Restoration From The Ashes of the Great Recession

Young, Local Company Chosen to Restore World Heritage Building

The Centennial Preservation Group, just a three and a half year old company, headquartered in Columbus, is restoring a UNESCO World Heritage Building. Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda at the University of Virginia is the focal point of Jefferson's Academical Village. In 1973 the American Institute of Architects named the entire Village the most significant achievement of American architecture in the past two hundred years. In 1987 the University Grounds were named a World Heritage Site on UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage list, which includes the Taj Mahal, Versailles, and the Great Wall of China. Centennial founder Matt Wolf notes, In seventeen years in the industry, I have never been involved with a more important building, and certainly not one designed by a more significant person.

Wolf founded Centennial Preservation in August of 2009. Just fifteen months prior, in May of 2008, he was ready for a change and left his position as Vice President of a local restoration firm to learn the commercial concrete industry. The great recession quickly ensued and Matt's career change was short lived when he was laid off in July of 2009. On August 27, his wife's birthday, Matt and his wife agreed to found the company which would become Centennial. It was a dream come true for Matt, though the circumstances were not "dreamlike."

Working out of his garage, with a few hand tools, a truck, and a borrowed ladder, Matt embarked on making world class historic preservation services accessible to local owners of historic homes and buildings. During the day he passed out fliers, performed evaluations, repaired walls and chimneys and pursued investors he never caught. At night he prepared proposals, put together marketing materials, tried to understand and implement the legal requirements of starting a business, and sent out bills. In the spring, Centennial became more than just Matt when he hired his first employee, and then a second. In the fall, Centennial moved out of the garage.

Today, Centennial, with a staff of 12, employs some of the finest historic restoration craftspeople in the state. Centennial's commitment to craftsmanship and quality has been rewarded with the opportunity to care for multiple National Register of Historic Places buildings, and a National Historic Site, The William Howard Taft Home in Cincinnati, OH. Nothing however compares to the Rotunda. Wolf says, Our team is very proud to be trusted with the care of this building and we look forward to continuing to grow, making this level of craftsmanship and quality widely available to the owners of historic homes and buildings.

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