Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Housing

South Front, in Wilmington, NC, made use of an abandoned and decayed, 40s-era public housing project, salvaging and renovating every building rather than scraping the site. Scott Doyon talks about several of the reasons that's cool.

"In 1940, the newly-formed Wilmington Housing Authority built Nesbitt Court, a 216-unit housing complex on 13 acres, to meet a rapidly increasing demand for housing brought about by new wartime jobs and the workers arriving to fill them. Very consistent with housing authority projects of that era, it served originally as whites-only workers housing and then for many decades thereafter as your typical subsidized public housing — suffering all the challenges and dysfunctions such places bring to mind and falling further and further into decline until it was ultimately shut down in 2007. With no funds for renovation, the WHA chose to sell the property to private interests, securing a deal to sell it as-is to Tribute Properties for $1.62 million."

Scott Doyon goes on to share inspiring photographs of the renovated buildings, and expands on his top reasons it's cool:

  1. Funds were there to scrape the site, but the developer chose to reduce, reuse, recycle.
  2. The project is fifty shades of green.
  3. Honest materials, design choices, and guiding philosophy sparked other neighborhood investments.

"I love this project because it proves that conventional wisdom isn’t always so wise," concludes Doyon. "For those with the right vision, there’s often money to be made working with existing built assets."

Full Story: Solid Buildings Last: A tale of public housing, reborn


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