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Reams Asset Management, an investment advisory firm, is in the final few weeks of a facelift designed to give its Washington Street headquarters a look to trump big-city rivals and impress potential clients.
The company, with $12 billion under management for pension funds and other institutions, felt its 19th-century office building had lost a few too many architectural flourishes through the years. It had been the longtime site of A. Tross & Sons department store until it closed in 1960.
“We had no curb appeal, and we wanted to make a good first impression,” said David McKinney, president of the firm, which despite its small-town roots competes with major-market investment firms based in places such as New York and Chicago.
The firm hired Columbus architect Louis Joyner, asking him to design an affordable plan to give the building at 227 Washington St. a refurbished entrance while preserving its 1880s style in terms of color and look of the facade.
“They had one big problem. The original storefront had three recesses (for doorways), and people actually had a hard time finding the correct entrance,” Joyner said Friday. “We made some modifications, taking out two sets of doors.”
The plan is to create a main entrance with stairs to a second-level reception area where Reams Asset Management bond traders also work. Two doorways being discarded will be replaced with large, frosted-glass windows, blending with black-and-white tile work along the base of the building.
“One of our goals in this was to try and bring back some of the character of the original storefront,” Joyner said. That included painting the upper reaches of the building in bluish-gray hues with details highlighted in orange or dark bronze.
“We wanted to come up with colors that weren’t too gaudy, but also weren’t too sedate,” the architect said.
McKinney said the project is the culmination of two years’ worth of Reams investing in new furnishings, electronic trading boards and touch video screens on its trading floor and making other cosmetic improvements. The result will provide a sharp contrast between an old-world facade of the building and sleek modern features inside once guests reach the second floor.
McKinney said Reams doesn’t do a retail brokerage business, focusing instead on financial services for pension funds and other institutions. That means the company doesn’t get any walk-in business from mom-and-pop investors. But McKinney said the $200,000 facelift should make a big impression on potential clients and potential employees who visit Reams’ downtown shop across from the Bartholomew County Courthouse.
McKinney said the work at 227 Washington St. should be completed by Dec. 1.
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