That Old Building Downtown
You know the building – the one with the storied past that has sat vacant for a number of years. The one that always makes you think “I wonder if anyone will ever move into that building. What’s in there anyway?” This hits very close to home for me, as Michaels Engineering has just finished the move into our “new” office.
Our “new” office space is actually the second floor of a former department store built in 1903 in downtown La Crosse – the Doerflinger. The 4-story building served as the area’s shopping hub for many, many years. It was the Saks Fifth Avenue of La Crosse, in all of its grandeur back in the day. When shopping malls cropped up on the edge of town near the interstate, the shopping hordes followed for convenience and novelty. Eventually the downtown department store regressed into a vacant dilapidated building. Fortunately, this trend is turning around.
Renovating an existing building is a great way to achieve several credits under LEED® NC (New Construction), LEED® CS (Core & Shell) or LEED® CI (Commercial Interiors). More importantly, it can provide a more desirable work location and atmosphere for employees, and in retail settings, customers. LEED® NC credits that can be associated with re-using an existing building in a downtown area include: Development Density & Community Connectivity, Brownfield Redevelopment, Alternative Transportation: Public Transportation Access, Building Reuse, and Materials Reuse.
Close to Everything
In addition to the wonderful space we now have, there are many other benefits gained by moving into the “new” building downtown. We are close to just about every kind of business we may need, including restaurants, grocers, hardware, fitness, salons, banks, churches, the post office, and most importantly the pub, all within a block or two of walking outside our place of business. This not only reduces automobile usage and the time spent parking, it also provides added exercise.
When renovating an old space, the features that were originally built into the space can often be retained, which may include high ceilings, large windows, and wood flooring. This can create a stunning workspace that has all the modern amenities while maintaining the charm of the building. This also reduces the amount of raw materials that would be used in new construction.
Many downtowns have potential gems in the rough, like our building. We could hardly believe nobody had leased our floor in the four years since it was purchased for renovation. Consider this real estate in your town. The benefits may amaze you.