Commonwealth Architects
December 4, 2014

Three Commonwealth Architects Projects Earn ULI Vision Awards

Three Commonwealth Architects’ rehabilitation projects were honored with 2014 Vision Awards from the Richmond Urban Land Institute on December 3rd. The projects were recognized for excellence in both design and development practices this year.

The Depot took top honors in two categories: the Innovative Deal of the Year and the Best Public-Private Partnership Project.

The Depot is the new home to an innovative, multidisciplinary initiative for the VCU School of the Arts. It houses some of the department’s rapidly growing programs and facilitates the collaborative nature of the creative process. The Depot, which officially opened this fall, was originally built in 1907 as the Richmond Terminal Depot for the Richmond and Chesapeake Bay Railway. According to ULI, The Depot is “a strong example of a community and economic development effort where creative financing, land-use principles, and multi-use buildings are important elements.”

The project was developed by the VCU Real Estate Foundation.

The Beacon Theatre was honored as the Best Renovation Project.

Built in 1928 as a movie house, the Beacon Theatre was a source of civic pride for decades until it fell into a state of disrepair after its closure in 1981. The rehabilitation has returned the neglected structure to its former splendor, while converting it into a contemporary performance venue. Since reopening in early 2014, the sold out performances have brought large crowds back to downtown Hopewell. The newly rehabilitated theatre once again shines as a regional entertainment destination and is a centerpiece in the city’s downtown re-development plan.

The project was developed by the City of Hopewell.

The Cookie Factory Lofts was honored as the Best Adaptive Reuse Project.

The Cookie Factory Lofts complex was originally built in 1927 as the headquarters and baking facility for the Southern Biscuit Company. The rehabilitation transformed the 255,000 square foot facility into 178 upscale, midtown apartments. The historic industrial character of the buildings blends with the urbane living spaces. The iconic water tower and neon sign have been preserved, and the reuse of the landmark facility is a cornerstone in the re-development of the Boulevard Corridor.

The project was developed by The Rebkee Co., Steve Leibovic and Dan Gecker.

It takes a committed team to resurrect historic structures and to re-imagine new uses for these distinctive buildings. Through the use of historic investment tax credits, our cities are being reborn. Congratulations to all of our partners for their visionary efforts in these revitalizations.

Congratulations also to client and friend, Wayne Chasen of Gumenick Properties, for being named ULI Richmond Member of the Year.

Read more about the ULI Vision Awards in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

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