Design for Innovation
 
 

THE SENECA

Interview with Todd Boyer

“All right, you better lock these doors before I run out of here,” Todd said of the conference room doors. He was really excited to talk to me about his projects. 

“So, um, what do you want to tell me?” I asked him.

“Don’t you have a list of questions or something?”

“Just describe the project,” I said. “Please.”

The Seneca was originally The Seneca Hotel. It was one of the tallest buildings in Columbus and a pretty big deal. Al Sulser, former principal of the firm, had his high school prom there. Todd’s Uncle Jack had his honeymoon there. It was an iconic hotel complete with a ballroom and a mezzanine overlooking the lobby accompanying the rooms. 

Post-hotel at the Seneca: office space. Post office space: vacant. It was empty for ten to fifteen years and was scheduled to be demolished before investors purchased it with the intention of turning it into off campus student housing. The Seneca is on the corner of Grant Avenue and Broad Street, a short distance from Franklin University and Columbus College of Art and Design. 

“We spent two and a half years on that construction. It’s got a gym in it. It was on America’s Most Haunted Places. One guy took a picture when we were in there and swore it was a ghost. It was creepy. I didn’t know if it was a ghost or a homeless guy,” Todd said jokingly. Mostly jokingly.

“Okay, but what was the biggest obstable?” I asked.

“Preserving the historic details and essence of the building while trying to accommodate market rate apartments was huge. It’s on the Ohio Register of Historic Places, which means you cannot touch it,” Todd said. Once they got the building to the bare bones, they had to replace everything with the same detail it harnessed before, like the windows. “New windows had to look just like the 1915 windows.”

“Anything else you would care to share with the readers?” I asked Todd.

“Uh, no. This project was a really big deal for us and in general, but no."

2005 Pop Culture Facts

“All the women who independent, throw your hands up at me.” This is a line from the popular Destiny’s Child song, Independent Women. I’m sorry to report that they split up in 2005, but you know who didn’t split? Quite the opposite. Todd Boyer got married. It was the year of love (pronunciation: lerrrrrrrve). Tom Cruise went a little nutty over his love for Katie Holmes on Oprah’s couch. Edward Cullen showed Bella Swan the meaning of selfless love in the release of the first Twilight book. Wedding Crashers premiered and taught us that people can change for love. Finally, YouTube was released and Todd and Sara sat on their couch to watch their wedding video on a Thursday night after Grey’s Anatomy premiered.