What will happen to this Wild Art building?
Can the Longaberger Basket Company, Ohio, find a buyer for its idiosyncratic office building?
The Longaberger Basket Company building in Newark, Ohio, is a wonderful bit of pop architecture. The 16,732 m2 (180,000 sq ft) seven-storey office was built in 1997 and features in our book Wild Art.
Company founder Dave Longaberger oversaw the design, reasoning, quite rightly, “if they can put a man on the moon, they can certainly build a building that’s shaped like a basket.”
Any extra expense was justified in Longaberger’s opinion, as the firm was profitable at the time, and could afford to model its headquarters after its best-selling Medium Market Basket.
Alas, Longaberger’s sales have dropped by a precipitous 90% since 2000, and now, the firm, which once employed 500 workers, has just 68 staff members working within its Newark basket building, and faces other financial difficulties.
The local county could forecose on the unique office block, yet local mayor Jeff Hall says the city of Newark "does not have a desire to own the building."
Instead, the mayor hopes a suitable buyer can be found. “It’s in great shape,” Hall told the Columbus Dispatch. “It was built wonderfully. If someone got it for maybe $5 million, that’s a heck of a deal.”
A heck of a deal, Jeff, if you’re in the market for an Ohio office block shaped like a basket. Let’s hope, for the sake of a diverse built environment, somebody is. For more freethinking art and architecture like this order a copy of our book, Wild Art.