New KZF Design headquarters anchors burgeoning 8th Street Design District

54 years ago KZF Design got its start in the historic Ingalls Building on 4th Street in downtown Cincinnati.  Since that time the design firm has experienced internal growth and a growing national reputation withing the design industry.

That growth moved KZF from its original downtown space to the Baldwin Center on the northeastern outskirts of downtown Cincinnati near Walnut Hills.  As the firm continued to grow, KZF leaders saw an opportunity to return to their downtown roots while also creating a showpiece office space that highlights the firm's acclaimed workplace design.

"KZF is a leader in sustainable design and we wanted to make sure that we were walking the walk with the new headquarters space," said Tim Sharp, Vice President of KZF Design who expects the project to be awarded at least LEED Silver certification.  "We are also nationally known and recommended for our workplace design, so we wanted to invest in a great workplace of our own."

The $6 million renovation project of the historic 1915, three-story structure will initially house 75 employees within its 36,000 square-foot space.  What Sharp sees as the most exciting aspect is the location of the new headquarters within what some are beginning to call the 8th Street Design District - primarily for its conglomeration of design-oriented businesses.

"The location allows us to recruit and retain young, talented designers who want to be within the urban core," said Sharp.  "The 8th Street corridor is a very creative environment, and our employees love the ability to walk to work, lunch and just explore the downtown and Over-the-Rhine areas.  There is a great energy being downtown and it is also nice being close to public transit."

Sharp sees the burgeoning 8th Street Design District as a perfect compliment for the growing loft residential district there as well.  He notes the warehouse structures on the edge of the central business district as a perfect location for design firms who can not afford the high prices found on 4th Street where KZF was once located.

"It's no coincidence that so many design firms have located in the 8th Street Design District," Sharp said.  "The price points are good and, as I said, the creative environment found in those buildings and in that district is something design firms look for."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Tiffani Fisher
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