Vacant since 2004, these heavily vandalized buildings had become a local “ghost town” full of transients and ripe with crime. The property was auctioned to new owners recently and developers AREA Real Estate brought in local design firms Lake|Flato Architects and OCO Architects to renovate the buildings into apartments, retail, and office spaces. This creative design team reimagined the neglected property and came up with the simple solution of re-skinning the existing superstructure and connecting the site’s Broadway Street façade with retail and office use.
The project was divided into two phases. The 252,500-square-foot first phase reshaped the largest portion of the project. This block included the renovation of 300 existing apartments spread out among five courtyards. New pedestrian bridges connect the outdoor circulation spaces between the many apartment wings. The design effort also made the floor plans of the original apartments more efficient and sustainable. The renovation made small adjustments to the windows in order to let more natural daylight into each apartment. The new spaces within the project are wonderful adaptations of an existing superstructure. They retain industrial qualities, as if to expose the old bones of the vacant building and say that something great came from them. The first phase also finished roofing a five-story parking garage that had already been constructed.