Old Mills Remade in Pawtucket, R.I., With Art as Their Product
By ELIZABETH ABBOTT - SEPT. 27, 2016
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — This city just north of Providence, settled in the 17th century and home to dozens of old mills, is claiming a new identity.
Once known for its significant role during the Industrial Revolution, when it churned out textiles, and later jewelry, in 70 or so mills, Pawtucket is now gaining a reputation for its studio and loft space for artists, and affordable space for entrepreneurs.
Since the late 1990s, when the city started an arts initiative to help salvage vacant and underused mills, eight former mills have been redeveloped as commercial spaces for artists and small creative businesses. Three of them are huge complexes with several connected buildings; available space in them is scarce.
The city’s effort is based on a simple premise, according to Herbert Weiss, Pawtucket’s cultural and economic affairs officer: “All artists are small businesses.”
Individually, the artists and small businesses do not employ as many people as the mills did in their glory days, but collectively they have injected new life into Pawtucket, Mr. Weiss and others said. And they have added almost $1 million in additional annual revenue to the city’s tax base.
Along with the commercial redevelopment, nine mills have been converted into loft apartments and condominiums, and more than 500 additional residential units are planned.
The mills have attracted local developers like Jonathan N. Savage, a lawyer who has adapted three former mills to new uses. One of them, the 325,000-square-foot Lorraine Mills, has more than 200 tenants. Outside it one recent day, large, colorful steel sculptures by Donald Gerola turned in the breeze.
Repurposing Two Former Downtown Industrial Sites
By Kathleen McCormick - November 21, 2016
Two case studies on how obsolete industrial buildings have been redeveloped for a new life in the new economy—the focus of this 2016 ULI Fall Meeting session—offered lessons about capitalizing on site location, the buildings’ qualities, and the developers’ visions for creating dynamic mixed-use places that are profitable as well as mission driven.
Howard Kozloff, managing partner of Agora Partners in Los Angeles, said the two fairly large-scale conversions of industrial land, with different approaches on how to structure the capital stack, were visionary projects that offered lessons on “turning an eyesore into a profit and a community asset.”
In central San Antonio, the Pearl Brewery—founded in 1881 and once the largest employer in the city—was shut down in 2001, leaving 18 acres (7.3 ha) with 10 million cubic feet (283,000 cubic m) of historic buildings, train engines, tractor trailer rigs, and other detritus, recalled Bill Shown, managing director of real estate for Silver Ventures. The San Antonio developer wanted to create a destination mixed-use restaurant district. This project, said Shown, “was the kind of thing you run from.” Located on the San Antonio River, the decrepit industrial site had falling-down historic buildings full of asbestos and lead paint, it flooded regularly, and it was frequented by drug users and squatters.
The team took down some of the old structures and restored others. They developed a total of 850,000 square feet (79,000 sq m), including 430 apartments, 50,000 square feet (4,600 sq m) of local retail, and 120,000 square feet (11,000 sq m) of office space. They redeveloped the Second Empire–style brew house into the 146-room Hotel Emma, which readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted the third best in the United States last year. They transformed a 1904 jewel-box building into Cured restaurant, and the stables into an event center. They approached the Culinary Institute of America, based in Hyde Park, New York, to open a campus on the site to focus on Latin American cuisine and to train local Latino youth for work in the food industry. They also began developing restaurants and curating “bright young chefs who’d never had their own restaurants before,” said Shown. Those, he said, are the most popular of the 17 restaurants developed so far as part of Pearl’s “community of chefs.”
Should Bowling Alleys Be on America's List of Endangered National Treasures?
by KEITH FLANAGAN - OCT 12, 2016
You might remember Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood bludgeoning his false-prophet co-star with a bowling pin. It was a performance—and accent—so broad it later won him an Oscar. And yes, there was blood.
But do you remember that grand bowling alley?
Kevin Hong does. The Seattle-based photographer, who documents bowling centers across the country, plans to photograph the two-lane alley inside Beverly Hills' 1928 Greystone Mansion for his ongoing series, The Vintage Alleys Project. "They're like drive-in theaters and payphones," says Hong, a longtime bowler himself. "They're disappearing from the American landscape."
Almost 11,000 bowling centers operated across the country in the 1960s. "Now there are only about 4,500," says Mark Miller, who literally wrote the book on bowling, Bowling, which chronicles the national pastime from antiquity to present day. "The number of people bowling kept climbing up until about 1980, and it has dropped ever since then," says Miller.
At the turn of the 19th century, bowling alleys were dark places, ripe for drinking and gambling (greetings, kingpins) in smokey nooks. Dodgy teenagers—called pinboys, and labeled derelicts—set pins by hand for the barest of wages. Milwaukee's Holler House, built in 1908 is the oldest bowling alley in the country, and a rare surviving example of these early lanes. "If you're a bowling fan at all, it's sort of like the holy grail," says Hong. Pins are famously still set by hand. "It's so diametrically opposite of today's modern bowling establishment."