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The Basics of Adaptive Reuse

If you’re looking for a new space for your offices, constructing a new building isn’t always necessary. Not only are there often plenty of existing spaces available to lease or buy, there may be buildings that have been vacant for a while, just waiting for someone to come along and do something new with them — maybe even totally reinvent them through adaptive reuse. 

What is Adaptive Reuse?

Just because a building is no longer used for its original purpose, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be used for anything else. Adaptive reuse is the practice of taking an existing building and renovating it for a new purpose. For instance, a long-closed train station or factory might be transformed into new offices or spaces for events. There are so many very creative ways adaptive reuse can be used to create unique new spaces that enhance the surrounding community.

Our Tremont Madison Office Conversion project is a great example of adaptive reuse. For this project, we took a 60,000 square foot office building that was under-occupied and in need of some updates and transformed it into a modern 57-unit apartment where people could live near lots of businesses, shopping, and restaurants. 

Benefits of Adaptive Reuse

One of the biggest benefits of adaptive reuse is that the building costs are lower than constructing a new building since there are fewer materials to buy and you don’t need to factor in costs like demolition. Work may also take less time to complete since it often takes less time to refurbish an existing building than to build a whole new one. And in some cases, adaptive reuse projects may be eligible for tax benefits if the building being rehabilitated is a historic building. 

Since adaptive reuse projects involve fewer new materials and keeps materials that are still usable from ending up in landfills, they’re a particularly good option to consider for businesses and organizations who are interested in minimizing their environmental footprint.

Adaptive reuse projects also tend to be popular with other people in the community. People generally want to see their neighborhoods thriving and doing well, but they also often don’t want the distinctive character of the area erased by demolishing older buildings. Adaptive reuse helps bring new life to an area while preserving its character.

Original features of a building can often be preserved and incorporated into the new space, allowing you to have some truly unique design touches. For example, with our 42 Watson project, we were able to preserve things like original wood carriage doors and freight elevator equipment that were found in the 1923 building. 

Is Adaptive Reuse Right for You?

Even though adaptive reuse can be an excellent solution, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before you get started. First of all, you’ll need to check with the local zoning board to make sure you will be able to use a location for your needs. You’ll also need to arrange for a professional evaluation of the building to make sure it’s a good candidate to renovate for a new purpose. Not all buildings are and even if it is a good candidate, there may be hidden problems that could lead to surprise costs and delays later on if they aren’t identified early in the process. 

You’ll also want to work with a company experienced in adaptive reuse projects. Premier Construction & Design has worked on several adaptive reuse projects in the Metro Detroit area and would love to help you reinvent a space. Contact us today to get started.