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Case Studies and Resources

Inquiry on Ask-the-NCN

Alan Ziter, NTC Foundation, 2/16/16
As you know the NTC Foundation was established by the City of San Diego to transform 26 abandoned yet historic Navy buildings into a new Arts District.

In advance of my arrival in 2004 there were a number of studies that were done that may be beneficial to know about for this building that is planned to be transformed in Baltimore:

· Research Models attachment – the marketing study to determine what was needed in the community;
Examples of over 25 sites across the US that involved repurposing vacant buildings for various uses.

· Building Use Analysis – June 2001 – what uses in the community could the building address

· Asbestos Survey and Lead Paint Survey – especially beneficial for older buildings

· Preliminary Cost Estimate to renovate the building – need to determine if there are requirements for paying “living wage” or “prevailing wage” if you are using government funds as that will increase construction costs by as much as 30%. Also, need to determine occupancy loads in the existing space and what the new Occupancy Loads are needed to be as it may require the installation of more exits, including stairways.

Hope this is helpful.


Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
You may want to check in with Karen DiLossi of Partners for Sacred Places, copied here, as well as Jason Friedland of Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners, two folks who have (or likely to have) case studies of the type you’re looking for.


Michelle Yawn, Winder Housing Authority, 2/16/16
We recently acquired a vacant middle school, which had been vacant for two years.


Brenda Wong, City of Edmonton, 2/16/16
Yes we are taking over a space which will be vacant in fall 2017 We are in the process of developing plans for that process.


Cheryl Spector, Spector Associates, 2/16/16
Our project, 910Arts was a transformation of blighted and vacant buildings, de-constructed to re-construct the mixed use facility we have now- 8 live-work lofts, 16 Studios, coffee shop/bistro and event venue/gallery, plus two non-profit galleries. Let me know what specific info would be helpful and I am happy to share it with you.


Mike Gilbert, The Jones Center, 2/16/16
Katie, the CFN @ St. Mary’s was abandoned and boarded up. There was a demolition contract on the desk of the CEO of the Mercy Hospital system. They gifted the building to us. It is home to 38 orgs and has an economic impact exceeding 25 million dollars.


John Powers, 2/17/16
Third Street Center, Carbondale, CO


China Brotsky, 2/17/16
The Thoreau Center was created in an abandoned Army building and, contrary to popular report, is still definitely functioning as a shared space.


Reid Henry, cSpace Projects, 2/17/16
We are repurposing a vacant 100 year sandstone school in Calgary, Canada for a multi-disciplinary arts and community hub – we purchased the vacant 3 acre site in 2012 and are mid-way through construction. The project has a few interesting features:

  • Located in a rapidly changing, inner city neighbourhood
  • Historic rehabilitation of a 42,000 s.f. listed building into non-profit office/program and artist studio space
  • LEED Gold (pushing for LEED platinum) – solar, rainwater retention, high efficiency systems
  • New build wing including a studio theatre, co-working space and social spaces
  • New public park and arts-infused gathering places
  • Two private sector developer partners building flats and seniors active living residences

I can forward the business plan on to you if you are interested in the project.


Marian A. Williams – Zan W. Holmes, Jr., Community Outreach Center
We did a vacant elementary school in Dallas, TX.


Doug Vilsack, Posner Center/Horse Barn, 2/17/16 –


Margie Zeidler, Urbanspace Property Group, 2/17/16
I would suggest Artscape Wychwood Barns here in Toronto. A project of Toronto Artscape.


Melissa Routley, Artscape
Several of Artscape’s Community Cultural Hubs are in formerly vacant or threatened properties – notably Artscape Wychwood Barns, Artscape Youngplace, Artscape Gibraltar Point and Artscape Distillery Studios. We have case studies of these properties and others in our portfolio at this link:


Dave Robinson, Fort Worden Public Development Authority, 2/18/16
Hi Katie,

We should also chime in here. The Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA) recently entered into a 50-year master lease to manage 90 acres (the Campus area) of a 432 acre State Park in rural western Washington (2 hour drive from Seattle). The Campus includes 73 historic buildings in a designated National Historic Landmark. There are 10 vacant buildings and several other buildings that are underutilized and in need of capital improvements—and ripe for housing new tenants. “Old buildings need new ideas” (Jane Jacobs).

Our mission is to manage the campus/conference center as a Lifelong Learning Center focused on arts, culture, recreational and educational uses. Within the campus there are 12 nonprofit partners—some with exclusive leases for buildings. We have over 400 beds for overnight visitors housed in a variety of overnight accommodations and 68,000 sq. feet of multi-purpose meeting rooms, two performance theaters, 500-seat dining hall, four museums, etc.

More information can be found on our website under About Fort Worden—look for plans and documents pertaining to the PDA.


Melanie Deas, Link Centre, 2/19/16
Link Centre was established in 2001 in a former church complex. I am happy to share any info you might find helpful.

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