One recurring theme in recent years at conferences sponsored by the American Institute of Architects is the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, a smart approach to construction both for its green elements and the preservation of history. Warren has worked on a number of these preservation projects in Salt Lake City. The first such project, The Westgate Lofts, was completed a few years ago, and involved converting an old warehouse building to mixed-use housing and retail spaces.
During the early phases of the project, we attended the national AIA convention in Los Angeles. Warren and I participated in a tour of warehouse spaces that had been converted to housing and retail use. (Can I just say how much I love the architectural tours at the AIA conventions? It’s inspiring to see thoughtful architectural solutions in urban neighborhoods.) About that same time, we also took a trip to Portland and explored the Pearl District, a beautifully executed urban renewal project in the heart of that city. It’s encouraging to see the revitalization of downtown areas in our major cities and the rediscovery of the original fabric of our earliest neighborhoods.
What’s the story with this building? At the turn of the 20th century, businessman Malcom A. Keyser built the Fireproof Store Company in downtown Salt Lake City. Over several decades, the building housed a variety of businesses, including a recording studio and storage units. Located near the Gateway Shopping District in Salt Lake, the 140,341 square-foot condominium project now houses 55 residential units and two commercial spaces, while retaining the original historic building. The lofts include five existing floors with the addition of a sixth floor and mezzanine with steel and timber framing.
I think it turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself.