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6 Noteworthy Adaptive Reuse Projects From Around The Country


Many of America's largest cities are filled with outdated and historic buildings that, when redeveloped with a modern edge, can serve as adaptive reuse office space, among other things. These particular projects breathe new life into dated or vacant buildings, bringing fresh product to market at a quicker pace and giving developers a competitive advantage.

From New York City to Los Angeles, here are some of the most notable adaptive reuse projects within the U.S., according to data aggregated from CommercialCafé and Yardi Matrix.

1. Industry City

Industry City at Bush Terminal

Year Built: 1895

Location: Brooklyn

Total SF: 7M

Once the largest multi-tenant industrial property in the U.S., Bush Terminal has had a long history. Originally the building's primary use was focused on warehousing and shipping, where wartime goods in both World Wars were produced, as were baseball cards in the 1950s and 1960s. More recently, artists, data centers, garment manufacturers and warehouses have taken up residence. Renamed Industry City in the 1980s, in 2011 developers poured $1B into redeveloping the space and in August 2013 Jamestown Properties, Belvedere Capital, Angelo Gordon and Cammeby's International bought the 16-building complex. While the project is far from complete, more than 850K SF at the site is already leased, including a rooftop training center for the Brooklyn Nets.

2. Starbucks Center

Starbucks Center

Year Built: 1912

Location: Seattle

Total SF: 1.8M

Originally built in 1912 near the Union Pacific Railroad and home to Sears and Roebuck & Co., this iconic property is now known as Starbucks Center. The property was redeveloped in 1992 by Seattle developer Nitze-Stagen and Starbucks made it its headquarters a year later. It is the largest multi-tenant building in Seattle and, in addition to office space, offers 1M SF of industrial and 100K SF of retail space. A Starbucks spokesman said the building will host one of the country's first stand-alone Reserve stores, Starbuck's high-end café concept. Starbucks Center is the oldest and largest building in the U.S. to earn LEED Gold certification.

3. Montgomery Ward Building

Montgomery Ward Building

Year Built: 1908

Location: Chicago

Total SF: 1.4M

Formerly known as the headquarters of Montgomery Ward, one of the longest functioning mail order and department store firms in the country, 600 West was redeveloped in 2001 following Montgomery's bankruptcy and liquidation. The 1.4M SF building offers eight floors of Class-A office space. The building is also home to Groupon's headquarters, which the firm expanded to 450K SF in 2015, along with other tenants including Wrigley and Dyson. The building was one of Chicago's first adaptive reuse projects outside of downtown.

4. Playa Vista, The Reserve

The Reserve, Playa Vista

Year Built: 1971

Location: Los Angeles

Total SF: 400K

Originally built as an electronics manufacturing plant and later used as a U.S. postal service distribution center, Shorenstein and Worthe REG bought the property for $46.5M after Wells Fargo foreclosed in 2011. Over the next few years the partnership invested $30M into redeveloping the property into office space, an investment that paid off big when they sold the building to Invesco for $316M in 2015. Today tenants include TMZ, Microsoft and Verizon.

5. Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 77

Building 77 at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Year Built: 1942

Location: Brooklyn

Total SF: 1M

Built as a windowless storage facility in the run-up to World War II, Building 77's $185M renovation is finally nearing completion. The 17-story building is owned by the City of New York and managed by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. When it comes online the building will offer mostly office space, along with co-working spaces, private event space and a huge food hall on the ground level. Rent for office penthouses will cost around $40/SF, but lower floors will be cheaper. Many eateries have already signed on to ground-floor leases and in January luxury women's apparel company Lafayette 148 New York signed a 15-year lease for 68K SF in the building.

6. Penn Field

Penn Field

Year Built: 1918

Location: Austin

Total SF: 230K

Penn Field was built as a U.S. Army air base and later used as a manufacturing plant for Woodward Truck Body Co. A group of investors bought the 16-acre site in 2000 and developed it into a mixed retail, office and warehouse complex. Antenora Architects spent $13M developing the project and blended original structures with new, modern design elements. The mixed campus is home to a variety of tenants, including Gibson Guitar and Sweet Leaf Tea.