Columbia City Abbey Apartments
This project was a “make-it-work” moment for Allied8 and the developer. The property had two strikes against it: the existing building was in disrepair and had been vacant for seven years, yet demolition and rebuild was not financially viable due to density limits of current zoning. Our research revealed that as long as we did not change the exterior massing (a hard sell for an architect!) the City would allow us unlimited floor area on the interior.
Combining our planning and design expertise we acted quickly to revise an old master use permit and an expiring contract rezone while designing an adaptive reuse concept to include 14 units of housing and 2 retail spaces. The resulting design increased the total floor area by 28%, adding 5,000 square feet. We saved the majority of the original structure, incorporating the historic cornerstone into our design. The increased rentable space meant the developer was amenable to reface parts of the façade to create a connection to the neighboring community. We also incorporated a public plaza and the owner has plans to incorporate the work of a local sculptor and include the building in the Columbia City Art Walk. This project is under construction.