Update- Grain Elevator Reuse in Sacramento
Grain elevator reuse is neither easy nor cheap. Take the recently-opened Globe Mills complex in Sacramento for instance. Last year we wrote up the Sacramento project as an example of what other cities are doing to preserve their industrial heritage. The project combines 114 senior housing units in a five-story building built on the mill property, 31 lofts in the historic mill buildings, and 5,000 sq.ft. of retail space. The silos have been incorporated as a signature element of the design.
The 93-year old Globe Mills complex is located on the edge of downtownSacramento in a predominantly industrial neighborhood. Abandoned since 1970, the property was nearly demolished as decay, vandalism and fires left the complex in shambles. Project architect Micheal F. Malinowski stumbled upon the Buffalo Rising story and recently sent along an update:
The Globe Mills project was a public/private partnership. I don’t think any community could afford to tackle abandoned industrial properties with all the costs and challenges they entail without a team effort. Neither the public sector alone, nor the private sector alone, can do such projects. When both work together, though, just about anything is possible, and projects like this can happen just about anywhere if the team has knowledgeable and experienced members on both sides of the table.
The ideal foundation of a public-private partnership is a clear understanding of partner objectives. By way of example, public objectives for the Globe site included revitalization of a blighted property, providing a jump-start to the economic transition of an industrial part of the city near the downtown to uses more appropriate given the central location, and spurring additional development in the neighborhood. It was also a public goal to create attractive, safe and comfortable housing for a mix of people from different age and economic backgrounds.
Residents add life to the streets, patronize surrounding nascent businesses oriented toward residents, and create a safer and more stable environment that encourages other projects to take hold.
The private sector objectives include creation of a project that would be financially viable, would be attractive and manageable, and that would make a positive contribution to the community in saving important historic resources. One unique characteristic of the Sacramento team’s developer is that they commit to long-term ownership and management of their properties.
The prime source of financing was federal affordable housing tax credits, which in every state of the union are used by the private sector, working closely with the public sector, to bring tax dollars to their local communities from Washington DC.
Other sources of funding included a brownfield grant from HUD, local tax increment and housing funds, and private equity including bank loans. On some similar projects I have worked on, such as the adaptive reuse of an abandoned hotel in downtown Stockton, historic tax credits have also played a role.
The project celebrated its grand opening October 1, and is already 75 percent occupied. The Globe Mills embraces many of the most desirable trends in urban development:
•Transit Oriented Development – located directly on a major light rail line •Energy Efficiency – the project exceeds energy conservation standards by at least 20 percent •Smart Growth – infill development with a density of over 150 units per acre •Historic Adaptive Reuse – conversion of historic silos and milling buildings into loft housing •Mixed Use – including affordable senior housing, market rate hip lofts, and commercial •Brownfield – cleaning up a formerly abandoned industrial site for a new life •Urban Infill Redevelopment – a major boost and catalyst to the neighborhood •Public/Private Partnership – bringing together the Redevelopment Agency, the State Tax Credit Allocation Committee and Federal Tax Credits, grants, loans, private equity, and private development resources in a leveraged public and private team effort.
Michael F. Malinowski AIA is President of Applied Architecture Inc., 916.456.2656
Photos courtesy of Applied Architecture.