adaptive reuse

How The Nation's Old Armories Are Being Repurposed And Redeveloped


They tend to be imposing structures. Built to contain ammunition, troops and sometimes even cavalry horses and equipment, military armories were made for a time when war could be just around the corner.

But times have changed; the military’s mission is not what it was, and units are smaller.

So when the armed forces move to more cost-effective spaces, what happens to the old armories?

The answer is simple: repurpose the buildings into something else.

An armory might end up as an office complex, a farmers’ market, or even shops, restaurants and condos; all it takes is funding and some imaginative people with a plan.

An old armory that can pay for itself


When Peterborough, N.H. acquired the old Air National Guard armory in town, it didn’t anticipate the Guard taking, as a town official put it, “everything but the kitchen sink. And the kitchen sink wasn't even usable because it wasn't up to code."

Once fixed, the mandate came down: no new taxes for operating costs. So the town’s recreation director got creative; the drill hall is rented out for farmers’ and flea markets, the Recreation Department holds exercise classes there, and the town food pantry operates from there as well. The Cornucopia Project, which teaches young people about organic gardening, has space behind the armory and gives away the harvest through the food bank. Finally, after a fundraising campaign that raised $162,000, the town installed a commercial kitchen.

"We've lost a lot of opportunities here to generate income because we haven't had a commercial kitchen. Now we can lease out this facility and be sure that it's self-sustaining,"

-Select Board Chairman Barbara Miller

From bullets to books: the Armory at Sage


The armory in Albany, NY sat vacant—until a local college saw it and picked it up for the bargain price of $675,000. For a site that included 68,000 square feet of space on a three-acre site, it was a steal for Sage College.

Starting in 2012, the college renovated disused space into 21,000 square feet of seminar rooms, classrooms, a conference room, student lounge, and faculty offices. Phase 2 will be more classrooms and faculty offices, while Phase 3 will be the big project: turning the three-story-high “drill shed” into a multipurpose area that both the college and community can use.

“For nearly 90 years, the National Guard used this building to serve the Capital Region and our country. We are proud The Armory at Sage will continue that tradition, preparing our students to serve their community.”

-Sage College President Susan Scrimshaw

Keeping the bones, but revamping the interior: why the Culver Road Armory is a success

culver armory redevelopment

When the Culver Road Armory in Rochester, NY was decommissioned in 2012, buyers had a plan to make it relevant again: turn it into a mixed-use development with offices, shops and restaurants. To help pay for it, developers asked for and got a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency, a $2 million loan from city nonprofit agency Rochester Economic Development Corp, and $450,000 in pre-development money from the city as well. The total cost: about $14 million.

The new Culver City Armory has been a success, Chris Stevens, the head of the local neighborhood association, told the local paper:

“It has become just a vibrant property, full of life. The architecture is beautiful.”

The facility has done so well that additional office space has been added behind the building, and a six-story, 10-condominium building is also in the works.

Repurposing an armory takes time, lots of money and dedication. But as Angela Miller, who is part of a group trying to turn the West Chester, Pa., armory into a theater said, “It’s such a unique opportunity to take this building and really recreate that community space.”

The Vitamin Vault - Walgreens in Historic Bank


This is a Walgreens store located inside a historic bank building in Chicago. It has been a very talked about redevelopment project including Huffington Post and Forbes. I came across this photo on Instagram: walgreens-former-bank
from Instagram
via jorgemus
The Vitamin Vault #chicago #architecture #bank #walgreens #farmacy #vitamins #vault #door #metal #health #shopping #design

Here is an exterior shot before the signs went up:


Adaptive Reuse - School, Church & Starbucks

Great example of adaptive reuse project with corporate tenants:

Old School O7 in Phoenix, AZ

Old School O7 1 Vital Stats Opened: 2013

Owned: Wetta Ventures

Size: +/- 9,000 SF

Team: PK Associates, RSP, Chasse Building Team, MSA Engineers, TwinEngine Design, Airpark Signs & Graphics

Old School O7 ("O" for Osborn Road; "7" for 7th Street) is an adaptive reuse and new construction project in Midtown Phoenix. The project consists of a 1,700-square foot freestanding drive thru building that is leased to Starbucks. The existing 4,075-square foot church, built in 1948, will be re-purposed as a new restaurant for Z'Tejas new concept, Taco Guild. The remaining, 3,518 square feet housed in the 1955 school building will serve as new shop space for general retail uses. The project represents a one of kind redevelopment project with a 100+ year history - a combination of new construction and adaptive reuse that will spur further economic growth in the neighborhood.

What people are saying: ‘This is a great example of responsible development, as it retains a piece of Phoenix history while meeting modern needs’ -Tom Simplot, Phoenix City Councilman

source via Old School O7 –.

Old School O7 2

Former Bank Building #adaptivereuse as AT&T retail #cre

from Instagram
via realtmo
Former Bank Building #adaptivereuse as AT&T retail #cre

Historic Bank Property to become Brewpub

Historic Bank Reuse

Always looking for examples of historic reuse as well as certain property type reuse (like banks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc). Saw this on facebook tonight. Seems like a steal @ $26 psf despite the redevelopment cost.

via Frank Thomas Big Hurt brewpub on deck in Berwyn - News - Crains Chicago Business:

The Berwyn City Council last week approved a redevelopment ordinance to convert the 6,500-square-foot local landmark to the flagship brew house. The 88-year-old limestone building will be sold for $200,000

Looks like the City was eager to put a deal together.  This comes via the loopnet listing:

For the right end user, the City will use the following incentives:

- Land write-down to $500,000 for 50,000 square feet of land + historic bank building - A 100% write down of $500,000 in previous investment - Expedited Permitting - Class L Property Tax Exemption - Historic Income Tax Credits

This iconic structure is currently owned by the City of Berwyn. The City is looking to bring a unique concept to the location that residents will be proud of. The City is willing to be very aggressive with the sale price and will consider lease terms as well.

The building was structurally restored in 2010 and is extremely spacious. Nearly 6,000 SF of open space on the ground floor and an additional 1,600 SF split between two mezzanine areas.

Rather than speculative developers or investors, the offering price is designed to bring a unique end user into the City.

Located in the heart of Berwyn's bustling Cermak Road, the Berwyn National Bank building sits at the crossroads of Cermak Road (33,900 ADT) and Oak Park Ave (11,400 ADT).

Zoned C-2 (General Commercial) with Retail Overlay.

Shared parking with access to the municipal parking lot across the street.

Please send us any more examples of Bank Reuse or other historic property reuse. I am happy to post any of your projects.


Historic Bank Reuse