Investors Help to Transform Downtown Springfield, Attracting New Businesses & Visitors
Monday, May 23, 2022
James (Jim) Lagos and his wife Nike have invested heavily in the revitalization of Downtown Springfield. “You have to take a chance on the community,” he said. “That’s what we have done to try and restore Springfield to the level of glory it once had.” As a result of investments made by them and others, Downtown Springfield has once again become a vibrant hub of activity that is attracting people to dine, shop, work and live within the downtown area.
The Bushnell Building renovation was one of their biggest projects. Built in the late 1800s, the building was home to Wren’s department store, a bank, dry goods store, Masonic Temple and a law firm. The architecture and artwork have always been incredible with 45 hand-carved lion heads, an elaborate fleur-de-lis, a Greek key system, arches and flowers. Still, it sat empty or underutilized.
Since 1993 Jim and Nike have been lovingly restoring the building, earning a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the process - only the second building in Ohio to do so while also being on the National Historic Register.
With the restorations complete, the Bushnell Building has become home to restaurants, professional services companies, a dance school, etc. It also has an event center that can be used for large and small gatherings. Over 100 jobs have been created in the building.
Jim and Nike also renovated the Sun Building, saving this historic property and preserving it for future generations. Over a dozen businesses like LWS Tax & Accounting are located in the property, creating additional jobs in the downtown area. “Bringing people downtown to live and work here in close proximity is what it’s all about,” said Jim.
“I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats so it’s not a zero-sum game. If a new tenant comes to one of our properties or somewhere else downtown it benefits all of us,” said Jim. That’s certainly true. The increase in office users and residents downtown has made it easier to recruit additional retail and restaurant businesses. “Downtown Springfield is truly becoming a destination and our large list of growing businesses demonstrates this,” said Mike McDorman, President & CEO of GSP.
Ultimately, Jim believes in the power of working together and encourages other investors and businesses to be part of the growth of Springfield and Clark County. “We have to work together and everyone will benefit from our efforts. In order to have progress in the community someone has to pull the trigger. You have to go forward and take the chance. We have to continue to take a chance on Downtown Springfield, on Clark County and this region so we can move onward together and prosper,” he said. “When we do there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”