The Big Basket, formerly headquarters of the Longaberger Company which makes, no surprise here, baskets! The seven-story, 180,000 square foot building was unoccupied for about 2 years. The Longaberger Company has moved their headquarters to Frazeysburg Ohio, the same location as their manufacturing plant.
Historic Newark Basket LLC purchased it in December 2017. The price was $1.2 million, which was said to be a fraction of its appraised value. They plan to restore the building and repurpose it for new tenants. Possibilities include offices, a hotel, or a mixture of uses. Sandvick Architects of Cleveland is leading the restoration effort and has worked on unique projects before.
The restoration effort plans to keep the handles as well as the basket weave facade. The weave was created with EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) which can mimic nearly any architectural style or finish and can be affixed to the exterior of a building or be a standalone exterior.
The Big Basket originally opened in 1997. The total cost was $32 million according to Realtor.com. It was the vision of founder Dave Longaberger to have the building look like one of his products. Initially, the architects were not grasping the concept and after declining the third design, Longaberger picked up one of his baskets, put it on the table and instructed them to make the building look just like that! Which they did, complete with two 75-ton handles, and two 725-pound gold leaf tags on the sides. Despite the unique exterior, inside it has the appearance of a high-end office building. There is a 30,000 square foot atrium and even a 142-seat auditorium.
Finding the new buyer seems to have been difficult so locals and Longaberger fans are pleased that the building will be restored and preserved.