The parent company of Charleys Philly Steaks and Bibibop Asian Grill has purchased the Tree of Life building in Upper Arlington.
The building, located at 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., will serve as the future home of Gosh Enterprises' corporate office. The company bought the building for $5.5 million, according to Franklin County Auditor records.
The other tenants of the building will stay. Gosh will occupy about 30,000 square feet of the building initially.
Brian Hipsher, chief marketing officer of Charleys, told Columbus Business First that the company is rapidly growing and hopes to move from the 20,000-square-foot office space it's in now to the new space next summer.
The corporate headquarters will house support teams for Charleys, Bibibop, Lenny's, Solar Planet and Charleys Kids Foundation, Hipsher said. He said the company hopes to add to its existing 200 employees at the new location.
The 201,000-square-foot office building was once home to CompuServe, a Columbus-based internet pioneer. The company was acquired by AOL in 1998 and the building continued to be occupied by AOL until it sold the property to Tree of Life Christian Schools in 2010.
Tree of Life had hoped to open a school in the office building when they bought it from AOL, combining their schools around town into one. The city countered that the building was to remain commercial use only, and could not house public or private schools. Tree of Life sued in 2011, alleging its constitutional rights had been violated and contending federal statutes require cities to treat religious assemblies on equal terms as non-religious ones.
The case nearly went to the Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the case in 2019. Federal trial and appellate courts had previously sided with the city.
Unable to open a school there, Tree of Life used the office space as a space to house Christian ministries.
“What we originally desired to make into a school campus became a ministry center housing many central Ohio Christian ministries. By God’s grace, this has been a wonderful investment for Tree of Life that will strengthen our other four campuses well into the future," Todd Marrah, superintendent of Tree of Life Christian Schools and president of Tree of Life Ministry Center, said in a media release.
Hipsher told Columbus Business First the new headquarters is currently being designed and will include more modern, collaborative workspaces and a research and development kitchen.
“I was excited to hear about the unique opportunity. The history of the building is special, and the location in Upper Arlington is perfect for our home base,” Charley Shin, Gosh's owner and founder, said in the release.
“We are very excited that Gosh Enterprises has chosen Upper Arlington as its new home," Upper Arlington City Manager Steve Schoeny said in the release. "As we look at the future of the Henderson Road corridor, adding them to the growing, innovative companies in the area will be incredibly helpful as we look at making the area more attractive for businesses and residents. We are going to work with Charleys Philly Steaks, Bibibop Asian Grill, and others in the area to come up with a long-term plan that takes the site from 1980 to 2030.”
Tree of Life was represented by Brett Cisler and Daniel Dunsmoor of Colliers International in the sale and Gosh was represented by John Hall, David Hartsook and A.J. Norman of CBRE.