When the question of what to do with older buildings arises, it usually resolves itself to choices of reusing them as is, repairing them, restoring them, repurposing them or replacing them.
There is an old saying regarding existing buildings that goes like this. “It has good bones.” Any facility, free of structural defects and doing a reasonably good job of keeping water out, represents a tangible asset. The trick to maximizing the value of existing structures, especially in areas where changing economic factors have also resulted in changing market demands, is to approach their reuse from a different point of view. The judicious employment of renovation funds should not be based on restoring them to a previous use, but making them suitable for other markets in which the existing bones might enable a whole new purpose.
This presentation proposes criteria that may prove valuable in determining which option for the disposition of older buildings represents the best value for the owner, the buyer or the community in which the structure is located. It will also briefly examine a potential business opportunity in a collaboration between architects and commercial real estate agents.
For the benefit of everyone involved, any reuse of older buildings is better than none. Some thought just needs to be put into the options of how to do so, before any decision is made on to the best way to proceed.