The old Columbus Maennerchor building is about to sing a different tune.

The old Columbus Maennerchor building is about to sing a different tune.

The Jefferson Avenue Center, with the help of two philanthropists who reportedly requested to remain anonymous, has purchased the long-vacant building at 966 S. High St. in the Brewery District.

The intent is to make it a center for nonprofit organizations.

The Jefferson Avenue Center, based at 65 Jefferson Ave., owns and operates historic and newly developed properties that support a community of nonprofit organizations in central Ohio.

At its main campus downtown, the center has 11 properties and 18 nonprofit tenants with a waiting list of eight, Moore said.

"The need for stable, affordable space is certainly out there," she said.

The two benefactors created a limited liability company and purchased the building for $527,000 from Columbus City Schools. They then transferred the property to the Jefferson Avenue Center, said Katharine Moore, executive director of the nonprofit group.

The extensive rehab of the structure is estimated to cost $2 million to $2.5 million and money from the benefactors will pay for it, Moore said.

"We just thought, we get to be part of a huge preservation success story," Moore said.

The plan is to remodel the 10,700-square-foot building and build on its north side a 1,485-square-foot glass addition with an elevator going to all three floors of the building.

"I think it's going to be a building that just sort of sings," Moore said. "We're going to make it spectacular."

She said the plan must be reviewed by officials with the city of Columbus and the Brewery District Commission, the local architectural review board. The building could be used by one nonprofit or split into several offices, Moore said.

Mode Architects, located in German Village, has created a renovation concept for the property.

The hope is to have the building open by 2020, Moore said.

The Maennerchor, a German singing society, moved out of the building nine years ago and into the Dutch House, 976 S. High St.

Maennerchor officials long have wanted to expand, as the organization has been growing, said Werner Niehaus, president of the society.

A plan by a private developer to build residential units on the property, with the Maennerchor acquiring a portion of its old building, was quashed last year by the Brewery District Commission.

Werner Niehaus, president of the Maennerchor, said he's optimistic about the singers having some rehearsal space in the center.

"I think it will be a very nice property altogether," Niehaus said.

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