You may have noticed the trucks and the workmen at Heritage Square over the past few months. Yes it is true. After years of sitting almost completely abandoned, new owners are preparing to start renovations this spring.
The Design Problem
To most people, the obvious solution would be to demolish everything and start over. There is obvious damage and decay on the front of the building, and the back looks even worse. But the back starts looking pretty good once you go inside! There are holes in the roof where the air conditioning units were removed. The damage and mold is evident to the eye; the presence of asbestos is not. It is no wonder parts of the mall were condemned.
But the thing is, it makes sense for the new owners to renovate the mall only if they can keep the buildings and renovate them. It would cost so much more to demolish everything and start from scratch that we need to find a way to work with the existing in order to make it viable.
Buildings in a Floodway
However, it is not that easy. Here is the thing…the stores that run parallel to the Sawmill Branch are located within the Floodway. Back in the 70’s we allowed buildings to be built in low lying areas, and when they experienced flooding the rules tightened up and we now don’t allow new buildings to be constructed within the Floodway. At Heritage Square, we are allowed to keep the existing building that runs parallel to Sawmill Branch, even though it is in the Floodway, but we are only allowed to spend 50% of the value of that building to renovate it.
I am sure you can figure out the basic problem. What can we do to bring those buildings up to modern standards, repair all of the damage, remove all the mold and asbestos, and make them look good?
First Step – Removing the Asbestos
Our first step was to repair the roof enough to prevent injury, and then remove the asbestos. Those trucks you saw were the workmen removing all of the asbestos, and by the end of the year, all of the buildings were clear.
Our design team has been working together over the past month to consider each requirement and evaluate the best way to achieve each goal. It is a little like walking blindfolded on a tightrope, but we are making great progress. Stay tuned!
Learn more about this project in our Portfolio: Heritage Square Retail Transformation