Adaptive Reuse of a Historic Structure
Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse
Reimagining a historic, unreinforced masonry building in downtown Tacoma to ready it for future tenants.
Currently in Feasibility & Concept Design, this project proposes to completely rehabilitate the core & shell structure of a historic building, preparing it for a new life as an adaptive-reuse, mixed-use development serving Tacoma’s downtown core.
The developer’s vision for the project is to provide a vibrant food and retail marketplace that will contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood, extending pedestrian activity on Commerce Street, and engaging with restaurants and retail spaces along Pacific Avenue.
The upper floor will provide high-quality residential or office spaces, and the whole building will undergo a seismic retrofit, and aging systems will be brought up to date.
Our involvement in this project spotlights the Board & Vellum integrated design approach. We view the project through a holistic lens, seeking to deeply understand the building, its community, and those who will engage with it. From the beginning, the building design has been informed by our multi-disciplinary design team — engineers, historic consultants, the developer, general contractor, and the leasing agents.
Leveraging opportunities for strategic overlap between each discipline’s expertise, we identify cross-disciplinary approaches to efficiently ready the building for a diverse mix of future tenants, and design the most impactful and resonant spaces to engage the building’s users and connect to the surrounding area.
As the project has evolved, our scope has grown to include and oversee many aspects of the project, including the design and planning of all interior shared spaces, the main lobby, stairs, elevators and bathrooms, and residential unit planning and design. We are also overseeing restoration and reconstruction planning and design, coordination of seismic retrofit work, multi-agency coordination, and permitting processes.
We are leading the efforts in navigating complex public utilities and agency coordination, overseeing the City of Tacoma Landmarks Review process, and working to achieve Federal Historic Preservation tax credits for all work done on the building.
As we move forward with design concepts for the project, we are drawing inspiration from the historic building’s rugged and industrial character and its valued place in the community.
Respecting where it has been and the role it has played in the city’s history, we are designing for where it goes next — providing opportunities for greater access to daylight, and integrating natural elements to enhance user appreciation and well-being.
The street-level experience is also a high priority, with the ability to develop strong connections to the city. The end goal is to seamlessly integrate architecture, interiors, and landscape into an experience that builds upon the historical integrity of the building, while preparing it for many years of continued use.
We fully anticipate that the building and program will continue to evolve. Plus, there is opportunity for a future rooftop addition and connections to adjacent structures. Each design decision is intended to provide future flexibility for the building and allow it to continue to integrate with its surroundings in unique and adaptable ways as it enters its next chapter.
Notes & Credits
This project is in design. All renderings and sketches by the B&V Team.
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Our design services encompass architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture, with teams specializing in projects across the spectrum, from single-family homes to multifamily and mixed-use buildings, and from boutique commercial spaces to civic spaces, like parks. We love designing the integrated fabric of structures, spaces, and places that create vibrant neighborhoods.
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