Q: What should we do with a building no longer needed for its original purpose?
A: Find a new purpose for it.
Adaptive reuse – the restoration and/or adaptation of a building for a use different than its original purpose —has caught on in urban areas nationwide, giving new life to buildings that once housed factories, warehouses, train stations, and even corner gas stations.
One of the most popular new uses of large, obsolete structures is to reconfigure them as loft apartments. Loft districts in many American cities’ downtowns are bringing people and vitality back to formerly blighted areas.
Other common re-uses include microbreweries, restaurants, marketplaces, and offices. Some developers are getting even more creative and branching out into unexpected new uses such as public parks, climbing gyms, or even hydroponic farms.
Among those actively promoting adaptive reuse are champions of historic preservation. State and local tax incentives have also encouraged developers to restore historic structures, with the goal of building momentum for urban revitalization and economic development.