done for us and we couldn’t be happier,” said Camp.

GEM began managing the building in March 2017, offering a program called FM360. This program has multiple services including on-site maintenance and minor repairs; annual / capital budgeting needs; bulk-rate pricing for all building maintenance supplies; one call, 24/7/365 access to any HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or construction service as needed; emergency response planning; building envelope inspection; loading dock maintenance; and more.

Joe Gajdostik, facility maintenance director for GEM, said of the building, “It was built in 1959 and was originally built for Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co. as their world headquarters. It’s approximately 235,000 square feet, so 15 floors with 12 of them being leasable. With a building of that age, there are a lot of challenges, and some of the initial challenges that we were faced with was with the HVAC equipment. There were always complaints prior to us coming in – either too hot or too cold. We tapped our GEM colleagues in the HVAC department – as well as our energy team – to come over and start helping with that. Our goal was to improve upon the comfort of the building as well as reducing operating costs. So we tackled gas and electric usage, we had upgrades throughout the building, changed the set points on the control system for the building – when equipment turns on, when it turns off, and things of that nature – and we reduced utility costs by about 31%, which is pretty substantial savings.”

“And that’s led to the contracting side, which is all of these improvements and the planned improvements for the future,” said Camp.

The planned improvements for the future of the building include renovations to the plaza, renovations to Hylant’s floors, renovations to leaseable floors, as well as upgrading technology and equipment.

“There’s 12 tenant floors – we occupy six of them – with six other tenants that occupy the rest. Hart and NSG (Nippon Sheet Glass) are more ‘anchor’ tenants along with Hylant. Hickory Farms is still here, along with other tenants that occupy some office space. With the master plan we are working on, we are primarily looking at Hylant’s needs and what we need for the building, but also keeping a focus on the empty floor and floors that will be available in the future. So really, we have an eye towards attracting tenants and those projects will be ongoing while we also renew leases. Our tenant base is very happy with the changes that we’ve made in the past two years and the investment that we’ve put in the building and they want to stay here. We will continue working with them, while we are also trying to attract new tenants. So most of it will be to the Hylant floors and future tenant floors,” concluded Camp.


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