Adaptive Reuse Case Studies

Issues Addressed:
Housing Costs Housing Options Infrastructure Redevelopment Sustainable Housing
The Amoskeag Millworks in Manchester, now with residential and office uses. (Image via Wikimedia.)

Manchester, NH

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was a 19th and early 20th Century textile manufacturer that built a massive mill complex in Manchester, NH. By the end of the 1940s, the company had closed, leaving behind many buildings unfit for modern manufacturing. A 1966 plan called for partial demolition and partial rehabilitation of the complex. In the early 1980s, they attracted private investor attention, notably by inventor Dean Kamen for some of his commercial operations. Development continued in the 1990s, in large part due to purchases made by the City then deeded to private developers and other forms of subsidy. The complex is now home to offices, restaurants, apartments, colleges and universities, art studios, a museum, and research and development space for technology companies. The Millyard has added over 500 housing units, with developers expressing continued interest in residential as the local jobs market thrives. There were many factors that contributed to this success, but ones that were critical include infrastructure improvements, environmental remediation funds, the introduction of mixed-use zoning, public/private partnerships, and marketing efforts.

Newmarket Mills, Newmarket, NH

Newmarket’s mill complex began construction in the early 19th century and the Newmarket Mill Company continued using the mills through the mid 1930s. In 2009, the then-decrepit mill complex was purchased and rehabilitated by Chinburg properties, a now-prolific mill redeveloper in New England. Today the Newmarket Mills is a mixed-use development with 111 housing units. The development was financed in part by state Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Cottage Hospital, Portsmouth, NH

The Portsmouth Cottage Hospital is a National Register of Historic Places site that served as the primary hospital for the Portsmouth area from 1895 to 1986, when another hospital opened. The City purchased the site and began a slow redevelopment process, beginning with municipal facilities. In 2004, the Portsmouth Housing Authority redeveloped the original hospital building into 20 units of senior housing. The project was funded in part through state Rehabilitation Tax Credits.
Connors Cottage in Portsmouth is a public senior housing development adapted from the historic Cottage Hospital building in the city.

Holyoke, MA

In the early 2000s, a small campus of Catholic institutions, including the Holyoke Catholic High School, closed for good. The century-old buildings stood vacant and boarded up for nearly a decade before plans to rehabilitate them finally materialized with the ultimate conversion of the campus’s schools and convents into 54 units of housing. The $19 million project was funded in part by $1.6 million in direct state aid and almost $1 million in federal low-income housing tax credits. Permitting for the project was facilitated by Holyoke’s adoption of a Massachusetts law that allows relatively high-density development by-right for affordable and mixed-income projects.

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore’s Greater Hampden area is marked by many mill complexes along the creek that once powered the city’s industry. By the end of the 1980s, many of the mills had been shuttered, with the neighborhood’s last industrial occupants mostly in newer facilities. The first adaptive reuse projects opened in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, including the 1992 reopening of Meadow Mill with a gym, artist studios, restaurants, and commercial space. The first residential project opened in 1995 at Clipper Mill. In the 2010s, a wave of new development kicked off with a greater overall focus on residential mixed-use development. Mill No. 1, which had most recently been a model train factory, had been largely vacant by 2009, save skateboarder and artist squatters. 
Renovated mill buildings from the courtyard at Mill No. 1. (Image via Terra Nova Ventures.)