When a longtime restaurant, caterer and event center in Greenwood closed in 2016, the concern was what would happen to the large vacant space.
Now, the former Jonathan Byrd’s building, near the Main Street and Interstate 65 interchange, has been converted into a multi-purpose space, with offices, an event center and places to get a haircut and a cup of coffee. Nearby, a vacant restaurant has been converted to a bank, and a gas station has undergone renovations and an expansion.
The Nest was remodeled to create 40,000 square feet of space to lease to businesses. So far, seven tenants have moved in, with room for up to four more, said Greenwood developer Randy Faulkner, whose company purchased the building in 2015.
Having two vacant sites back in use is a huge asset to the community, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.
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Greenwood realtor Bruce Richardson, one of the tenants at The Nest, is glad that the building has been preserved and updated, given its importance to the community, he said.
“It means the world to Greenwood,” Richardson said.
Faulkner’s real estate agency has worked to renovate a variety of sites in Greenwood, including the former Greenwood City Hall and the former Polk Canning Co. building at Polk and Main Streets. He took on the Jonathan Byrd’s project as an opportunity to work on another key community building in a rapidly developing area, he said.
“We’re trying to bring some uniqueness to the building,” Faulkner said.
Inside the building, they re-arranged the space to create a setup with a main common area and walkway with entrances to all of the businesses, he said.
The Nest is now home to an event center and six other business, including a coffee shop, salon and realtor. An Italian restaurant is a potential option for one of the few remaining locations that have yet to be leased, Faulkner said. The goal is to have the remaining locations filled by the end of the year, he said.
Next to The Nest, another former restaurant has been put to a new use. Last fall, Union Savings Bank opened in the former Bob Evans restaurant, which had closed in 2016. The bank had been leasing a location on State Road 135 near County Line Road, and had wanted to expand to a larger site where they could operate as a full service bank, said Ryan Baumann, the vice president of sales at Union Savings Bank.
The Main Street location near I-65 was ideal because of all of the investments the city and other business are putting into that area, Baumann said.
The bank spent $900,000 to purchase the building and another $1 million to renovate it, gutting the interior and repainting the outside walls. With the makeover completed, no one can tell that the site used to house a restaurant, he said.
“It’s great now that businesses aren’t sitting there empty,” Myers said.
The east side is an area where the city has been investing time and money in making improvements. Planning is underway on a proposed rebuild of Emerson Avenue from Main Street to County Line Road, Myers said.
In the past month, The Nest Event Center has hosted multiple events with at least several hundred attendees, including the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and an event for the Johnson County GOP. The first wedding is scheduled for later this spring, and key dates next fall are already booked, with the months of August, September and October nearly full already, said Kristee Anderson, who is leasing the 10,000-square-foot space inside the building. Anderson’s previous experience planning and hosting large events came from work she did for her church and Indiana Bible College, where her husband teaches.
The fact that reservations have come in so quickly shows that there was a large demand for these types of services in the Greenwood area, and that people were already familiar with the using the former Jonathan Byrd’s site for events, she said.
She invested about $250,000 in renovations to the banquet side of the building, ranging from updated bathrooms and large sliding glass windows in the back of banquet hall to wall-sized projectors and new carpeting. The work was done by the restoration company Faulkner owns, which helped allow Anderson to get the design to the exact point that she wanted it, she said.
The end result was a look that she characterizes as “farmhouse glam.”
With all of the guests seated and round dining tables, the banquet hall can hold about 550 people, but with just chairs that number can be expanded to 700, Anderson said. A smaller room off to the side of the banquet hall can double as a chapel and has room for up to about 100 people, she said.
Anderson isn’t finished with all of the improvements she has planned. Two of the large, glass windows at the back of the banquet hall are able to slide open and to allow people to walk out to the parking lot. Her plan is to turn the portion of the parking lot behind the building into a patio, with pavers, a gazebo and decorative fences. She envisions the area will eventually have the look and feel of an English garden.
Besides renting the space out to other groups for events, Anderson also wants to organize her own events in the space, focusing on gospel and Christian music concerts similar to ones that used to take place at Jonathan Byrd’s, she said.
What’s she enjoyed since The Nest opened last year has been the people she has gotten to know throughout the community.
“I’ve made a lot of great relationships,” Anderson said.
The former Jonathan Byrd’s building in Greenwood has undergone a complete overhaul since it closed in 2016, re-opening as a mall with a variety of stores and businesses.
New name: The Nest
Area for lease: 40,000 square feet
Number of spaces leased: 7
Remaining spaces: 4