BY THE EXAMINER STAFF
After a year-long renovation period, the final touches on Small Nation’s Rainbow Row Bellefontaine project have been completed, representatives announced this week.
The five-storefront building was purchased by Small Nation in August of 2021 with emergency and structural repairs completed soon after. Redevelopment began over the summer of 2022 after an initial design period with architecture and construction professionals.
The building pays homage to Charleston, S.C.,’s own Rainbow Row that includes 13 18th century historic homes located near the harbor, all brightly colored in their own pastel hues.
Bellefontaine’s Rainbow Row is one of the oldest buildings in the downtown, with the oldest in the group being built before 1864.
“We’re taking a page from American Planning Association Playbook,” said Jason Duff, Small Nation founder and CEO. “Our goal is to be a little more playful with the colors, have a large mural, and to return to the original window heights, storefronts and transoms.”
All five storefronts have now seen new businesses open.
In January, the Craft Emporium opened its doors offering unique craft beer and wine from across Ohio. Shortly after, Rush Creek Art Studio opened with the goal to provide hands-on professional assistance to all artists looking for the right training and materials.
Following in March was the addition of a fun, funky candy store, Candy Craze, that features all things candy from gummy to chocolate to nostalgic and novelty.
Most recently, the Salty Swan Studio, a private, luxury tattoo studio, became the fourth business opening in the building in July.
Coming soon is a new plant boutique shop, Eden Haus, that will take the final spot on the first floor of the building.
The upper floor features seven short-term rental units. These spaces, named “The Flats,” are a mix of studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments that are fully furnished and finely appointed with full kitchens, full baths, and on-site laundry. The Flats are a prime lodging option for weekend trips, corporate housing and extended stays for out-of-town families.
“Demand for fully furnished corporate and short-term rental housing options in downtown Bellefontaine is strong and growing,” Duff said. “I’m appreciative of the several downtown building owners who are renovating and adding new and unique housing options for locals and guests. They have been a huge hit.”
Small Nation worked with Revival Design Collective out of Coldwater for the architecture and design of the building. Revival is a woman-led design firm that specializes in small town redevelopment.
In addition, Small Nation has teamed up with Revival on multiple other projects in downtown Bellefontaine including the Syndicate, a restaurant in the downtown, and the Flying Pepper Cantina, where Revival received a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects Dayton for Interior Architecture.
Revival is also the architecture team behind the Historic Opera Block, Small Nation’s largest project to date, restoring an entire historic city block.
Cally Lange, Revival founder and CEO, was the principal architect for the project.
“It’s always a pleasure working with our rockstar community partners in Bellefontaine,” she said. “Working on the Rainbow Row project has been so much fun, watching a crazy idea become a reality.”
Level MB Construction out of Troy completed the construction and renovations for both the storefront facades and interior spaces of the storefronts and residential units. Level MB is experienced in commercial construction, notably in historic building redevelopment. The firm was also behind the preservation and renovation of the Coleman-Allen-Saidleman Building in downtown Troy.
Architecture updates to the building were made to be historically-accurate, with windows being fully restored. Foundation for the building was restored and a new ADA-accessible concrete patio and ramp was installed in front of the building.
“We’re bringing personality to this one,” Duff added. “We’ve designed this project as a unique destination, both visually and as an experience, in downtown Bellefontaine.”
Rainbow Row Bellefontaine is located at 114-122 west Chillicothe Avenue in downtown Bellefontaine. For updates on the project and information on leasing spaces, follow along on Facebook at Rainbow Row Bellefontaine and on Instagram at @rainbowrowbtown.
BY THE EXAMINER STAFF