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Reuse, redevelopment and art

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By Tom Gibson, former Holladay associate

From the time that I was a young man, I always enjoyed art and had often regretted my lack of talent in this area. Backpacking through Europe after my graduation from college, I spent hours in Europe’s great museums, including the Louvre and the Prado. Some 40 years later, those are some of my fondest memories.

Our Nashville office has been very active in the area of redeveloping older structures in a variety of asset classes. “Bring us you’re tired and your worn and we will give the building new life.” The reuse and repositioning of older properties presents a great economic opportunity and is a sustainable business practice in the real estate industry. Perhaps the greatest reward in this area comes from creative fulfillment that is derived from redeveloping properties.

The challenges are different with each asset and require innovative thinking from all members of a project team. The development team is tasked with creating an aesthetically pleasing exterior, creative and functional interiors and increasing the efficiency of the building envelope without sacrificing the aesthetics or compromising the character of the structure. All these solutions must also be best in class from a cost benefit standpoint. A few the challenges that we have been faced with in various projects would include:

  • Finding a 12 x 12, 16 foot yellow pine replacement beam.
  • Finding a creative use for old limestone foundation stones
  • How do you incorporate an historic sign into a façade
  • Reusing old school house windows we found in the basement of an asset
  • How do you go about mitigating sound in a building that is located near a railroad track to enable a tenant to locate a call center within the building?
  • How do you increase the spans in an older warehouse to make it more functional for today’s tenants? 
  • What HVAC system provides the optimum paradigm between cost and energy efficiency?
  • How to best insulate the building envelope while maintaining the inherent aesthetic attributes of the building?

Our team recently completed the redevelopment of the Griffin Technology Building, a friend commented, “I bet you made a lot of money.”

My response was, “I would have done the project for free due to the fact that I enjoyed it more than any development that I have worked on in my life.” 

As I thought about that comment, I realized that these types of projects are effectively my canvas and an art form. When you have passion for your job, the end product will provide a tremendous level of fulfillment.

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