Convergence of art and design keeps firm successful

By Andrew Miller
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The Pizzuti Companies have been building on success for more than three decades.

Company owner Ron Pizzuti is an internationally recognized art collector, as well as the founder of the Pizzuti Companies.

Jim Russell, the firm’s chief operating officer, said Pizzuti’s interest in good design and artistic solutions is key to the company’s success.

It’s also inherent in an exciting new project now under way in the Short North area of Columbus.

“We’re currently the largest U.S. city without a boutique hotel, and we are going to change that,” Russell said. “I think this is the most exciting project we’re working on right now. It’ll include a Short North gallery space for Ron’s art collection, offices, parking and, of course, a boutique hotel.”

Timelessness becomes a product of good design, he said.

“One thing Pizzuti takes pride in is that we won’t sacrifice what we believe is right for our clients just because of a tough economy. We show that if you err on the side of quality and good design, you’ll hold your value longer,” Russell said. “If you visit our projects from the past 30 years, they all look very timeless and as if they had just been built.”

Pizzuti started his career in the retail sales business, according to Russell, which is where he learned how to merchandise and package real estate in a way that was different from how everyone else was doing it.

“His background in retail let him look at things more creatively and his flair for the arts certainly helped,” Russell said. “His first signature project he did with his wife, Ann, that was One Arlington Place. They really learned the business from the ground up and then just expanded from there.”

The Pizzuti Companies are headquartered in Two Miranova Place, part of a signature downtown Columbus development completed by the company.

“We like to say we were ‘green’ before it was a popular color,” Russell said. “Miranova Place was once a brownfield site and was the first voluntary action clean-up in Ohio, so we worked closely with the Voinovich administration to bring Ohio up to speed with that type of redevelopment.”

Another key to the Pizzuti Companies’ success has been to stay on the front edge of development, according to Russell, with things such as “green” technologies, mixed-use developments and public-private partnerships.

“Building sustainable is really an attempt by Pizzuti to continue to push the envelope and lead the industry instead of following,” he said. “We knew it was the right thing to do for the environment but it is also being conscious of operating expenses and adding value for our clients.”

The new Franklin County Courthouse project was managed by Pizzuti.

“The county hit a point where they needed an outside company to be an extension of their staff and we won that contract,” Russell said. “That ended up being the first LEED Gold Certified court in Ohio and one of the first in the nation.”

He said no matter how successful the Pizzuti Companies have become, it would all be wasted if they stopped listening to their clients.

“We’ll never be accused of just creating shade and shelter,” Russell said. “Another key to our success is that if you forget what made you successful and start telling clients what to do instead of listening, you’ll no longer be successful.

“We believe in listening and then analyzing to provide the best solution — that is key.”

For more information on the Pizzuti Companies, visit www.pizzuti.com.

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