Historic and Vintage Buildings
Adaptive re-use of historic and vintage buildings in the City are often overlooked by businesses and developers seeking opportunities in Whittier. Here is a list of a few of the advantages of adaptive re-use of historic and vintage buildings:
- Energy Conservation: Energy is conserved by re-claiming and re-purposing existing structures, their materials and embodied energy. Likewise, razing historic and vintage buildings waste construction resources because thousands of dollars of embodied energy are being unnecessarily thrown away. Often times, new construction material is vastly more consumptive of energy than traditional materials like brick, plaster, concrete and wood. These materials are actually among the least energy consumptive in contrast to modern construction materials made from plastic, steel, vinyl and aluminum. They are among the most energy consumptive.
- Contributes to Sustainability: Existing historic and vintage buildings are often located in established areas within the community that have a significant population density as well as an established retail and commercial trade.
- Enhances Community Character: Adaptive re-use of historic and vintage buildings are often more harmonious with the existing community character than new buildings.
- Cost Savings: Rather than demolishing existing structures that have outlived their originally intended use, adaptive re-use saves on demolition costs and champions recycling.
- Potential Tax Advantages: Owners may be eligible for federal tax credits through rehabilitation investment into buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as for non-listed buildings. Mills Act contracts with the City of Whittier can also provide significant tax savings. Click here for potential preservation funding sources.
- Saves Time: Potential time savings can result through adaptive re-use or re-purposing of historic and vintage buildings because their infrastructure is already in place. Also, the City’s permitting and approval process can often occur more quickly and less expensively than comparable new construction.
- Environmental Benefits: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that building construction debris constitutes around a third of all waste generated in this country, and has projected that over 27% of all existing buildings will be replaced between 2000 and 2030. Adaptive re-use of historic and vintage buildings increases available land-fill space and enables existing building materials to be re-used (when possible) to increase their usefulness and lower new construction costs.
Adaptive Re-Use Example
The Hoover Hotel was constructed in 1930 as an upscale, 100-room, hotel with an elegant ballroom. In 2001, the property was rehabilitated and re-purposed by LINC Housing and Vista Communities and the name of the building was changed to Seasons at the Hoover. The affordable housing project created 50 units for very low-income seniors, complete with a lounge, laundry room and other amenities. The total cost of this rehabilitation project was $7.7 million. The project was financed through a combination of RDA funds, federal tax credits, a developer loan, and deferred development fees. The property is designated as both federal and state historic landmark. The project has been recognized by the Building Industry Association, who selected it as the best senior housing project of 2001. The National Association of Home Builders awarded the project its gold medal for Best of Seniors Housing in 2002.