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LEED-Gold Project Converts Hardware Warehouse to Apartments

A historic hardware warehouse in Louisiana has been converted to affordable housing, earning LEED-Gold certification.

The Ogilvie Hardware Company Building in Shreveport, Louisiana, was constructed in 1926 adjacent to a railroad spur for a wholesale hardware business. It is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its local significance as part of Shreveport’s importance in regional commerce as a railroad hub in the late- nineteenth and early- twentieth century. The historic warehouse, which is distinguished by its horizontal bands of steel windows, is constructed of reinforced concrete and hollow tile with brick veneer and consists of four stories plus a basement. The warehouse remained in use until 1999 after which it sat vacant for over ten years. 

Interior of one apartment after the project was completed.

Interior of one apartment after the project was completed.

The building’s location, somewhat away from the city center and isolated by several elevated expressways, limited its appeal to developers for many years. It was finally purchased and in late 2011 rehabilitation work began to convert the building into affordable housing units. The ninety, one- and two-bedroom apartments that were fitted into the building carefully incorporated the industrial features that characterized the interior, such as the cast concrete columns and their unusual capitals with their alternating vertical and horizontal patterns left by the wood mold. The original steel windows were repaired and made more energy efficient with a new window system added on the interior behind the historic windows to meet LEED energy requirements. On the exterior the loading docks were retained to serve as balconies for some of the first-floor apartments. 

Top: Exterior: Front after rehabilitation. Bottom: Interior of refurbished historic windows with added window system. Note proximity of elevated expressways.

Top: Exterior: Front after rehabilitation. Bottom: Interior of refurbished historic windows with added window system. Note proximity of elevated expressways.

To achieve the residential density required by the Low-Income Housing Credit program it was necessary to use the basement for apartments. With a minimal amount of excavation and subtle regrading of the ground it was possible to enhance the basement apartments with full-height windows and doors and small patios that are not visible from the primary elevation and do not alter the historic industrial character of the building. In addition to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax credit, this $ 16 million rehabilitation project utilized the Louisiana State Commercial Rehabilitation Tax Credit as well as the Federal Low-Income Housing Credit. The completed project also successfully achieved LEED Gold certification.

This article was originally pubished on nps.gov

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