Wednesday, December 26, 2007

If This Factory Was In Dayton....

...what would be it's fate? Long term abandonment? Demolition? Aborted renovation (like the stalled Merc?)

This is one of Louisville's landmark factories. The old American Standard plumbing fixtures plant (which also included a large brass foundry, which has been mostly torn down). The enitre plant, including this loft block, was going to be demolished.

The building is quite the landmark as it sits on a street leading in to the city, and the angle of the street, and building, causes the structure to read as a large mass blocking the street, from two direcions (north and south). This is a bit evident in the pix.
When the owner requested a demolition permit preservtionists sprang to action , registering strong opposition. The result is that the ownere is going to redevelop this as student loft housing for nearby University of Louisville.

Louisville developers (perhaps with some public help) have been pretty agressive in old factory conversions and reuse. Here is an example from the nearby Russell neighborhood, where an old trolly car barn is being turned into the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

It would be pretty unsual to see "shed" buildings like this restored in Dayton.

Another example of the loft factory style in Louisville, also renovated into lofts, offices, or both
Unlike Dayton there is a growing recognition in Louisville of the signifigance of these relics of an earlier industrial era. Though they arn't historical, the relialization is there that that these structures contribute to the urban fabric and cultural landscape, to the look and feel of Louisville, and by their mass and setting become recognizable landmarks, whose loss diminishes the city.
(loft factory in Louisville's Germantown district)

This appreciation results in re-use consideration being given to old industrial structures outside of stereotypical downtown "loft districts, resulting in saves like the one at the top of this post.


Anonymous said...

The Mendelsons buildings are still around- and could be redeveloped into a hell of a loft/retail/office complex. Unfortunately, no one likes Sandy Mendelson, so they'd rather chase after "Ballpark Village" and destroy green space and tear down the Wolpert and the Requarth buildings.
So short sighted.

Jefferey said...

The Mendelsons "Delco" building came to mind when i was shooting the American Standard plant.

There is a good example of adaptive reuse of a building Mendelsons' size (actually larger) on the riverfront, the old Belknaps hardware/wholesale plant, remodelled for Humana corporate offices. Unfortunatly i don't have pix of that.

That Belknaps/Humana conversion would be a good model for Mendelsons if the economy here ever picks up and there is more demand for downtown office space.

Donald Phillips said...

The old Harrison Radiator factory on Monument Avenue has so much potential to be a world class crack house!

jafabrit said...

I love these old building and always think it a shame when they are just demolished. If only some would think outside the box and see the potential.

The Baltic flour mill on the quayside in northeast England was saved and converted to what is now an international centre for the contemporary visual arts. It draws millions of visitors to the region and is part of a major revitalization of a once derelict place.

Jefferey said...

I googled that Baltic Mill, and I think I got an idea for another thread! Thanks for that tip!