Development Beat: North West Wednesday

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Build

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The rehearsal studios are gone, but the old trophy shelving racks are still there, at least for now.

707 North West Street is a unique space; an old warehouse originally built in 1945 that was once home to a trophy parts distributor but found more recent use as a band practice space.

707 North West Street

James Borden

707 North West Street

Very recent, in fact.

“They used it right up until we took possession,” said Steve Hackney, a Superintendent with August Construction Solutions during a recent tour of the space.

The property, along with the surrounding parcels at 500 West Peace and 713 North West, was acquired in August of 2015 by the Lundy Group, as part of a bid to redevelop what an underutilized and largely industrial section of West Street.

August Construction Solutions recently finished up work on the old Lighting Inc. shop at 500 West Peace, and since May has been gutting and repairing the interiors at 707 North West.

As we mentioned last week, they also recently began working on The Cardinal next door at 713 North West.

As with 500 West Peace, the years had not been incredibly kind to 707, and years of unauthorized and non-permitted renovations had turned the warehouse into something of a maze, with a surprisingly high number of bricked-in doorways that speak to the building’s changing uses, and tenants, over the years.

The southernmost section of the building was previously home to 10 rehearsal studios, Hackney said, “They were small; I mean you could fit a set of drums, a couple guys in there, that was about it.”

The adjoining space held an additional four studios, although Hackney said one of them was located in one of the building’s many inexplicable additions.

“This might have been the alley that they backed into,” Hackney said of the small space that not too long ago had been used for band practice.

“But then they moved it up, for whatever reason,” he added.

“Really, I can’t figure it out.”

Out back, a now-empty patio was previously the site of another ill-advised addition, although this one was in such bad shape Hackney said they’d had no choice but to tear it down.

Touring the main interior space a few minutes later, Hackney points out how the old, original wooden support beams are still in place, albeit encased and supported by newer, sturdier wood.

The original support beams are still in place

James Borden

The original support beams are still in place

“Jon [Keener of the Lundy Group] loves saving stuff,” Hackney said of the beams.

“He wanted to keep more, but the structural engineer said no,” he added.

One can only imagine what awful shape that addition out back must have been in.

This old terra cotta brick is one of the buildings many unique features.

James Borden

This old terra cotta brick is one of the buildings many unique features.

With the teardown out back and the removal of most of the building’s interior fixtures and drywall, the transformation at 707 is well underway, although Hackney said they have about another month of prepping the interior before they’re ready to start turning it into a viable office space.

While a tenant for the building’s largest section has not yet been announced, August Construction Solutions will be relocating from their Blount Street offices into a spacious northwestern section of 707.

For both 500 West Peace and 707 North West, ACS has worked closely with both the Lundy Group and Maurer Architects on turning these old, eclectic structures into sleek, modern office spaces that incorporate the buildings’ historic design and materials.

It’s this adaptive reuse aspect of the work that Hackney said he especially enjoys.

“These old buildings have character; I mean, you can go in and build new any time, but you can’t always have this.”

A rendering of 707 North West Street

Maurer Architecture

A rendering of 707 North West Street