Office space for a growing startup in an old warehouse? A church in a former auto repair garage? Adaptive re-use is a terrific way to give old buildings new life, but it’s harder than you may think! New codes, estimating potential rehab costs, the risk of unseen challenges; all make the decision a complex one. There may be no easy answer, but as architects, we’re in a good position to help evaluate potential pitfalls and possibilities.
For example, we recently helped The City Church (aka TCC) weigh the pros and cons of a relocation.
TCC has a thriving congregation with four campuses in the Seattle area, as well as one in LA and one in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Alderwood congregation currently assembles in a rented space at the Lynnwood Convention Center, north of Seattle. Membership is growing and they are eager to find a permanent home. Last Spring, TCC found a building for sale in nearby Mukilteo that they thought might meet their needs. The building was designed for a light industrial use, so there were many questions that needed to be answered before they could commit to the purchase.
To help with the decision, DA looked into land use, change of occupancy and structural alterations, including the potential costs. We met with the City, brought in LZL Construction to help with estimates, and worked with Swenson Say Faget engineers to scope out the structural challenges. Several challenges emerged, notably meeting the off-street parking requirements and the need to modify the existing steel framing. Based on our feasibility study, the Church ultimately decided that the Mukilteo building was not the right fit and refocused their search. Although it didn’t lead to a project this time, looking before they leapt ultimately saved the Church a great deal of time and expense.
Evaluating a potential new space
If you are considering an adaptive re-use project and aren’t sure all the pieces fit together, just give us a call!