Should You Buy that Cool Old Building?

If you’re looking for commercial real-estate in a rapidly-growing city like Colorado Springs, you may be wondering what your options are. New buildings can be very expensive and existing properties aren’t always what you pictured.

If you can’t find a typical office building, you might consider something less ordinary, like an old school or something else that can be turned into what’s known as an “adaptive reuse development”.

Most cities have some buildings that have been left abandoned. When the needs of a community change, structures that once served a purpose no longer do. But, with a little creativity, these buildings can be refurbished and transformed for a completely different use.

Repurposing an existing structure for a new purpose is likely to bring you publicity and community approval. Locals love them because they help “add character and charm, enhance neighborhood pride, and foster a strong cultural identity among generational residents of a community.” They are also trendy and unique, which are aspects that can set your new venture apart from the crowd and will attract young people.

Two of the most well-known examples of adaptive reuse developments in Colorado Springs are the Ivywild School and The Lincoln Center. Both of these redevelopment projects are in buildings that were once used as schools but are now home to some of the trendiest spots in Colorado Springs.

The Ivywild School was originally built in 1916 and closed its doors to students in 2009. Not wanting to let such an architectural gem go to waste, the building was adapted and re-opened a few years later. Today, the building is home to several locally owned businesses, such as Bristol Brewery & Pub and a hip coffeeshop & bar which was cleverly named The Principal’s Office.

A building on the other side of downtown has a similar story. After Lincoln Elementary was closed, it became the Lincoln Center, home to Goat Patch Brewing, Cafe Red Point, Building Three Coffee, and Nightingale Bread. A popular local gym, CrossFit SoCo, moved into the school’s renovated gymnasium.

Adaptive reuse developments will no doubt continue to grow in popularity and are an interesting opportunity for commercial real estate investors. However, no matter what your needs are, the important thing is finding something that suits you. Whatever you choose, your property manager can help you make the most of your space!