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Thread: Looking for examples: conversion of industrial area to residential

  1. #1
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    Looking for examples: conversion of industrial area to residential

    In the city where I work we have a relatively small industrial area (maybe 80 acres) in close proximity to some desirable residential neighborhoods. In the 90s, the City spent a lot of $$ and effort cleaning up some of the properties there in an attempt to attract new industry there. Due to several factors, this has essentially failed and the powers that be are now looking to convert this to a residential area. The City owns very little of the land and is not really looking to go the urban renewal route. Also, there are very few buildings suitable for residential reuse or otherwise desirable to maintain. Many of the lots are very contaminated. There is abundant private interest in residential development. Does anyone have some examples of successful transformations of areas like this (industrial, contaminated, relatively small, City does not control much of the land) into residential/mixed-use neighborhoods? What tools and strategies were used?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    You might take a look at Portland, OR's Pearl District.
    http://www.shopthepearl.com/history.htm

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by swalk3r
    Does anyone have some examples of successful transformations of areas like this (industrial, contaminated, relatively small, City does not control much of the land) into residential/mixed-use neighborhoods? What tools and strategies were used?
    I really liked the Yaletown area of Vancouver, BC. It is a residential/entertainment district build of former warehouses and factories. The old loading docks are now cafe seating.

    You should also check out Rising Sun mills in Providence, RI.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    conversion

    I believe that some of the old DuPonte factories in Wilmington, Delaware were converted into condos. Also Akron converted the old Quaker Oats factory, grain silos included, into a mini mall and hotel (Quaker Square).
    Last edited by Tom R; 05 May 2005 at 3:08 PM. Reason: more stuff
    WALSTIB

  5. #5
         
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    Washington Avenue in St. Louis, MO is a pretty good example of industrial warehouses being converted to lofts with retail/commercial on the street level.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    How about a former pickle factory turned condos in the small rural town Eaton Rapids Michigan.
    I can get you pictures and/or the whole story if you'd like.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian PlanBoston's avatar
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    I assume you are referring to the tract behind the Assembly Square Mall. Federal Realty (a large REIT) recently purchased the mall and is interested in redeveloping the adjacent land as well. They were involved in a mixed use project called Santana Row, and ideally would do something similar in Somerville. http://www.santanarow.com

    A few years ago, a master plan for the area was done by Goody Clancy. This may give you an idea of what could happen:
    http://www.ci.somerville.ma.us/Secti...devel&page=159

    The city has recently approved a mixed use zoning overlay for the site, so the regulatory framework is already in place.

    The biggest factor in creating a successful mixed use project on the site is the proposed Orange Line stop. If a stop is built, it would increase values for the office and retail uses, as well as the residential component.

    We have the potential for a ground-breaking mixed use development. It would truly be a shame if this site is built up with standard strip development.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlanBoston
    I assume you are referring to the tract behind the Assembly Square Mall.
    I assumed that (s)he was talking about the Inner Belt Industrial Park area.

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The Pearl District is a good example to use for a central city, but perhaps the OP is talking about a suburban area. Multi-story industrial buildings with small footprints can easilt be consverted to residential uses. It's much harder with a single story building with a footprint in the hundreds and thousands of square feet.

    I'm facing a similar issue with a comprehensive plan I'm working on for a suburban town. About 40% of the land in the town zoned for heavy industry in the 1960s, but the recession killed off many industrial operations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, in much of the town, there's a patchwork quilt of industrial uses, much on prime lakefront land, much underused. There is no demand to fill the gaps of vacant land with new industrial uses; there's so much that a supply would last for hundreds of years. Designate the gaps for residential use while leaving developed industrial areas grey, and we'll end up wih a checkerboard pattern that would be a hard sell for residential uses. Lemme' show you an example.



    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    The Pearl District is a good example to use for a central city, but perhaps the OP is talking about a suburban area.
    Somerville, MA is about as urban as you can get in the U.S.

  11. #11
    Member japrovo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis
    You might take a look at Portland, OR's Pearl District.
    http://www.shopthepearl.com/history.htm
    The Pearl relied pretty heavily on urban renewal (TIF) funding to get up and running. I think that approach was screened out in the original question?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    In New York: SoHo, TriBeCa.
    In Boston: Leather District, Bulfinch Triangle (ongoing).
    In San Francisco: South of Market (ongoing)
    In Charlotte: South End.
    Chicago is full of examples.
    Last edited by ablarc; 05 May 2005 at 8:41 PM.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian geobandito's avatar
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    In Denver, they're planning to redevelop the former Gates Rubber factory into a TOD.(www.cherokeedenver.com)

    They ran into more contamination problems than expected, but they're moving forward. They say it's safe....

  14. #14
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    Brew City

    Check into the Third Ward in Milwaukee, WI. This district has gone from manufacturing to mized use. Some of the lighter, less dirty industrial has stayed in the ward but renovations have focused on buildings that have combined residential with first floor retail. The first renovation in the ward converted an industrial building into a residential building. Not only have property values skyrocketed, but the retail in the area is higher-end and generates decent sales tax revenue as well. The festival grounds at the far east side of the ward help make it quite a money-generator for the city.

    Also in Milwaukee, look into the Beerline B project. There were a number of tanneries in that area with some significant contamination that have been replaced with residential. This area doesn't have any mixed-use buildings but there are a few commercial buildings scattered among the residential to provide a slight mix. This area is home to a local brewery (Lakefront Brewery) and is becomming quite nice. Some of the first changes made to this area included removing the North Avenue Dam about one-half mile upstream from the start of the housing.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by swalk3r
    In the city where I work we have a relatively small industrial area (maybe 80 acres) in close proximity to some desirable residential neighborhoods. In the 90s, the City spent a lot of $$ and effort cleaning up some of the properties there in an attempt to attract new industry there. Due to several factors, this has essentially failed and the powers that be are now looking to convert this to a residential area. The City owns very little of the land and is not really looking to go the urban renewal route. Also, there are very few buildings suitable for residential reuse or otherwise desirable to maintain. Many of the lots are very contaminated. There is abundant private interest in residential development. Does anyone have some examples of successful transformations of areas like this (industrial, contaminated, relatively small, City does not control much of the land) into residential/mixed-use neighborhoods? What tools and strategies were used?
    EPA Brownfields funding (loans/grants) are a possibility. Contact your state's Brownfields program which will probably be in your Dept. of Environmental Quality. Be forewarned that different levels of site cleanup are required based upon the planned re-use of the site. Turning an industrial site into residential has higher cleanup requirements than every other form of reuse. Public/private partnerships are strongly encouraged. Have you identified potential investors to interested in developing the area? Also, it is helpful to work with a lending institution which is familiar with this type of project. All lending institutions will require a Certification from the DEQ/EPA certifying the level of cleanup. There are many environmental consultants who specialize in this area.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian dbarch's avatar
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    Atlantic Station--Atlanta

    Atlantic Station in Atlanta was the home of the Atlantic Steel mill for maybe 90 years. It was a 138 acre brownfield site that was cleaned up with (I think) a combination of private and federal funds, and is now being developed by a private developer.
    The website is http://www.atlanticstation.com. They have contact info for questions.
    I thought Larry Felton Johnson had posted some pics of the development here, but I can't seem to find them.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian brian_w's avatar
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    Although most of the cleanup and planning started before I arrived here, our HarborPark area is a prime example. Used to be a factory for Chrysler/AMC and is now home to over 300 residential units, parkland, marina and upcoming commercial / mixed use development.

    website is here: http://my.execpc.com/~coken2/index.html
    You only need two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There are plenty of examples of conversions in both large and small towns. I did one and began another in Wisconsin, and during my time in Boulder, I raised the concern about too much conversion. In a landlocked community, housing pressures often make these types of conversions economically appealing. Cities like New York, Portland, and Chicago have perceived that as a threat. Maintaining an employment base is a critical issue for a city, and conversions (because of market demand or a soft industrial market, for instance) can permanantly remove available space from the city's inventory. This has to be a consideration in every conversion scenario.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally posted by geobandito

    They ran into more contamination problems than expected, but they're moving forward. They say it's safe....
    Of course, the future homeowners' disclosures recommend not growing a garden (the actual case in Novato, CA at the former Air Force Base there).

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