Pratt Street Power Plant

601 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD

Designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the Pratt Street Power Plant was built between 1900 and 1909 and is one of only 11 buildings in the zone of the Baltimore Fire of 1904 to survive that event. Originally used as a main source of power for the city’s streetcar network, it was operated by the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company prior to ceasing operations in 1973.

After years of abandonment, it was redeveloped into a short lived indoor Six Flags theme park and a dance club called P.T. Flagg’s. Today, the structure is occupied by a mix of office, restaurant and cultural tenants including Phillips Seafood, Hard Rock Cafe, Maryland Art Place and the Cordish Company headquarters.

Optimist Hall

1115 North Brevard Street, Charlotte, NC

After the end of the civil war, North Carolina emerged as a textile manufacturing center. In 1892, a mill designed by Daniel Augustus Tompkins was completed just north of Charlotte for the Highland Park Manufacturing Company. The Highland Park Mill No. 1 was one of the city’s largest and longest operating textile mills. Established in 1892, it employed 1,200 during its peak years. After decades of declining operations, the historic industrial site was acquired for redevelopment purposes by Atlanta-based White Point Paces Partners, LLC in June 2016.

The reason for redevelopment as opposed to demolition was a natural one. Characterized by huge open floors, oversized windows, high ceilings, brick construction and thick wood beams, the 19th century space was an authentic structure that could not be replicated.

Following a $60 million of the 150,000 square foot mill, Optimist Hall opened its doors to the public. Now the site consists of 83,000 square feet leased to Duke Energy, 32,000 square feet of outdoor and anchor restaurant space and a 22,000 square foot food hall with 19 vendors, retailers and a brewery.

Quaker Square

135 South Broadway Street, Akron, OH


Once Akron’s largest single employer, the Quaker Oats cereal factory’s history at this site dates back to 1872. At its height, the manufacturing complex was centered around 36 grain silos constructed in 1932. At 120 feet in height and 24 feet in diameter, each silo housed 1.5 million bushels of grain. Manufacturing ceased in 1970 and the complex was designated as a National Register of Historic Places site in 1972.

By 1980, the facility had been revamped into a mall and the silos into a 196 room hotel. In 2007, the complex was acquired by the University of Akron. Today, the former cereal factory lives on as student housing, office, event and conference space.




Union Terminal Warehouse Company

700 East Union Street, Jacksonville, FL

When completed in 1913, the Union Terminal Warehouse Company was said to be the largest and finest warehouse in the state of Florida.

The building was the brainchild of C.B. Gay. After his syrup manufacturing plant was destroyed by fire, Gay decided to organize the terminal company instead of rebuilding his plant. Intending to cater to wholesale grocery firms in town, Gay envisioned a facility that would save its tenants money by reducing their insurance rates, drayage bills, and transportation costs.

Gay’s belief that the Union Terminal Warehouse Company would be attractive to Jacksonville’s 32 wholesale grocery companies turned out to be true. Early food-based tenants in the building included AM Grocery Company, Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, and Whiddon’s Cash Stores.

The Union Terminal Warehouse Company in 1968. Photograph courtesy of the Jacksonville, Florida architectural survey - slide photographs courtesy of the UF Historic Preservation Studies Collection within the Institutional Repository at the University of Florida.

Built of cast-in-place reinforced concrete, the 330,000 square foot building was acquired by Atlanta-based Columbia Ventures in December 2018. Recently the developer applied for a building permit to spend $34 million to redevelop the property into a mix of uses.

Using historic tax credits and Opportunity Zone equity as key components of the capital stack, Columbia Ventures is in the process of converting the top three levels into 228 market rate apartments and a roof with a rooftop terrace and community garden.

The lower levels will be transformed into a mix of small office tenants, affordable maker and raw entrepreneur space with a mix of food and beverage operators. Anticipated to be completed by 2023, the redevelopment is expected to generate more than 150 construction jobs and more than 200 permanent jobs.

Courtesy of Dasher Hurst Architects

Courtesy of Dasher Hurst Architects

Courtesy of Dasher Hurst Architects

Courtesy of Dasher Hurst Architects


Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at