A giant industrial building where a company once made drinking fountains will see new life this spring as rentable studio, storage and event space for artists and creative-class manufacturers.

A giant industrial building where a company once made drinking fountains will see new life this spring as rentable studio, storage and event space for artists and creative-class manufacturers.

The neighborhood directly west of Downtown has been tagged by many as the city's next live-work arts district, and the 400 West Rich project could provide a significant push in that direction.

"There has been some movement in the neighborhood," said Chris Sherman, a Franklinton resident who's fixing up and managing the building at 400 W. Rich St. "This project will hopefully be a stepping stone for something greater."

Sherman said that he hopes to open the first phase within 45 days.

The 105,000-square-foot building was erected in 1910 and expanded in 1929. Vacant since 2006, it was in need of roof work, landscaping, power-washing, new drywall and other repairs, which Sherman began in October.

Phase one will offer a handful of studio spaces, six offices, a large common area, bathrooms, a utility room and other amenities. Space also is available for bigger tenants and those that need things like natural light or extra electricity, Sherman said.

"There's been quite a bit of response, which is good," he added. "I've shown the building, in the last two weeks, about 37 times."

Like most developments in Franklinton, 400 West Rich sits among extremes: defunct businesses and start-ups, project housing and the Columbus skyline, risk and reward.

"We have an idea of what we want to do, but the first group of people who move in here has a good opportunity to shape the building," Sherman said. "The vibe of the space is wide open. The sky is the limit as far as that stuff goes."

For more info, visit 400westrich.com.