Law firm taking former Borders coffee shop space

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Barnes Thornburg lobby 225pxDon’t look for another retailer to take the space on South Meridian Street formerly occupied by the Borders coffee shop. Greensburg-based MainSource opened a full-service bank branch last October in part of the Borders space located at the high-profile intersection of Washington and Meridian streets. But the south end of the building has remained vacant. Building owner Barnes & Thornburg LLP entertained several proposals from various restaurants interested in the 12,000-square-foot space—none of which were “very high-end”—before choosing to renovate it for the firm’s use, the firm’s executive director, Kenneth V. Kobe, said. “Nothing made sense,” he said of the offers. “We wanted someone with some staying power, so we started thinking about it for our own interests.” Work has begun to move the firm’s reception area from the fifth floor to the ground level. Conference space will be available on the first and second floors of the reception area, enabling the firm to free up space on the fifth floor for additional office use. The firm plans to renovate the ground-level space by incorporating certain aspects of the 16-story building’s rich history. It was built in 1908 and served for decades as the headquarters of the former Merchants National Bank. The teller cages, for example, remain intact and highly visible. Kobe hopes the renovation will be finished by November. He declined to divulge the firm’s investment in the project, only to say that it’s “significant.” The architect on the project is Schmidt Associates.

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