What is the history of the building?
17 Gordon Avenue was built around 1930 as an industrial facility containing 26,000 gross square feet of space. Originally used to manufacture lead pencils, it subsequently housed Precision Industries (a machining company) until the late 1990s. Since 1997, it had been vacant and deteriorating.
What standards of historic restoration did the project adhere to?
The project adhered to standards set by the State of Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, which administers programs to help owners meet the costs of restoring their historic properties. Fulfilling their criteria enabled the project to receive Historic Tax Credits that helped finance the project.
What were the challenges of the historic restoration?
Historic Tax Credits were needed to finance the project. However, restoration requirements were directly at odds with the “green” features that were at the heart of the project, particularly those that were visible from outside the building. Some features, such as exterior light shelves, were not compatible with this criteria and so were deleted. Others, like the rooftop solar array, needed to be altered to reduce visibility from the street.